Almost everybody has seen the yin-yang symbol, but few have taken the time to understand the complexity of its meaning. In designing the logo for Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC, I drew my inspiration from this symbol because it represents a philosophical view at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine. I encourage you to join me in taking a closer look at this classic symbol.
My mentor, Dr. Huisheng Xie, gives this description of the symbol in his text book Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine; Fundamental Principles:
“The symbol above is traditionally used to represent the interrelationship of Yin and Yang. One can think of Yin and Yang as a way of trying to understand the events of the universe by organizing phenomena into distinct categories. It is at once extremely simple and staggeringly complex.”
To understand the complexity of its meaning, we must first understand the 5 principles of Yin-Yang.
1. Everything in the universe has two opposite aspects: Yin and Yang
- Yang is used to characterize warmth, energy, motion, loudness and light. It is represented by the color white
- Yin represents things that are cooler, quieter, more still and darker. It is characterized by the color black.
- Example: Daytime is characterized as more Yang, whereas night is characterized as more Yin. A young boy would be more Yang, while an elderly woman would be more Yin.
2. Any Yin-Yang division can be further divided into Yin and Yang aspects.
- Within the white half of the symbol, there is a black dot (Yin within Yang)
- Within the black part of the symbol there is a white dot (Yang within Yin)
- Example: Within Daytime (Yang) the morning/ sunrise is more Yang while the afternoon/ sunset is more Yin. The afternoon is an example of “Yin within Yang”
3. Yin and Yang control each other
- The two opposite forces that compose everything in the universe are in constant struggle to regulate each other.
- Example: Heat (Yang) can dispel cold (Yin), but cold can also lower a hot temperature.
4. Yin and Yang mutually create each other
- Because Yin and Yang are defined as opposites of each other, each cannot exist without the other.
- Example: There can be no concept of cold (Yin) without an understanding of heat (Yang).
5. Yin and Yang may transform into each other
- Yin and Yang are not static. Under certain circumstances each may transform into the other.
- Example: Day (Yang) becomes Night (Yin), and night transforms into day. Summer (yang) transforms into winter (Yin), and winter into summer.
As we look at the Yin-Yang symbol, we see these five principles represented. Within the black there is a little bit of white, and within the white there is a little bit of black. Nothing is all Yin or all Yang. As your eye follows the flow clockwise, the white becomes black, then the black becomes white.
The balance of Yin and Yang in the body is critical to maintaining health. Disease can be described as patterns of excess or deficiency of Yin or Yang. My goal at Balanced Horse Veterinary Service, PLLC is to restore your animal's body to a natural state of Balance.