Subtitle: are you a yin/yang snob?
I admit it….I was until a few months ago when I observed a most interesting symbolic association of the taiji symbol with a symbolic energy map.
Most people believe the proper orientation for the taiji is yang on the left originating on the bottom, growing around in a clockwise direction from 6:00 to 12:00 positions, and reaching maturity at the top while yin is on the right, has its origin at the top, also grows in a clockwise direction from 12:00 to 6:00 positions, and matures at the bottom of the circle. If you trace the center curving line, you will see that it creates a reversed "S."
Many people believe the above symbol is related to this sequence of the trigrams (three-line symbols) of the I Ching. Imagine you are standing in the center of the diagram looking toward the edges. Beginning in the lower left position, the symbol for "thunder" comprised of a bottom solid line (yang), middle and top broken lines (yin), the yang energy grows clockwise around the left side until at the top, there are three yang lines indicative of the peak of yang energy. The yin cycle begins with the trigram for "wind" in the upper right corner; you can see how the yin energy begins to grow from the yin line at the bottom, continues to grow clockwise around the right side of the circle, until yin is at its peak as shown by the three yin lines at the bottom.
You may recognize this circle of trigrams as the Early Heaven Arrangement I spoke of earlier in my post about The Sacred Wheel of the Year as revealed through the I Ching. It can represent just about any cycle you care to apply it to, but is most often used to indicate the seasonal cycles of summer/winter and daily light/dark cycle.
However, there is an alternative possibility and orientation.
This diagram is called the HeTu or HoTu, the Yellow River Map, and was the original Mystical message sent to Fu Xi; from this he created the
Now, take a look at this ancient taiji diagram and notice how the yin and yang start at a spot on the edge of the inner circle, grow in the direction that corresponds to the ascending numerical sequence for their type (yin or yang) from the He Tu diagram, moving from an inner aspect to an outer aspect just as the groups of black and white circles do on the He Tu.
Assume that Heaven and Earth, the five yang and ten yin circles are in the center of this ancient taiji circle. 2 and 4 on the He Tu correspond to the yin area on the right which is inside the yang, and numbers 6 and 8 correspond to the HeTu where yin had moved to the outer aspect and continues around on the left side from the bottom to the top. Yang behaves the same, starting on the inside with the number 1, growing clockwise to the number 3 position, and then becoming the outer aspect at the numbers 7 and 9 He Tu positions.
Rounding it out a little, softening the edges, we get the mirror image of the first taiji diagram:
So, if you had a bet with someone on the "correct" orientation for the taiji or yin/yang symbol, you're both right!
As everything else in life, nothing is ever what it seems, and everything is only a matter of perception.