Notion of Yin and Yang
Yang and Yin symbolise the opposite poles of the
fundamental dynamic on
which the Oracle is based. The essence of this dynamic is that it is in
a state of constant flux while Yin and Yang remain in a state of
This feat of perennial opposition serves as a
fundamental principle of
difference, that is, a principle by which any one thing can be seen to
different to another or by which one thing can change into something
In the way it moves, the dynamic describes a
that is the basis for the Oracle’s principle of change.
These are the necessary qualities of Yang
and Yin that permit
the Oracle’s principle of change:
Yang has precedence over Yin. Yang leads and Yin
follows. Yang provides
the motivation for things to change while Yin allows the changes to
occur. Yang makes overtures of change which Yin cannot but
Yin’s acceptance of an initiative always takes
the form of providing an
opposite and perfectly complementary condition to whatever Yang is
presenting. So not only is Yin’s acceptance guaranteed but it is also
unequivocally appealing. A movement cannot fail to take place.
Yang also has the qualities of energy, strength
necessary to implement its initiatives, while Yin is
correspondingly yielding, weak and ordinary.
For the sake of this discussion, a
movement will be pictured as an incursion by a high pressure
initiative from Yang into Yin’s complementary low pressure reception.
Yin’s reception, while necessary, is not devoid
of resistance. Yin
imposes a restraint on its reception of each initiative. This restraint
always increases with increasing depth of incursion, restricting the
penetration of the initiative, and thus effectively restraining the
initiative itself. Eventually Yang’s pressure will be equalled by Yin’s
restraint and a limit is approached beyond which the initiative
cannot penetrate. So Yin also provides a boundary that contains Yang's
Yin’s resistance to incursion is variable in that
may suffer greater or lesser degrees of restraint and therefore be
contained by different boundaries. Thus Yin not only accommodates
Yang’s initiatives but shapes them as well.
Yang conceives new initiatives in an endless
Yin’s disposition to receive them is correspondingly vast and varied.
the Way They Move
reception is fluid when an initiative penetrates then
the moving border acquires a momentum of its own. When a depth of
incursion is reached where Yang’s pressure is equalled by Yin’s
restraint, the border continues to move because of its acquired
momentum. It is only at a further depth of incursion, where Yin’s
reaction has increased to the point of overcoming the border’s momentum
as well, that the movement comes to a halt. But now Yin’s reaction so
outweighs Yang’s pressure as to motivate a movement in the opposite
direction. Effectively the roles of Yang and Yin are reversed. The
pressure and momentum of the return movement drive an incursion into
what was Yang but is now Yin, where the reaction is also repeated and
the motion reverses once more. If Yin’s reception is sufficiently fluid
an ongoing cycle of incursions and reversals persists as a wave-like
vibration. In this way Yang’s initiative has attained ‘success’.
But if Yin’s reception of an initiative is stiff
the border moves too
slowly to acquire significant momentum. In this case, when the border
has extended to the point where Yang’s pressure is equalled by Yin’s
reaction the movement actually does come to a halt since it has no
momentum of its own. And since there is now no imbalance in pressure
between Yang and Yin the movement does not reverse either. Nothing
happens. Any increase in Yang’s pressure will only extend the boundary
to another static point further out, while a decrease in pressure will
retract it. As well, any extension outwards provokes a corresponding
increase in Yin’s reaction, so the boundary’s extensions will become
proportionately smaller as it is pushed further out, and extensions to
the boundary will approach a limit that cannot be traversed no matter
how much Yang pushes. With such a static result, Yin has denied
‘success’ to Yang’s initiative.
The Oracle regards the successful persisting
vibrations with great
esteem - they lie at the heart of its conception of Love. The
characteristic cycling of successful vibrations and the complexities
that arise when vibrations interact inspire the interpretations of the
bulk of the hexagrams.
While Yang takes precedence over Yin, Yin has the
determining both the shape and success of Yang’s enterprise.
While the above description is overtly physical –
vibration as described simulates simple harmonic wave motion of
classroom physics texts – the Yin-Yang interaction should be understood
to serve as a much wider model of motion, applicable to biological,
emotional and spiritual behaviour as well. This allows an
appreciation of the charm of the Yin-Yang dynamic: Yang’s energy and initiative
can be seen as the quintessence of desire, Yin’s selectivity in the fashioning of any outcome makes it
the epitome of choice while their successful interaction is a dance.
Yin’s bestowal of success on an initiative
is the choice of greatness while its choice to deny
success is obstructive.
Here we see why the traditional attribution of
gender to Yang and Yin does not fit. In this model desire is the
signature attribute of Yang and choice is the signature attribute of Yin
and both these attributes, desire and choice, are available to both
In this model of movement, Yang’s probability of
success is not
improved by increasing its pressure on Yin. The strength of Yang’s
initiative may affect its ultimate shape but not the fact of its
success. Yang will therefore never attempt to force an initiative on a
reluctant Yin. This may underlie the Virtue of Modesty
that permeates the Oracle, by which the strong yielding to the weak is considered so auspicious.
The Virtue of Modesty is also evidenced in this model by the deference that Yang shows to Yin in allowing
its initiatives to be restrained and in the willingness of Yin to temper its restraint.
When both are modest, Yang allowing its initiatives to be restrained and Yin responding with minimal
restraint, the result is Love.
Both Yang and Yin are creative: Yang creates energy while Yin creates shape. Together, in modesty, they make Love.
The attribution of significance to Yang and
ordinariness to Yin gives
value to the process of development that takes place within each cycle
of a vibration. The cycle develops from an initial state of
being empty of significance (pure Yin) and gradually acquires
significance until it is fully present (pure Yang). After that point,
significant presence declines until the original state of ordinariness
is resumed, and the cycle starts over again. This endless cycle of the development and decline
of significance (or fullness and emptiness)
also plays a major role in the Oracle’s philosophy in which, once again,
a wave pattern can be seen.