The Notion of Yin and Yang
Oracle of Love


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 diametric opposition.

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 be different to another or by which one thing can change into something else.

In the way it moves, the dynamic describes a very particular motion that is the basis for the Oracle’s principle of change.

Basic Qualities

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 accept.

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 and significance 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 initiatives.

Yin’s resistance to incursion is variable in that different initiatives 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 torrent while Yin’s disposition to receive them is correspondingly vast and varied.

It’s the Way They Move

If Yin’s 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 privilege of determining both the shape and success of Yang’s enterprise.


While the above description is overtly physical – the successful 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 genders.

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.

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