Signs and Symbols

The yin/yang symbol can be seen almost any place one looks. It is used in logos, on book covers, in the New Age movement, in the martial arts, and so forth. "Yin and yang are considered to be opposites. Yin represents eternity, dark, feminine, left side of the body, etc. Yang is its opposite and represents history, light, masculine, right side of the body, etc.'' "Yang is male, positive, and represented by the Sun. Yin is female, negative, and represented by the Moon,'' says Paul E. Desautels in The Gem Kingdom.

"The symbol itself dates back at least to the fourth century B.C., and has been identified with the Eastern philosophical religions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. In the Western world it has long been adopted into the symbolism of myth, magic, astrology, and witchcraft.

A book, Black Magic, White Magic, explains the Yin-Yang like this:

"Another ancient magical sign called the yin-and-yang first appeared sometime before the 3rd century B.C. in China. This emblem became a favourite of sorcerers and mystics throughout the Orient because it, too, embodies so many possible meanings.

One well-known witch, Sybil Leek, who is called the "mistress of the occult," proclaims that the Yin-Yang theory is:

"...an idea that inspired such things as Chinese boxing, breath control [used in yoga, meditation, etc.], the use of special herbs, and some rather erotic sexual exercises designed to nourish the Yang with the Yin?

She adds: "Crucial to Taoism is the idea of Yin and Yang.''

"According to the ancient Chinese philosophers, in the beginning was Tao. But then Tao separated into the two prime principles, yang and yin. And from the many combinations of yang and yin everything else that is in the world has emerged.

"Yang and yin produced the 'five elements', which are metal, wood, fire, water and earth. Everything in life is in a constant state of flux; in fact, the only thing that you can be sure of is that it will change."

Another book states:

"The Yang-Yin symbol is one of the easiest to recognise and understand. It represents the two opposite, conflicting forces found in every action, and which are responsible for the dynamic universe....The Yang and Yin operate in the universe primarily through the agency of the five elements: Earth (Saturn), Water (Mercury), Metal (Venus), Wood (Jupiter), and Fire (Mars). These elements under the guidance of the five planets form, with the Sun and Moon, the seven rulers. Each of the elements may also be Yang or Yin, so that combinations of all these could produce broad number possibilities (sic) and astrological alternatives. Each, of course, has its symbol which can be, and often was, incised into jade.''

The concept of yin and yang (also called Tai-gi-tu), likewise plays an important role in many other occult practices. For instance, the Dictionary of Mysticism states the following about the practice of shu shu:

"Shu shu: The ancient Chinese system of magic, divination and occult practices, including astrology, dream interpretation, the art of co-ordinating human affairs by the active and passive principles of the universe (yin yang) and the Five Elements (wu hsing), fortune telling by the use of the stalks of the divination plant and the tortoise shell, and miscellaneous methods such as dream interpretation, the regulation of forms and shapes of buildings, etc.''

Of course, many of the Chinese exercises, medical practices, etc., are also based on the theory of yin and yang. In Health: A Holistic Approach we find:

"The techniques of acupuncture, acupressure, and moxibustion apply needle, pressure, or thermal (heat) stimulation respectively to meridian points to effect a change in the orderly flow of Chi through the meridians. This treatment helps to re-establish the yin-yang balance by initiating normal energy flow in stagnant meridians. The choice of meridian points to be stimulated is arrived at by using specific laws derived directly from the five-element theory and knowing the order of Chi distribution in the meridians. The five-element theory is the practical, tangible application of the complementary opposites--yin and yang.

"The Chinese system of physiotherapy, or therapeutic exercises, is represented primarily in the practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, which is a system of exercises performed in close co-ordination with regulated breathing. The exercises are comprised of thirty-seven movement patterns, the composition of which is regulated by the principles of yin and yang.

"The philosophy of T'ai Chi Ch'uan is rooted in Taoism, which advocates natural effort, and in the I Ching, or Book of Changes. The movements and inner teachings are derived from the complementary relationship between Yin and Yang, two fundamental forces that create and harmonise the Universe by their interaction.

"The interaction of Yin and Yang is vital to the practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan since physically and mentally the practitioner is continually shifting between empty and full and soft and hard to achieve a proper and evolving equilibrium.''

In fact, t'ai chi came to be "represented by the circle divide into the light and the dark, yang and yin.''

Other interrelated techniques dependent upon yin/yang are zone therapy, polarity therapy, macrobiotics, Shiatsu, Jin-Shin, Do-In the martial arts (such as Kung Fu, Chi Kung, Karate, T'ai Chi), etc.

Palmistry, the occult practice of foretelling the future by reading the hand, is also based on the theories of yin and yang and the Five Elements. In another occult book, The Chinese Art of Healing, written by a Buddhist monk, the author explains how the ancients relate massage, which includes Reflexology, to the Five Elements and to palmistry. He states:

"The thumb, for example, was associated with the spleen, which belonged to the earth element, the index finger with the large intestine (metal element)...and so on....The form of massage known as 'from the water element to the earth element,' reminds us of occult concepts of this kind.

"According to Oriental magicians, the palm of the hand contains the secrets of life. There was also an ancient Chinese school of thought which maintained that the palm of the hand was a replica of Yin and Yang and could provide information about illness and good health and one's entire fate."

Masonry also uses the concept of yin and yang in their symbolism but it is in a disguised form. Albert Pike states that the black and white pavement symbolises "the Good and Evil Principles of the Egyptian and Persian creed. It is the warfare of Michael and Satan, of the Gods and Titans, of Balder and Lok; between light and shadow, which is darkness; Day and Night; Freedom and Despotism ...."

Masons also use the two triangles to represent this idea of opposites. In the Short Talk Bulletin, a pamphlet which is to be read in the Lodges, we are told that the triangles "are symbolic of good and evil, day and night, the Chinese yang and yin, etc.''

The two triangles joined together to form a hexagram indicate sexual union. This same viewpoint is also associated with the yin/yang. In Our Phallic Heritage we are told:

"But since union of the sexes is necessary to produce offspring, both sexes were represented in most religions. In the crudest forms of worship, representations of the genitalia of both sexes, or of the sex organs in union, were worshiped. Such was the worship of the phallus-kteis in Greece and Egypt, the lingam-yoni in India, the massebasher of Syria, the yoseki-inseki in Japan, the yang-yin in China, and the baal-peor of the Canaanites in the Bible.''

Masonic author, George Oliver, states:

"Thus the monad and duad were the phallus and kteis of the Greeks, the lingam and yoni of the Hindoos (sic), the woden and friga of the Goths, and yang and yin of the Chinese, and indeed, of the creative and destructive powers of every country under Heaven.

This thought is reiterated in Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilisation:

"Lingam and yoni, Shiva and his goddess, symbolise the antagonistic yet co-operating forces of the sexes. Their Sacred Marriage (Greek: hieros-gamos) is multifariously figured in the various traditions of world mythology. They are the archetypal parents, Father and Mother of the World, themselves the first-born of the pairs of opposites, first bifurcation of the primal, cosmogonic reality, now reunited in productive harmony. Under the form of Father Heaven and Mother Earth they were known to the Greeks as Zeus and Hera, Uranos and Gaia, to the Chinese as T'ien and Ti, yang and yin.''

One catalogue that sells statues of gods and goddesses as well as many other occultic items states:

"At once the most sacred and the most mysterious path to higher consciousness, Tantra refers to the Divine Union of Opposites. Taoists refer to these energies as yin (from yoni, the active principle) and yang (the recumbent principle)."

Since there is some yin (female) in the yang (male), which is represented by the little dot, and some yang in the yin, the concept of bisexuality is also symbolised. Charles Berger remarks:

"Sometimes efforts were made to make gods bisexual. Hermaphrodite is the best example of this. He was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite and embraced Salmaco, a nymph, who called upon the gods to make them inseparable. The gods heard the plea, and formed of the two a perfect being who possessed the characteristics of both sexes. From this mythical being comes the term hermaphrodite. Omphale was a queen of Lydia and the task-mistress of Hercules. She is represented with a lion's skin and a club, male symbols, while Hercules wears her gown and spins for her. Omphale is thus represented as double-sexed, as is Hercules by his dress and his work. The name Omphale is a bisexual name, coming from 'Om,' the Universal Mother, and from phallus, the male organ. Likewise, Janus of the Greeks not only had opposite faces but was double-sexed, or hermaphroditic.''

The New Age movement looks favourably on homosexuality. In fact, in alchemy, the androgyne (meaning male and female in one body) was considered to be "the image of human perfection and wholeness. By some ancient traditions, the original and perfect form of the human being.... A fashionable look among some celebrities.'' "Bly, Nin, and Jung tell us that each individual must achieve inner marriage of their masculine and feminine natures to encounter true equipoise."

The assumption of yin/yang also leads to homosexuality. In one issue of the Whole Life Times was a letter from David Lang. He wrote:

"For example, macrobiotic theory explains homosexuality as a yin-yang imbalance caused (or at least aggravated) by excess consumption of yin foods (such as raw fruit) on the part of males and excessive ingestion of yang foods (such as animal flesh) on the part of females.''

Texe Marrs explains:

"Homosexuality and bi-sexuality are accepted, even encouraged by the New Age teacher. The unholy doctrine of reincarnation and the principle of yin/yang are perfect excuses and rationale for homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality. If you are a homosexual or a lesbian in this lifetime, New Age teachers believe that it is probably because you were a person of the opposite sex in a previous incarnation or past life. The residue and influence of that past life is simply retained within your brain and consciousness.

"The yin/yang principle, also called unity, integration or polarity, holds that a person is born with both masculine and feminine traits. A man supposedly could have been a man 250 times and a woman 250 times in previous incarnations, and the memory of those past life experiences are said to remain as indelible traces of consciousness. Thus, we are each a combination of male and female, masculine and feminine. The New Age encourages children and adults to appreciate and practice the harmony of opposites, teaching the individual to merge the two selves, man and woman.''

Many of the gods and goddesses of paganism are shown to have dual sexual natures. Mercury, called the 'male-female' was an androgyne. Even much symbolism contains this dual nature. For instance:

"The serpent's head and neck is distinctly a masculine symbol, but the serpent is sometime symbolised with its tail in it mouth [oroboros], the body forming a circle which is feminine. Also, the mouth is feminine, while the tail, which is in the mouth, is masculine. Thus for two good reasons the serpent with its tail in its mouth represents both sexes. Sacred fire was often prepared on religious occasions by rotating a realistic wooden representation of the phallus in a wooden representation of the kteis, rotating being done by an apparatus resembling a bow. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, was double sexed in symbolism. The horn was masculine and the inside was feminine. The fruit inside symbolised productiveness of the female."

"The four-limbed cross generally had a different meaning, and represented the male and the female in unison, in the act of creation. From time immemorial a perpendicular line or object has been used to symbolise the phallus, and a horizontal line the kteis or vulva. The surface of water, a female element in creation, was horizontal, and women were practically in the horizontal position in the act of creation. Prostitutes were spoken of as 'women who made their living horizontally,' and the term was applied to women who were kept in their own room by some wealthy man. Coitus has been called 'horizontal exercise.' Horizontales (horizontals) is one of the names which the French apply to women who sell love favours, women of easy virtue. The four-armed cross was an easy figure to make, being an intersection of two straight lines at right angels, and it became a symbol of man's most lofty and most holy activity, expressing the reverence for the act. Some of the Asherahs of the Bible represented Baal in union with Astoreth. The results of the union between the sexes resulted in a new life. Separately, man and woman were incomplete, important, and barren, but in their union they became a perfect soul, realising the immortality of life."

One particular group that knows the sexual implications of the yin/yang and intentionally uses it as their official symbol is The Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). This group promotes extensive sex education in schools. SIECUS Position Statements reveal the following:

"It is the position of SIECUS that contraceptive services should be available to all--including minors who should enjoy the same rights of free and independent access to...contraceptive care as do others....It is the position of SIECUS that the use of explicit sexual materials (sometimes referred to as pornography) can serve a variety of important needs in the lives of countless individuals....

Another group using the yin/yang (knowingly or unknowing) is the Girls Scouts. "On page 66 of the Girl Scout Badges and Signs book, the yin/yang symbol is used to represent the World in My Community proficiency badge. In the Junior Girl Scout Handbook, yoga exercises are explained. The theme for their 1987 program was 'The Year of Magic.'"

The I Ching (Book of Changes) is another occult practice that incorporates the use of the yin/yang. Geoffrey Parrinder writes: "The yin-yang dualism entered into Confucian orthodoxy by its incorporation into the I Ching--a late compilation from, and rational arrangement of, earlier works on divination.'

William Spear teaches astrology and macrobiotics and has been using the I Ching for 20 years? He states:

"Taoism, inseparable from the philosophy of the I Ching, is based on the complimentary yet antagonistic principles of Yin and Yang which mutually create and destroy each other by the ceaseless rearrangements of their relationship. The basic rule they obey is life's only certainty: change.''

One ad for a book by Diane Stein on the I Ching (also called Kwan Yin) tells us: "The Kwan Yin Book of Changes is a wonderful book, finding admirerers (sic) with not only new agers, and feminists, but others such as pagans, divination fans, goddess worshippers, and those involved with Eastern philosophy.''

Of course Diane Stein isn't the only pagan who uses the I Ching. A witchcraft magazine, Circle Network News, gives an extensive ritual to be used in connection with the I Ching. Part of the instructions are:

"An altar should be set up in the middle of a room facing north....Lay the stalks in the middle of the altar along with the I Ching book that you are going to use and your I Ching journal. Include on the altar other ritual tools and symbols that you feel you need. Be sure to include burning incense.

"Ritually purify yourself and the space with techniques of your choosing. Ground and centre. Call the quarters and Spirit in a fashion that feels appropriate ....

"Once you have determined the hexagram, draw it in your journal. Look it up within the text of your I Ching book ....

"When you feel complete with your answer and have recorded all relevant information in your journal, pay respects to the I Ching in whatever way you feel comfortable....Thank the spirit helpers [demons!] and the quarters for helping with your work.''

New Ager, Jeffrey S. Stamps, likes to use the yin/yang in a slightly different form. He calls his symbol the "Emergent Tao." He explains:

"The ridgepole symbolises the line of the roof, thus separating heaven from earth. As a line, the ridgepole is unity, yet it generates duality--'above and below, a right and left, front and back--in a word, the world of opposites.'...

"As a symbol of change, tao, too, may change. To compress my thought of many pages to a single symbol, I offer Emergent Tao....This symbol extends the traditional t'ai chi symbol of the circle with a ridgepole dividing the complements of yin and yang. I have added the spiral curves between the outer circle and the two inner circles. With these lines, the symbol clearly expresses emergence and levels: the circle of the whole (n) and the 'higher' (n+1) and 'lower' (n-1) smaller circles/levels. Emergent tao expresses the essence of Holonomy: complements, levels, and unitary process.''


Emergent Tao

The yin/yang symbol is quite appropriate today for humanists, New Agers, witches, Satanists, etc. As Michael Tierra, a proponent of the yin/yang theory, states: "The Yin/Yang theory is a teaching method and does not define anything absolute.'' There are seven laws concerning the yin/yang, one of which is: "2. Everything changes."

This is an important item to notice. The idea that "everything changes" does not agree with the Bible. There we find that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 1 3:8). He doesn't change. James 1:17 also states: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Malachi 3:6 tells us: "I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT."

Another law is: "3. All antagonisms are complementary.'' Again, this is contradictory to Scriptures. This would make Jesus and Satan complementary to each other! What blasphemy!

Yet another law is: "6. The extreme of any condition will produce signs of the opposite.'' Again applying this to Christ would mean that because He is the extreme in goodness, mercy, compassion, etc., that He will produce signs of hate, injustice, unconcern, etc. This also would make Satan eventually become kind, loving, obedient, and so forth. The Bible warns: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! ...Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. (Isaiah 5:20-21 23).

In addition to the seven laws of yin/yang, there are twelve theorems. One of these is: "8. Nothing is solely Yin or Yang; everything involves polarity.'' This is stating that nothing is entirely good or entirely evil. This again contradicts the Scripture for in Habbakkuk 1:13 we find that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on iniquity." The Bible also tells us that there is no truth in Satan (John 8:44). Obviously, the yin/yang theory is not consistent with God's Word.

We'll cover the sinister aspects of the hexagram later, but it's interesting to note that An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols tells us that the hexagram is affiliated with the "Chinese occult symbol of ying (sic) and yang. The connotations, therefore, of the hexagram also apply to the yin/yang symbol.

There are probably hundreds upon hundreds of groups that have used the yin/yang in their logo or symbolism. Some groups probably do so innocently, but I believe the majority of them know exactly what they are doing and what the symbolism means. On the following pages are just some of the ways in which the yin/yang is being used.

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