By Jennifer Gwin
We’ve all seen the symbol; half black, half white with a smidge of the opposite color in each. What most people have never been told is that this iconic symbol is just a snapshot in time. In actuality this symbol is depicting the constant transformation of these two opposing forces of one into the next… an eternal dance thought to fuel the movement of the universe.
It is the natural flow of yin turning into yang turning into yin that maintains the spinning of the planets around their suns and consequently our movement through the dark and light of our seasons and the sleeping and waking through our days and nights. And yes, the brightening and dimming of the moons created by their revolving around their respective planets is yet another cue for our bodies’ cycles.
When we are under the influence of yin (ie, water, darkness, night, winter, new moon, cold, stillness) our body moves into a state of recuperation. For example, at night our body’s temperature drops, melatonin is secreted and cortisol levels drop. And when the sun begins to rise into the sky our bodies get ready for action. The yang increases (fire, light, day, full moon, hot, activity) causing our melatonin levels to drop, cortisol levels rise along with our body temperature. This rhythmic flux between yin and yang, dark and light, cold and warm, rest and activity makes the world go ’round.
Let’s for a moment imagine we are trees, walking trees. There was a winter when we sat under the cold soil in the form of a nut or seed. The yang of the coming spring warmed the soil – the sun above ground called upon the life inside of us to break through. Birth is the ultimate example of yang. Yet even birth comes from a very yin state. (the seed in winter or the dark moist place of inside the womb) As the amount of daylight increases and summer comes our trunk and branches continue to grow upward and outward toward this sun. Summer is the peak of yang in the lifecycle. We flower and eventually bare fruit. We put much of our energy into these delightful fruits on our branches. Once ripe, our fruits fall to the ground. This is a great success, the harvest of fall. Within each of these seeds lies the potential for countless trees. Now the nights are growing longer, sending the important message to our bodies to begin to pull our energy deep inside us. It is this action that withers our leaves to the point of dropping off. These very leaves become compost around our base to fertilize the very seeds that fell and are soon under the cold soil of the earth. A poetic life cycle.