Duality (Yin-Yang)

There are some scenes from our lives that remain indelibly fixed in our minds. I recall years ago when a friend laid a card down onto an old oak table with a decisive thunk, and leveled a meaningful gaze at me as I squirmed in my chair. She was an exquisitely tall and elegant woman, deeply intelligent and mystical, and she had just placed the Death card in front of me. We both knew it wasn’t my favorite card in any reading because it inevitably meant transition, change, and the work that comes with the same. My human nature resisted that, whether it was good for me or not. It meant acceptance of the inevitable and the embrace of duality—a concept present in all things. When something “dies,” it will make room for something else to be born.

Think of a flower: from full bloom, it eventually withers and then dies, scatters its seed to be reborn come spring. Where there is life, there must be death, and death will again transform into life. Likewise, light can only arise from darkness, and with each advancing tide, we know there will be a retreat. One cannot exist without the other, one is always becoming the other. This speaks to not only the physical nature of the world but also the emotional, spiritual, and philosophical how, and perhaps the why, of all things: contrary forces are also complementary. One thing is always transitioning to the other. It is an inevitability we must all deal with.

What does all that have to do with this pendant? Hopefully, you’ve recognized it as the Yin-Yang symbol—known as the Taijitu—derived from the ancient Chinese philosophy originating in the Song dynasty (960-1279) that provides the concept of opposite but interrelated forces. And like Death (and all the cards to greater and lesser degrees) in the tarot deck, it is a symbol of duality, of transformation. Yin is associated with the feminine, the moon, the dark, the concealed, and the negative, among others. Some Yang characteristics are male, the sun, the light, the overt, and the positive. Don’t think these concepts represent the exclusive differences in males and females of any form—they are instead energetic aspects of each that occur in both. No one is purely one or the other. Slapping such absolute labels on humans, or anything for that matter, may appear efficient, but it is hardly correct. To achieve perfect balance and harmony, Yin and Yang must have an equal share of the whole.

The Yin-Yang symbol is a circle divided by an ‘S’ line into dark and light segments, with each segment containing a ‘seed’ of the other. Its resulting teardrop shapes are recreated in this one-inch pendant using copper and silver segments, with a rivet of copper appearing in the silver, and a rivet made from silver appearing in the copper segment. The swirling teardrops help us see that as one aspect increases, the other aspect decreases, and after achieving fullness, they gradually transition into each other, with the seed of the other always present in each. There is always Yang within Yin and Yin within Yang.

I am often considering these sorts of things—the duality in the world, the differences, and yet the sameness of everything. How we are all different, how we are all one. The more we learn, we realize the less we know. But hopefully, we strive to understand. (One wonders if swirling thoughts are why I have trouble sleeping. 😊)

I am also, as I grow older, often thinking about the people in my life who left their stamp on my heart, how they have become part of me. Like my friend who laid down that card. Those changes she revealed did, of course, come. Crazy, big changes, like switching my career, “accidentally” becoming someone who makes symbols like this one from metal and wants to share them with others. But the writer who I was is still here, just not as fully present in this phase of my life’s work. As the calendar pages turn, I think of these people, and how I lose more of them every year. They go on, they become fully something else that we are always transitioning to from the moment we enter this physical realm. I want to speak from my heart to tell these people how important they are to me before I lose any more of them or before I, too, have moved on. I will likely send this post to my friend who read my cards many times and taught me more than she will ever know. I have had so many wonderful teachers. I have made and will wear this pendant for myself, to keep myself reminded I am a perpetual student and how we are all, always becoming.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for letting me share some of the contents of my heart and mind. If you’d like a pendant of your own, it will soon be available on this site but will premiere at the upcoming Kentucky Crafted Market. Details are on my “Events” page. I hope to see you there. ♥

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