Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang describe any two opposites that are automatically created from any abstract concept. For example, the idea of “justice” is an abstract one. It automatically creates two opposites that only through them we can understand “justice.” These opposites are good and bad. Another example is the abstract idea of “height.” It automatically creates the opposites “tall” and “short”. Any two opposites that you can think of are Yin and Yang.
The two opposites must co-exist, and are co-dependent. We can’t understand “day” without knowing its opposite – “night.” “Day” would have no meaning without the contrary force of night. Yin and Yang are never separate and are always in flux. A day will always turn into night and vice versa. Too much good will turn to bad, and sometimes a movie can be sooooo bad, it’s good – we’ve all seen those.
In this project, we work with two different concepts: Gender and Biology. It is important to understand that these are two separate concepts.
The idea of biology creates the opposites of “male” and “female”, whereas the concept of gender creates the opposites of “feminine” and “masculine”.
In the I-Ching, we find eight sets of three lines (Trigrams) surrounding the very familiar Yin and Yang symbol. These Trigrams depict the movement between the two opposite extremes – Yin and Yang. Each line changes from Yin to Yang at different rates of time, and when all three lines change we reach the extreme of the opposite. For example: from midnight to noon and back to midnight, the day always changes.
Every phenomenon can be understood through the model of the I-Ching. We can follow the seasons, or even the economy, by seeing the birth of a new state right after the zenith of its opposite is reached.
In most cases, these stages have words in our language. We invented words for dusk and dawn since they are clearly different than midnight and noon. Autumn and Spring are both stages between the extremes of hot summer and cold winter. Day and night are general words describing the two opposites – but more language was needed to create specificity.
In gender and biology, we do not have any specific names for these stages. Male and female are general terms – like day and night. But what are the stages between male and female? A general term of Intersex is used here, but it does not describe nor differentiate between the variations in biology. Because these stages are not recognized in language, the medical establishment tends to pathologize them and very often “corrects” them at birth.
Same goes to masculine and feminine. These are two general terms for gender – but what are the names for the in-between stages? Maybe the extreme archetypes of masculinity and femininity are the “Alpha Male”, and its opposite, the “Femme Fatale.”
However, do these describe YOU?
According to the I-Ching, these only represent 2 out of 8 of us.
Each line in the Trigram (combination of three lines) represent an aspect of the general concept at hand, from its deepest aspect to the most external expression of it. For example the idea of anatomy can be broken down to bone, flesh, and skin – each would be represented by one line of the trigram. Time can be broken down to past, present, and future. Your astrological chart can be broken down to sun sign, moon sign, and rising.
Slowly, the change takes place as each line turns from Yin to Yang. No line is ever static. It is either a “young” line that just became, or an “old” line that is starting to change to become the other. Yang goes into Yin and Yin goes into Yang consistently. Yin declines and Yang rises, and when it reaches its zenith, it gradually declines and naturally turns into Yin once again.
In Biology, this can easily be demonstrated with Hormones. Estrogen will be in the system of an individual and naturally will decline during Menopause. Similarly, Testosterone levels decline as men age.
The Trigrams and Hexagrams
We have two concepts in one body: Biology and Gender. That’s not hard to grasp. It is exactly like having both height and weight. If you are tall (Yang) you can also be slim (Yang), but you can also be curvy (Yin). One can be Yin and Yang at the same time. Only when it comes to gender and biology, society expects female to be feminine and male to be masculine. It is possible to have the combination female and masculine, and male and feminine. However, in our society it is judged, and often considered to be “gay”.
By combining your biology trigram and your gender trigram, you get your personal hexagram.
Since we have eight possibilities in each – there are a total of 64 possible combinations.
Remember! Each trigram changes. It is never static. Your biology will change. It can change naturally with changes in hormonal flow, before, during and after puberty and into middle-age. It can also be altered externally by surgical procedures like Orchidectomy or Oophorectomy. You can introduce Hormones externally. You may lose a lot of weight and become slim, or gain weight and become curvy. All these will affect your biology trigram, but they would not change your gender trigram.
Transgender people might change aspects of their biology to better suit their gender. At that point, the changes would show on their biology trigram.
Another example can be a male who identifies as a man, and has no intention of becoming a woman, yet loves expressing himself in what is considered to be feminine fashion. This person is not transgender. He might consider himself a “cross-dresser.”