Yin Yang Spirit House
Tuesday, November 4 2014

Marisa Cranfill

This boutique in Chiang Mai combined Taoist philosophy, a Thai spirit house and modern home décor to create a charming little storefront that immediately caught my attention. The well-known symbol representing yin and yang in this photograph is called taijitu in Chinese meaning ‘diagram of the supreme ultimate’. It is the great yantra of Chinese cosmology. Unlike the ornate geometrical diagrams of Tibet and India the taijitu uses simplicity to express the point: black and white halves of a circle depict the forces of nature and swirl together in constant motion. The minimalistic approach is also reflected in the owner’s choice of painting their spirit house pure white, a novel and contemporary take on a traditionally colorful Animist-Hindu tradition.


 Coincidentally both spirit houses and the Tajitu symbol have animist roots. The concept of the forces of yin (black) and yang (white) in the Chinese world view reveal themselves in nature as the shady side and sunny side and of a mountain. This is a metaphor to understand how seemingly opposite forces are actually interconnected and depend upon each other for existence. Yin is the dark, female, contracting, water aspect of nature while yang is the bright, male, hot, expanding, fire force. The dot in the center of each side shows that even yang has yin qualities and yin has yang qualities; nothing is purely black and white, nothing is permanent. Bringing these symbols into a space balances energy and reminds us to be present, grateful and harmonious.



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