YIN YANG SPREAD
The Yin Yang spread sheds light on any situation where two parties do not see eye-to-eye on a given issue. These could be any two individuals, groups, organizations, teams or some combination. The parties disagree, but they are not necessarily hostile to each other. They are simply (!) stuck on a problem that needs resolution. The Yin Yang spread is based on the familiar circular symbol made up of two shapes - one black and one white - defined by a central line. In his translation of the I Ching or Book of Changes, Richard Wilhelm states that
With this line, which in itself represents oneness, duality comes into the world, for the line at the same time posits an above and a below, a right and left, front and back - in a word, the world of the opposites.
In a conflict, there are two opposites that together form a whole which is the situation itself. The Yin Yang spread has two sections that correspond to the positions or sides of the conflict (call them Sides "A" and "B"). They mirror each other and are separated by a line of cards.
The Two Sides - Cards 3-10
In this spread, Cards 3-5-7-9 represent Side A, and Cards 4-6-8-10 represent Side B. When the Yin Yang spread is laid out, these cards are placed alternately - one on the left, then one on the right - until all eight have been placed. Before you do a Yin Yang spread you should decide which person or group is Side A and which is Side B. If you are one of the parties, then you should be Side A.
The Dividing Line
The dividing line is where the opposing positions meet. Cards 1 and 2 define the heart of the matter - the fundamental conflict. These cards describe the dynamic between A and B that has created the specific problem. Card 11 holds the key to the conflict as a whole. It offers guidance to both parties on how to resolve their differences mutually. Card 12 is the projected outcome if matters continue as they are.
Many of the cards in the Yin Yang spread are similar to those in the Celtic Cross spread. Links to these cards are given when appropriate.
- Position 1 - factor contributing to the problem (see Card 1)
- Position 2 - factor contributing to the problem (see Card 2 )
- Position 3 - official or public position for Side A. Impression A wants to make. How Side B perceives Side A.
- Position 4 - official or public stance for Side B. Impression B wants to make. How Side A perceives Side B.
- Position 5 - what Side A consciously thinks and feels. Side A's ideal outcome. (see Card 5)
- Position 6 - what Side B consciously thinks and feels. Side B's ideal outcome. (see Card 5)
- Position 7 - what Side A unconsciously thinks and feels. Deeper motivation. (see Card 3)
- Position 8 - what Side B unconsciously thinks and feels. Deeper motivation. (see Card 3)
- Position 9 - guidance for Side A. What A should do to reach its ideal. (see Card 9)
- Position 10 - guidance for Side B. What B should do to reach its ideal. (see Card 9)
- Position 11 - guidance for both Sides A and B. Key to understanding the conflict.
How they might compromise. (see Card 9)
- Position 12 - outcome if situation continues as is. (see Card 10)
Interpreting the Yin Yang Spread
Here is one possible approach to interpreting the Yin Yang spread:
- Look at Cards 1 and 2 to get an idea of the basic conflict.
- Examine each side separately so that you understand them. For Side A, look at Cards 3-5-7 first. For Side B, look at Cards 4-6-8. Consider these pairs:
- Cards 3+5 (and 4+6) to see how each side's public stand compares to its real agenda
- Cards 5+7 (and 6+8) to see how each side's conscious thoughts and feelings compare to its unconscious ones
- Compare the two sides. Consider these pairs:
- Cards 3+4 to see how each side may view the other
- Cards 5+6 to see what both sides are really thinking and feeling
- Cards 7+8 to see what the deeper motivation is for each side
- Compare the outcomes (cards 5, 6 and 12). Who will be happy, who will be disappointed?
- Card 12 - where the conflict is headed currently.
- Cards 5+12 - how Side A's ideal compares to the actual outcome.
- Cards 6+12 - how Side B's ideal compares to the actual outcome.
- Consider the guidance. (Cards 9, 10 and 11). What does each side need to do to reach its goal and achieve a mutually satisfactory conclusion?
Sample Reading - Budget Crisis