Author: Ryan Hatcher
How often, as energy workers, are we told that negative energy is ‘bad’? “Cleanse it of all negative energy!” “It’s been tainted by negative energy.” “I can feel a lot of negativity here” and so on. Personally I feel this use of the word ‘negative’ to be wrong.
Let’s look at the word negative, and then you might see what I’m getting at. The word negative is the opposite of the word positive. In terms of physics, negativity is a description of a charge, such as positively charged particles and negatively charged particles (protons and electrons respectively) . The poles of a battery are labeled + and – or positive and negative. However, as energy workers we generally consider ‘negative’ to mean ‘bad’, ‘harmful’ and, in an extreme, ‘evil’.
Does this mean that half of a battery is evil? Or since electricity is a flow of electrons and so has a negative charge, does that mean electricity is inherently evil? Well…no, if we think about it, they’re not inherently bad, harmful or evil, although electricity can be harmful if it is misused, like any other energy.
If we look to the Far East, we can look at the ideas of positive and negative from a more spiritual perspective. What I refer to is the concept of Yin and Yang from Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine. Yang, roughly meaning Sun, is positive, masculine overt and open in Chinese. In the Taijitu (the typical Yin-Yang symbol) , Yang is represented by the white section. The concept of Yang energy is that of active, dynamic, masculine aspects, the sun and fire are forces associated with Yang as well as the God principle. Yang is the positive side of the polarity.
In Chinese medicine the Yang part of our body is the right side of our body. There are also Yang organs in the body, associated with active and energizing attributes. Yang is the energy within us that drives us forward, is our passion, and keeps us energized. But if we have too much Yang in our lives, we can end up feeling hyperactive, aggressive, suffer insomnia and eventually burn ourselves out.
Yin is roughly translated as shade, moon, feminine, negative, lunar and hidden in Chinese. In the Taijitu, the black section represents Yin. The concept of Yin energy is that of the passive, stillness and the feminine. The moon and water are forces associated with Yin, as well as emotions, intuition and the Goddess principle. Yin is the negative side of the polarity.
In Chinese medicine, the Yin part of our body is the left side of our body and, as with Yang, there are Yin organs in the body associated with passive, fluid attributes. It is the serenity within us that keeps us calm, allows us to sit and just observe the world around us, are the deep waters of our mind and keep us grounded. However, too much Yin in our lives leaves us feeling lethargic, depressed, lonely and alienated, suffering from hypersomnia and getting nowhere in life.
A balance between the two is imperative to be able to experience life to the fullest and to feel as present in the now as is possible for us as human beings at that moment. The Yin and Yang, together in the Taijitu, are inseparably linked, entwined together to form the whole, the perfect and infinite circle. One cannot exist without the other, just as a shadow cannot exist without a source of light. Also, if we look at the Taijitu we can see that the individual Yin and Yang parts contain a part of the opposite. This shows that opposites exist within everything and the importance of a balanced polarity.
There, polarity, that is the point I’m trying to aim for. Is it possible, looking at the Yin-Yang model to see negative as inherently bad as we have done for so long? If we did, it would mean that everything feminine, including the Goddess, would be bad, harmful and possibly inherently evil. I’m sure no one has any intention of doing that any time soon.
Positive and negative, light and dark. They are just opposites in the balance of polarity and have no sense of moral right or wrong, any more than do the poles of the aforementioned battery or the north and south poles of a compass, or even the earth. They’re just opposites of the same force.
So what do I propose we use instead of the word negative? Personally, I use the words ‘impure’, ‘unclean’ and ‘harmful’ when it comes to describing unwanted energy because that is really what we’re talking about isn’t it? Unwanted energy. Unwanted because it is harmful, impure and unclean. It is the energy that taints our work and our tools, whereas simply ‘negative’ energy could in fact be beneficial, providing a feminine aspect to our tools and working, and thus providing that balance of polarity which is what paganism and ‘the great work’ is supposed to be all about: unifying opposites to create a balanced whole.
Sometimes I feel that, though we understand thoughts and words have power, we still need to choose our thoughts and words more carefully when working directly with the energies of the universe. We need to make sure we know exactly what it is we are asking and that the words we use match our intention and directed will. The universe has a cruel, and sometimes ironic sense of humor (for a non-corporeal, non-specific entity anyway) , and sometimes you get what you’ve asked for, and if you’ve asked using the wrong words, then you’re likely to get a nasty surprise!
So from this moment I ask that we are all more mindful of the words we choose to use, both in our day-to-day lives as well as in our magical lives. Doing so we may just find things flow in the way we want them to and we can each live a happier, more peaceful existence.