The Taoist concept of Yin-Yang is perhaps the best visual representation of the way feminine and masculine energies dance together to form the universe. The circular symbol consists of two equal portions, each containing an element of the other, illustrating the light within the dark and the dark within the light.
Yin and Yang are the paradoxical energies that harmonize and battle within every organic system. The literal translation of Yin-Yang is two mutually correlated opposites, such as heaven and earth. This concept of unity in duality represents the paradoxical nature of the universe not only in the cosmos but also in each of us.
In Tantric cosmology the whole universe was created because of the erotic interplay of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti. Shiva is the principle of awakened consciousness wheras Shakti is the principle of creative power. More personally, Shiva is the masculine and Shakti is the feminine within each of us and throughout creation. The symbolic representation of their sacred union is the Yab-Yum position, which translates to Mother-Father Pose.
In Yab-Yum, the woman (Shakti) straddles the man (Shiva) and sits on his lap while he sits cross-legged in lotus position in a deep meditation. The masculine form is passive and the feminine is active. United, the individuals are able to overcome the veils of illusion and false duality.
Shiva, the divine masculine principle, is often depicted as the supreme yogi sitting naked, “clothed in the universe”; or wearing a tiger skin, sitting in meditation under the tree of life or on his bull, Nandi. He is also called the destroyer and the supreme lord. Shiva holds a trident that represents the Hindu trinity. He is in a continual state of Samadhi or nirvana.
Shiva embodies the principle of spirit consciousness and space. Represented by the Shiva lingam or a stone phallus, he is the stage upon which the play of life dances.
Three times when Kamala Devi was in ecstatic worship, she had the experience of being visited by Shiva. He appeared naked with ash all over his body, long dark dreadlocks and a huge unwavering erection.
Shakti is the personification of the divine feminine. She embodies the creative, active and powerful, yet she has receptive qualities. Shakti means sacred force, power or energy. She is infinite in her forms: Adya Shakti is the primordial power, Uma Shakti is the divine mother, Kundalini Shakti is the serpent in the spine, Maya Shakti is the creator of illusion and our physical reality, Parvati Shakti is Shiva’s loyal wife or consort, and Kali Shakti is the fierce protector and destroyer.