In The Wheel of Time's setting, the magical One Power is comprised of a "feminine" half, saidar, and a "masculine" half, saidin. The One Power is often depicted using the symbol of the Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends. That symbol is visually identical to the yin-yang symbol with no "dots" taken out of the halves, picture here. This similarity to the modern day symbol is surely an instance of Jordan's implication that the "real world" is also an Age of the Wheel, the first answer to this question discusses that in more detail.

The books make clear that saidar is represented by the white half of the symbol, the "flame of Tar Valon", while saidin is represented by the black half, the "Dragon's fang". But, to my admittedly shallow understanding, this is the opposite of the associations attributed to yin and yang. Yin, the dark half of the symbol, has a feminine association. Yang, the bright half the symbol, has a masculine association.

More tenuously: Saidin also ends in -in and shares its visual representation with yin, i.e. those names both refer to the dark half the symbol. The word "saidin" sounding to my ear more feminine compared to saidar screwed with me for years when I was first reading the WoT, as I tended to flip which was which.

The question: Is there any specific acknowledgement or discussion in the books or from Jordan that the masculine-feminine associations are "swapped" relative to yin and yang?

I don't recall any specific discussion of this in the books, but it has been many years. It looks like there's an interview quote database, it shows up evidence that Jordan did intentionally omit the "dots" for symbolic reasons.

I've tried my best Google-fu trying to find discussion of this specific question as well without much luck. It seems like people have of course noticed this discrepancy in meanings previously, but I'm curious whether there's evidence Jordan performed the swap intentionally.

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    I fear that quote you found about the missing dots is about as good as is likely to exist. Re: saidin sounding more feminine: I think the reference of 'saidar' is to 'seidr' which was considered feminine magic in the pre-Christian Norse world. Odin's use of seidr is one of the things he is mocked for in the Lokasenna (Poetic Edda). Jan 18 at 17:04
  • Given the destructive madness caused by male channeling, though, I think the male side of the Power has to be associated with darkness in WoT. (The "Dragon's Fang" was originally the male half of the yin/yang symbol but is by Rand's time associated with the Darkfriends.) So it is probably intentional but if there was an authorial confirmation it would likely be on the Theoryland database. Jan 18 at 17:07
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    @cometaryorbit I tend to agree- after a bit more creative Googling I finally turned up a similar question on Reddit that never got an answer. And I happened to reread the first 2 books in the past month. No answer there, though that's hardly surprising. reddit.com/r/WoT/comments/6hmnfm/… Jan 18 at 21:17


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