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The Tattwas

 It was from Samkhya that the "tattwa" or "tattva" system - so important to most modern schools of occultism - developed.  This organises the diversity of reality, and the yogic or subtle anatomy, in terms of five fundamental principles, each with numerous sets of correspondences.  The same thing is found in the five states of change (or "elements") of Chinese thought, as well as the many sets of Shamanic and other correspondences.  The significance of the tattwa-doctrine however lies in the influence it was to have on such important occult systems as Indian and Tibetan Tantra, Theosophy, and Hermetic Kabbalah (or "Qabalah").

In his book Amazon com The Key of it All, a comprehensive review of occult symbolism, David Allen Hulse refers to six schools of Tattwas.  These are

Each of these divide the universe into five basic shapes: the oval, circle, triangle, crescent and square [pp.278, 286-7].

I would add a seventh system, somewhat more derived than the others:

Although this uses four rather than five principles, and nowhere mentions the word "tattwa", the basic ideas, and even the basic shapes, are retained.




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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 30 June 1999, last modified 15 February 2005