East Meets West
Although the Tattvas are not used in a traditional Wiccan path, the perspective they offer and the different layers of meaning they give to the more traditional attributes of the elements can offer great insight. I did, after all, say that this course would be a slightly different introduction to Wiccan philosophies.
Eastern Philosophy Meets Western Tradition:
The Tattwas were traditionally components and specified energetic constructs that were used within the Indian Tantric and Yogic teachings. There introduction into the Western Magickal System developed through use in the Golden Dawn Tradition. Author, Donald Tyson offers commentary below:
“How they found their way into the magic system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn would be interesting to know, since most of the techniques of this Order were Western in origin, but they formed an essential part of Golden Dawn training in meditation, visualization, clairvoyance, consecration of instruments, making telesmatic images, and other aspects of the Golden Dawn system.
One of the key members of the early Golden Dawn was Allan Bennett, who was primarily interested in yoga and Eastern methods of training. Perhaps he played a part in popularizing the tattwas within the Order. Some aspects of the Golden Dawn system formulated at the beginning of the Order were allowed to lapse and were almost never used. This cannot be said of the tattwas, which always formed a central part of Golden Dawn teachings.”
Astral /etheric forms of the grosser Elements:
The tattwas (or tattvas) are primal energies that underlie the five elements of Hindu philosophy -- akasha or akasa (spirit), tejas (fire), apas (water), vayu (air) and prithivi (earth). The term tattwas means realities or states of being. Each of the five has a specific symbol/glyph used for visual and identification purposes. The use of these glyphs imprints the images within the mind, and once imprinted the levels of consciousness are also uploaded with memory of these symbols. This allows for greater and deeper connection at all levels of being.
The Tattwas may be used in the same way as the traditional wiccan elements as well as with some additional attributes. Because of the dense layers of metaphysical meaning overlaid within their essence and a higher resonance to the astral realms they may also be used as:
In using the Tattwas they are often placed one in the other to form specific combinations of energies. These are considered to be compound (coalesced) in nature. There are the 5 basic Tattwas and the possibility for 4 combinations of each. For example…
Placing Fire within Air would represent the fires of mind or the catalytic effects of energy when placed within the realm of mind and intellect which manifests as the brilliant flash of inspired idea.
Placing Fire within Water would be the electrical charge of fires of will being expressed through the intuitive or emotional selves.
A tattwa placed within itself intensifies the elemental quality. The smaller symbol stands for the active force, the larger symbol for the background or environment against which it acts.
Earth within earth would indicate manifest form enhanced and supported within the physical state.
Having some basic information of this system of thinking about the elements can open and enhance the perspective you have around the Traditional Elements of Wiccan Practice.