Message Boards Message Boards


Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes

I'm looking for source material regarding red triangle, yellow square, and other geometric shapes for concentration meditation.

I believe they were mentioned in some old yogic texts. It is now pretty impossible to search Google for such things however without being inundated with New Age crap.

I did not plan to use an external object as the basis as I can visualize such shapes quite well anyway. However, if that is a key part of the meditation I will incorporate it.

So, does anyone have any information? Thanks!

RE: Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes
7/8/18 10:19 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
How intricate of a geometric design are you looking for? Tibetan mandalas might be something to try as you say you have some ability. Or if you are looking for something more basic, why not use a shapes brush in a simple paint program. It would be easy to create a circle, square, triangle, etc., color them as you desire, print them out, and then turn them into paper cutouts. They could even be hung on string or pasted on sticks depending on how you wish to employ them.

RE: Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes
7/9/18 5:01 AM as a reply to Heiliges Basilikum.
Thanks for the reply. I was actually looking for source material on the meditations, e.g. scripture and origin.

I found these:

The last link is the Golden Dawn appropriation of the tattvas; I'm still searching for original meditations from the Samkhya school.

RE: Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes
11/11/18 12:49 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
I grew up around tattvas, as used in BOTA. These designs are slightly more complex than the Golden Dawn designs, and I really recommend them. By using complementary colors on each card, the “flashing” created by the afterimages gets maximally exaggerated.

For me, up until very recently, these have been entirely about becoming more conscious of after-images. So, I say the cards are actually necessary for the practice. There are other traditions where you just try to learn to picture the symbol, and for someone with weak visualization abilities, maybe the after-images are helping them get there. But I think there’s longstanding tradition of using physical tattva designs basically as kasinas.

Golden Dawn writings note that the interior tattva (eg, a square inside a circle, a triangle inside a crescent, etc.) are supposed to be pretty small, so as to “not dominate” the larger symbol. In my opinion the true usefulness of the interior symbol is as a “fixation point”, like the cross or dot usually used by psychologists to tell you where to stare.

I like the instructions on the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn website. Normally, Golden Dawn derived instructions advise stepping through the symbol like a door, and using “active imagination” to have an experience of the astral realm associated with the symbol. Of course, the use of imagination is supposed to be just a stepping stone, but I don’t feel very comfortable with the idea. The guy at OSOGD instead just stares at the symbol until the rest of the world goes grey (ie, visual fixation leads to Troxler fading, although he interprets it instead as “parts of the brain not related to the symbol shut off”). By continuing to put his attention on the symbol, eventually he starts to have spontaneous visualizations. Seems remarkably similar to Fire Kasina to me.

Edit: It’s Flying Roll XXV.

RE: Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes
11/11/18 5:52 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
I found another source, potentially. There’s a book called Tantra Song by Franck Andre Jamme which collects what appear to be Tattvas.These are from Tantric meditators in Rajasthan, so they’re a separate tradition from the one usually providing the ‘new age nonsense’. But it seems like there’s some relationship; these symbols are meant to be stared at, and the blue (more properly cyan) circle and the red triangle show up. Apparently the book contains meditation instructions too, although I haven’t gotten hold of the book so I don’t know how useful they are.

One review mentions another book which contains some similar Tantric art; “Tantra Art” by Amit Mookerjee. It does appear that “The Tantric Way” by the same author contains some discussion of these five shapes, though no related meditation instructions. However, all I did was page through, and the book certainly contains some meditation instructions, so don’t take my word for that. Also, Amit Mookerjee has a book “Yoga Art” with another vaguely tattva-like design on the cover.

RE: Red Triangle, Yellow Square, and Other Shapes
6/12/19 6:29 PM as a reply to Daniel Antony Demski.
I've acquired the book Tantra Song now. If you google it, you can definitely find the majority of the images; the only obvious thing missing from a quick image search is a white circle with faint color patches throughout, and a dark black spiral in the center. So if you acquire it, it would have to be the text; and the text is pretty minimal.

The author, Jamme, interviewed many practitioners but focused on asking for the meanings of the pictures. To these questions he received many answers, and he does not report an answer in the book unless he got it from several different practitioners. However, when he actually reports meanings it seems as if he mixes in his own speculation as well.

As to the actual practice, it's clear that it varies from one piece to another. There is one painting - Plate 13 - which consists of three blue circles, lying symmetrically with a bit of distance between them. One is dark blue, one a bit lighter, and one again a bit lighter. Jamme states that these are used by a tantric teacher, who covers up all but one circle and asks the student which of the three is shown; the goal being to build ability in fine distinctions of color and detail.

For the remaining paintings, though, what we are told is that the practitioner looks at the painting for 15 minutes or more each morning, attempting fill the mind with it and to merge with it, and then gains easy access to it in vivid detail for the rest of the day. Jamme himself has done this, though he skips the ceremonial component (and doesn't tell us the ceremony). He reports success in that he can access the image in a vivid way through the day.

To me, looking through the images, it seems easy to speculate various exercises. The frequent spirals seem like fixation points where one can leave the eyes to acquire a sharp afterimage. (Jamme says they symbolize energy.) When there are two spirals, I'm tempted to cross my eyes; the spirals are so exactly alike they can be matched up to create an illusion of depth. Then one can play with perception of the remaining image.

The white circle with the black spiral is interesting. The white is painted over some color patches, still faintly visible, so that one naturally glances around trying to see through the 'fog' of white. This creates bright afterimages of the black spiral, but if you only glance around the white fog, the afterimage is never in the center of your field of view. Thus, a teacher could instruct a student to find the brilliant spirals hidden in the fog; and this would be a reasonable way of practicing both afterimage awareness and peripheral vision.

There are two images which play with lines rather than strong color patches. Psychologists study all sorts of negative afterimages, such as the illusion of shrinking (or motion away) after looking at something which is growing (or moving toward); the illusion of rising after looking at a waterfall; the illusion of something growing dark after looking at things that were growing brighter over time. In my experience, fine lines have a subtle afterimage, a "lightning dissolve" moving perpendicular to the lines, as if the mind is searching for lines pointing any direction but the one which was just stimulated. Try staring at a bar code. Shake the bar code around a little bit - it doesn't take much - to keep from forming a strong color afterimage. But keep your eyes and attention on the lines until you start to see some sort of vibrational effect around or within them. Then glance away to a blank surface, especially a bright one. You might see some sort of effect, which fairly quickly fades or morphs, and is much more dynamic and movement-oriented than a color afterimage. This is what I think people are doing with the images with lines.

Many of the images contain small, tidily rounded bright spots on the edge of a larger field of color. I don't have a good guess about these. Sometimes there is a line leading from the center (ie, often from a spiral) to these edge spots. I can imagine trying to use the line to help move attention from the fixation point to something peripheral; crawling up the line as it were. But I don't know. Moving attention across the visual field seems so easy; would this really be useful?

Announcements Announcements