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The Mandala

The Fractal Nature of Reality

Mandelbrot set The Fractal is the most fundamental pattern underlying form in the physical world.  All objects around us - clouds, rivers, trees, the lines on a person's face - can be described in terms of a fractal algorithm.  But more than that, even processes and events can - the pattern of the heartbeat, the fluctuation of the stock-exchange - can be likewise.  So the fractal not only maps out space, but time a well.

The principle of the fractal - which is that the part repeats the whole on a smaller scale - is also an important element in a number of esoteric or occult metaphysical systems; Kabbalah and Theosophy come to mind for example.

Is there a fractal for Reality as a whole, a basic template that defines the underlying pattern of manifest existence?

The Mandala

these images from Integral Paradigm 101

It may well be (although this is just my own speculation) that the original polarity or divergence or Coming Into Being (by which the One becomes Many) is in the form of that most universal of glyphs and diagrams, the mandala, and that this constitutes the basic fractal nature of Reality

The Mandala is the most widepread map or diagram of reality used by humankind, a fact noticed by C.G. Jung in his studies of the unconscious.  The mandala features the four points as the orientation in space and time, with the centre as the here-now or centre of consciousness (the observer or Witness-consciousness).  Mandalas appear in religious art and architecture and in mystical, esoteric and occult symbolism, in the drawings of very young children, in dreams and in mythology, in yogic, psychedelic, schizophrenic, and any other experences that go beyond the bounds of mundane reality, in fact everywhere one looks one sees the mandala as the representation of totality - certainly of psychic totality, as the Jungians affirm, but perhaps also of cosmic totality as well.  After all, if the occult maxin that the microcosm (the individual existence and experience) mirrors the macrocosm (the universe as a whole), then why shouldn't Reality turn out to metaphysically structured in this way?

The Quaternity

the fundamental unit of manifestation

full yang
yang of yin
transcendent centre
yin of yang
full yin

I propose here that Consciousness, in manifesting, takes on a four-fold structure, which Jung refers to as the Quaternity, with the Centre being the transcedent Origin (which contains within itself an even more transcendent origin - hence the dot in the middle). Four Archetypes designate the four fundamental units of manifestation.  These are drawn here according to the convention of the I Ching of representing the positive polarity ("yang") by an unbroken line, and the negative polarity ("yin") by a brokn line.  I suggest that rather than the four-fold being derived from the two-fold (yin yang, Shiva-Shakti) polarity, the two-fold dichotomy is a  special case of the four-fold quaternity, and that the original manifestation of the Absolute Reality was as four principle archetypes.

This hypothesis is based on the universality of the quaternity as the primary paradigm of cosmology and cosmogony.  Some correspondences are indicated by the following two tables, the first of which gives a few examples from selected esoteric teachings, and the second from science and contemporary psychology.


based on I Ching bi-grams
European (Greek, Celtic, & Hermetic)
Indian elements
Chinese "elements"
Tathagata Buddhas 
Etheric Formative forces
Sri Aurobindo-
four emanations of the Supreme Mother
type of arrangement:
mandala (+emanation)
mandala (+emanation)
transcendent centre
Spirit (Ether, 
Space (Akasha)
Tetra- grammaton
En Sof
full yang
Warmth ether
yang of yin
Ratna- sambhava
Light ether
yin of yang
Chemical ether
full yin
final he
Life ether

modern psychology and science:

state of matter 
Jungian psychology (and equivalents)
physical force
DNA codon
 Theory of Process (Arthur Young)
transcendent centre
unified field?
full yang
strong nuclear
 I Purpose
yang of yin
 II Substance
yin of yang
weak nuclear
 III Form
(focus on centre)
full yin
 IV Combination

There are a few discrepencies, which increase the futrther into the minutae of symbolism one goes.  But on the whole it comes together quite well

The Tetrakys

Tetrakys means "four", although it's built up of ten units.  The Tetrakys was the sacred symbol of the Pythagoreans.  It is sort of like a linear mandala, and shows how the one (unity or the Gohead or source) leads to two (the line, also duality, polarity, matter, creation, the first created principle), the two to three, and the three to four (manifestation, four cardinal points, the mandala again).  Thus each stage has a symbolic value and one could say it represents a plane of consciousness.

The number of units in the Tetrakys, ten, forms the basis for modern numerology (called "Pythagorean" to distinguish it from Kabbalistic or "chaldean" numerology), as well as appearing elsewhere - e.g. the ten sefirot of Kabbalah, and even in one of the hadron patterns of particle physics.

The Chinese Taoists have a similiar numerological sequence to the Pythagoreans, but instead of one-two-three-four it goes one-two-three-many.  here one means the Tao or Reality, two the polarity of yin and yang (see below), three heaven, earth and man as the union, and of course many meaning creation.

Regarding the sequence of the first four numbers, here are some notes I drew up in 1992/93 on this subject. Click on the image for a larger version

Numerological Musings #1
Numerological Musings #2
Numerological Musings #3

Finally, having said (and written up) all this, I might add as a post-script, regarding this hypothesis, that choice of the number four, rather than three, five, seven, ten, or any other number probably represents an arbitrary quirk of my personality.  Numerologically fours feature highly in my life, so I am probably doing nothing but reflecting my own self in this metaphysic; just as Blavatsky reflected herself in the number seven, the Chinese Taoists in the numbers two and five, and so on.

So there, you don't have to take anything seriously  ;-)

(and be wary of anyone who propounds any doctrine with too much seriousness!)

some creative interpreations of numerological and sefirotic symbolism

Quadontology - the Fourfold Reality - A Metaphysical "Map" of Consciousness/Reality

In keeping with the earlier discussion regarding the quaternity, it is suggested here as a working hypothesis that there are not one but four hierarchies of consciousness/being, each of which constitutes a particular process or dynamic of Consciousness (or Reality, or "God", whatever term you wish to use). These can be termed axiis, or ontoclines or gradiants of being. There may be more, but this seems to be the minimum required to explain things. Hence the neologism Quadontology - the study (logos) of the fourfold (quad) nature of being (ontos) to describe this particular mapping out of Reality. Note that this is (like the rest of this essay) not intended as any sort of dogmatic truth, but simply as a working hypothesis. Or more precisely: The study of being in terms of hypothesis of four fundamental interacting aspects/gradations/parameters of Existence). Every monad, i.e. every dynamic focal point an dinteraction of Consciousness, can be understood in terms of these four parameters.

This is described in mor detail on the next page

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text content and original diagrams by M.Alan Kazlev 1998 - 2005
from diagrams of reality, page uploaded page uploaded 27 May 1998, this page last modified 25 September 2005