Hah Taew, 5 Lines Sak Yant Magical Tattoo Meaning / Explanation

One of the most popular Yants, five row yantra

I will begin with this one as it is by far the most popular Yant among foreigners. It is a Yant that encompasses every aspect of one’s life and it is for this reason it is so popular. Anjelina Jolie had this Yant on her shoulder as her first Yant. She has since received more. Represents 5 yant’s of magical spells. Yants are chants, or Kathas and the chants are performed, over and over to invoke a state of the mind. The mind can create magical spells onto the Yants. They are chanted 108 times (108 means a lot in Thai, it’s a saying) before entering the high level of meditation. Each one will be done individually and the following magical spells have been cast on each line described below.

The Yant consists of five lines, each line representing a different area of one’s life.

  1. The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favour when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
  2. The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
  3. The third row protects you from the use of black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
  4. The fourth row energizes your good luck, success and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
  5. The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.

Understanding the Four Elements

If you look back a few thousand years, humanity believed that the earth was made up of only four elements, earth, air, fire and water.

For many cultures such as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Incas, the idea that these four elements – earth, water, air, and fire – made up all matter was the cornerstone of philosophy, science, and medicine. The elements were “pure” but could not be found in that state on earth. Every visible thing was made up of some combination of earth, water, air, and fire. The four elements were even used to describe the four temperaments a person could have, and Hippocrates used the four elements to describe the four “humors” found in the body. These theories stated that the temperaments and humors needed to be in balance with each other in order for a person to be well both mentally and physically.)

Indian tradition follows this belief and goes back before the ancient Greeks and the Khmer empire. The empire was dissolved into what is now known as Thailand and Cambodia.

Buddhism started in India and made its way into the Khmer empire with its yantra designs on cloth etc. Yantra Tattooing was born. Now known as Sak Yant Tattooing. Sak, means to tap (hand poke or as we know it now, Bamboo tattooing) and Yant, derived from the Sanskrit word Yantra, which means, sacred geometrical design and or magical spell/chanting. The fifth element is the lord Buddha. It was described as to praise the lord Buddha and that’s why there are five lines.
It is believed that when you reach the age of twenty years old, both man or woman, you use the four elements together as a talisman; add a fifth element to increase the element array to worship the lord Buddha. The monks respect natural justice.

A typical Hah Taew, 5 lines

Hah Taew five line Thai tattoo


Unaalome (Ascending spirals)

The circle at the bottom represents the life you live with the many earthly distractions we encounter in our daily lives. As long as you let these things control your life you will go around in circles. Get rid of these things and you will get on the ever decreasing spiral. The more you do this the better your life will be. The spiral represents the head where the brain is and where the decisions are made. Spirals around the crown of the scalp until it reaches the top center point of the scalp. The straight line pointing upwards, signifies the straight path to Nirvana or Buddhism true enlightenment without any wavering behavior that the Arahants (Enlightened Saints) have accomplished.

Unaalome’s are used at the beginning of a Yant and at the end and also around many designs for decoration.

There are rules which the Yant bearer can follow if they wish. It is not a requirement. These can vary from master to master, below is a good example of these rules:

  1. Do not kill a person with intent.
  2. Do not steal for own personal gain.
  3. Do not lie to harm others. We all tell white lies and there is a difference.
  4. Do not have sexual relations with another’s partner.
  5. Do not spit in the toilet. The toilet should be a clean place and not to keep it so, shows disrespect to oneself and others.
  6. Do not swear at or disrespect your parents in any way.
  7. Do not speak about people behind their back in a manner likely to cause harm.
  8. Do not over consume alcohol and become troublesome to others. Keep in control.
  9. Do not walk under female underwear. The reason for this is to avoid temptations and distractions that the opposite sex can bring. Monks themselves are not allowed to touch a woman’s skin for this very reason and when a monk tattoos a female, he will wear surgical gloves etc.
  10. Do not partake in evil deeds. Avoid all contact with such happenings whenever possible.

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