Periodic Table Of The World’s Religious & Philosophical Traditions



This is of course a key question – and the answer is – whoever is interested in it, whoever wants to learn about the full diversity and panoply of the world’s rich intellectual and spiritual traditions. Concretely, the Table has been created for anyone who is seriously and perhaps professionally studying religions and philosophies. This means it is intended first, for schools, colleges and universities where the academic and scientific study of religion and philosophy is on the curriculum. My ideal is that each different department of religious studies and philosophy would have the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions displayed somewhere in its classrooms or corridors, where students can peruse it at their leisure, just as chemistry departments the world over would not be quite complete without their periodic table of the Elements. This will at a glance, so to speak, give students and professors alike the reference base-line from which to then have mature and informed discussions about the complexities of theological, philosophical and scientific truth claims and epistemic realities. But the table is not only created for institutional departments of religion and philosophy. It is also created for homes and studies where people are interested in having an easy overview of the variety of mankind’s intellectual heritage. I would also hope that the table could be displayed and used in religious schools, seminaries, colleges, madrasahs, and all places of instruction in religious matters, from all perspectives and traditions. The whole purpose of the table is to provide a simple instantaneous overview for every human being on the planet, at whatever level of intellectual depth and mastery they are working at. The table is also intended for everyone working in diplomacy and international relations, since it can provide at a glance information on the complexities of religious beliefs of people they may be dealing with. It is intended for international humanitarian relief agencies, including the United Nations, to provide an overview of the faiths and beliefs of peoples that might be in need of assistance. This is because it is a premise of my work that people do not only need humanitarian physical assistance, but they also need spiritual and emotional and intellectual assistance. In fact, when societies reach breaking point, and dissolve into civil war or other civil disturbances, it is normally as a result of some kind of intellectual rubicon that has already been crossed, and in my opinion this is usually because the basic understanding was not present that each party needs to recognise and acknowledge the other, as a valid existential entity in their own right, with their own stories and narratives and tales worthy of being told. Before the repression of people begins, the repression of narratives has already been underway for some time. The Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions is therefore a way of giving the basic background data to enable this planetary conversation of the traditions to advance to a higher level of intensity, honesty and rigour.

The Table is intended as an educational and research tool. It can be accessed both in book form and directly on its website. Parts of it can be photocopied and used in lessons, and in research seminars. It can form the basis for specific classes and study courses, dealing with any or all aspects of each of the 168 specific numbered categories or varieties of faith traditions enumerated. It can also form the basis for work by educational and interfaith communities, church groups, seminary study sessions, who can take a different number in a cycle of meetings and examine e.g. the key ideas, or key people who represent those specific traditions. In this way it can advance interfaith understanding and harmony. It can also form the basis of classes and research seminars between scientists and religious thinkers, who wish to advance understanding across this critical divide between those who pursue a scientific approach to reality and those who pursue a mystical approach. It can also be used in philosophy departments by teachers and students who wish to engage with the specific details of philosophical thought and intellectual lineages in a comprehensive and informed way. It can also be utilised by theologians who wish to acquaint themselves broadly across the spectrum of theological discourse and analysis and who wish to advance theological dialogue for peace beyond specific dogmatic and apologetic monologues. It can be used by thinkers broadly across the planet, in whatever spectrum of belief or ideology they occupy , to advance their own thinking in relation to others, and primarily as a learning tool to enable individuals to rise above the petty dogmatic squabbling and intellectual myopia which comprises much of what passes for educational discourse in the contemporary world. Anyone who wishes to transcend the limitations of their birth, culture, class, station, belief system, faith path – and who wishes to step out on the broad adventure of intellectual expansion – this table is for them…


In the Table itself, there are various colour keys to delineate the actual faith groups and traditions, as follows:

Green – Primal religions

Red – Buddhism

Light Blue – Christianity

Yellow – Hinduism

Mid green – Islam

Brown – Humanism

Light yellow – Philosophy

Grey – New religious movements

Pink – Chinese faiths

Yellow brown – Sikhism

Peach – Hebrew faiths

Dark green – Shintoism

White – Jainism

Light purple – Persian faiths

Cream – Esoteric traditions


1 Primal Shamanism
2 Primal – generic pagans
3 Primal –African
4 Primal – Egyptian
5 Primal – Bantu
6 Primal – Ashanti and Yoruba
7 Primal – Korean Shamanism, Muism, Cheondogyo
8 Primal – American Indian
9 Caucases – Paganism
10 Primal – Romany
11 Primal – Basque
12 Primal – Finno Ugric-Magyar-Siberian
13 Primal – Greek
14 Primal – Roman
15 Primal –Aboriginal
16 Primal –Maori
17 Primal – Slavic
18 Primal – Kahuna
19 Primal – Bon
20 Primal –Phoenician and Canaanite
21 Primal Babylonian and Assyrian
22 Primal – Norse / Germanic
23 Primal – Witchcraft, Wicca, Dewinaeth
24 Buddhism – Theravadin
25 Buddhism Mahayana
26 Tantra Vajrayanaa
27 Buddhism – Zen
28 Neo-Buddhism (Meta-Mahayana)
29 Primal – Druidry
30 Primal   Sumerian
31 Primal   Etruscan
32 Primal – Yezidis
33 Christian Orthodox
34 Christian – Mandaeans
35 Primal – Central Asian, Siberian, Turkic and Mongolian
36 Chinese – Taoism: Tao-Chia (Philosophical)
37 Chinese – Taoism (Tao-Chiao) Religious
38 Chinese – Confucianism
39 Chinese – Legalism
40 Chinese – Neo-Confucianism
41 Chinese – Mohism
42 Judaism – Samaritans, and Karaites
43 Christian – Roman Catholic
44 Christian – Anglican
45 Christian – Evangelical
46 Christian – Quaker
47 Christian – Unitarian


48 Christian – Methodist
49 Christian – Gnostic
50 Christian – Rosicrucian
51 Christian – Lutheran
52 Christian – Coptic and Ethiopian
53 Christian – Ecumenical
54 Christian – Philosophic
55 Christian – Humanist
56 Christian – Protestant
57 Christian – Baptists, Mennonites,Anabaptists
58 Christian – Presbyterian
59 Philosophy –Pre-Socratics
60 Judaism – Orthodox,

Modern Orthodoxy,

Religious Zionism

61 Hinduism, Sanatan Dharma,


62 Hinduism – Yoga
63 Hinduism – Brahma, Vedanta
64 Hinduism – Vishnu
65 Hinduism – Shiva
66 Hinduism – Tantric
67 Hinduism – Gandhian
68 Humanism – Atheism
69 Humanism – Classical
70 Humanism Renaissance and Early Modern
71 Humanism – Evolutionism
72 Humanism – Marxism

and Dialectical materialism

73 Humanism – Psychological theorists
74 Humanism – Modern
75 Humanism Skepticism
76 Humanism – Agnosticism
77 Philosophy – Socratic
78 Judaism – Reformed,

Reconstructionist, Conservative

79 Hinduism – Modern
80 Islam – Sunnism
81 Islam – Shiiism
82 Islam – Ismaeli
83 Islam – Sufism
84 Islam – Philosophical
85 Islam – Druze
86 Islam – Wahhabism
87 Islam – Gnostic
88 Jainism Digambara
89 Jainism Svetambara
90 Shintoism- Philosophical
91 Shintoism – Religious
92 NRM – Guirdjieff and Ouspensky
93 NRM – Rajneesh
94 NRM – Reiki
95 Philosophy – Platonism
96 Hebraism – Kabbalah, Essene, Philosophical and Secular Judaism
97 NRM – Spiritualism
98 NRM – Scientology
99 NRM – Japanese, Chinese and East Asian
100 NRM – New Thought
101 NRM –   Bahaism
102 NRM – Santo Daime
103 NRM – Santeria (Lucumi) and Candomblé
104 NRM – Voodoo, Voudun
105 NRM – Cosmism and Ufology
106 NRM – Satanism
107 NRM – Thelema
108 NRM – Radhasoami (Sant Mat), Eck and Neo- Sikh
109 NRM – Eclectic Goddess worship, hippies and neo-pagan
110 NRM – New Age
111 Sikhism – Religious
112 Sikhism – Philosophical
113 Philosophy – Aristotelianism
114 Philosophy – Pythagoreanism
115 Sikhism – Namdhari
116 Esoteric – Freemasonry – Grand Orient, Carbonari
117 Esoteric – Freemasonry – Deist
118 Esoteric – Freemasonry – Co-Masonry and women
119 NRM – Miscellan.
120 Mithraism, Mazaznan,

Ilm-e Khshnoom

121 Manichaenism
122 Zoroastrianism
123 Esoteric -Theosophy
124 Esoteric – Alchemy
125 Esoteric – Alice Bailey and neo-Theosophy, Astrology, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Tarot, Hermeticism,
126 Esoteric – Transpersonal
127 Esoteric – Anthroposophy
128 Philosophy – Miscellaneous
129 Philosophy – Comparative, global, interfaith and unified metatheories
130 Philosophy – Deism and Theism
131 Philosophy – Idealism and Process Philosophy
132 Philosophy – Kantianism
133 Christian – Mormon church
134 Christian – Jehovah’s Witnesses
135 Christian – Rastafarianism
136 Christian – Unification Church
137 Christian – Mystical, Esoteric and Kabbalistic
138 Christian – liberation


139 Christian – Shamanic,

and miscel.

140 Christian – Contemplative and Teaching Orders
141 Christians – Pacifists
142 Philosophy – Phenomenology, Hermeneutic and Post- modernism
143 Philosophy – Hegelianism
144 Philosophy – Aestheticism
145 Philosophy – Personalism and spiritualisme
146 Philosophy – Pragmatism
147 Philosophy – Logicism, Analytical, Linguistic,

Logical realism & positivism

148 Philosophy – Feminism / Masculinism
149 Philosophy – Existentialism
150 Philosophy –Eco-philosophy
151 Philosophy –Epicureanism
152 Philosophy –Stoicism
153 Philosophy –Secularism
154 Philosophy –Materialism
155 Philosophy, physics, electronics, computers and information theory
156 Philosophy, chemistry, biochemistry
157 Philosophy, general systems theory, philosophy of science
158 Philosophy and mathematical theory
159 Philosophy, biology, medicine, healing and natural philosophy, healthism and sportism
160 Philosophy and cosmology
161 Philosophy – romanticism
162 Philosophy and social sciences
163 Philosophy and economics
164 Philosophy, anthropology, archaeology
165 Philosophy, and political theory and practice
166 Philosophy and peace theory and philosophy of law
167 Philosophy, education, academia and scholarship
168 Philosophy and humanities (history, geography, religious studies, literature)


The time codes are listed along the bottom of the Table, and listed in each box, by letter, A-Z, which should be read as follows: each letter moving from Z to Z, right to left, refers to events which took place between it and the previous letter – so the letter Z refers to events which took place between 200,000 BC and 100,000 BC; the letter O for example refers to events which took place between 1500 BC and 2150 BC; the letter C relates to events between 1500 AD and 1750 AD. In each box of the Table the appropriate letter code therefore gives data on when, approximately, this tradition was founded. Platonism, for example, is listed as the letter K, meaning it was founded sometime between 500 BC and 250 BC.

The two large numbers listed in each box relate to the number, first, of current practitioners, and secondly, to the estimated number of practitioners in the whole of history. This latter number could be regarded, also to speak, as the equivalent to the Atomic Weight of the Table, and it could also be possible at a later date to rearrange the table according to their atomic weights, or overall population figure, at least for one version of the Table. However, these gross figures are inevitably estimates, and could in all likelihood never be rendered completely accurate. The science of estimating the past populations of previous generations of those living on planet earth, at any time, and in any geographical region, is not an exact science, and is not likely to yield exact figures any time soon. Historical demography however may well lead to a closer refinement and increased accuracy of these numbers, and any demographers and historians who wish to give suggestions for either increasing or diminishing the overall population figures in these boxes, are welcome to submit their evidence and arguments, which will be carefully considered. The current figures are not therefore fixed in stone, and can be regarded as provisional, pending further scientific work. One simple question here – how many ancestors do each of us on planet earth have, who have ever lived ? If we estimate that each generation occurs every 25 years – how many actual parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc. would each of us have, who are alive now on planet earth ? As yet, no mathematician I have been able to speak to has been able to answer that question. Let us assume we date our ancestral line back to 100,000 BC; and the number of ancestors doubles each 25 years, the figures become astronomical very rapidly, beyond anything that earth could have sustained. This means that many of our ancestors must have intermarried across genealogical lines. But what mathematical laws govern such ratios ? And how can we arrive at an actual estimated figure of the number of actual ancestors we each have ? The answer to this simple question is also related to the over accuracy of the figures in the boxes, especially the later one.

The Periodic Number itself in each box is simply the ranked order in the Table in which each tradition is listed.


This question I owe to a 14 year old girl in England, when I was teaching a class in religious studies and basing it on the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions, to whom therefore many thanks. The question wouldn’t have occurred to me. It has been my life’s worth to eat, breathe and sleep this research over some 30 years of intensive study. I can totally relate to the story told of Ibn Sina as a young man, that he used to read Aristotle even when riding his horse ! But for the average person, perhaps comfortably off, in a secure home, with the normal distractions of youth around one, one might well ask – well so what ? Why does it matter ? By way of answering, let me here enumerating not why but rather for whom, it might matter:

The Table might matter for

  1. anyone who has ever wondered how and why the universe comes to be here, and we, ourselves, as conscious beings, find ourselves here, in its midst, wondering…
  2. anyone who has ever wondered why and how there are so many different religions and where they all come from and what they teach ?
  3. anyone who has ever wondered if the different religions can be reconciled and harmonised ?
  4. anyone who cares about why the planet and mankind are suffering a slow death from religious wars and violence and whether we can do something about it…
  5. anyone who has ever loved someone from another culture or religion, and who has a spark of spirituality about them, and they wish to know more about its origin and meaning
  6. anyone who cares about children and how they lose their original innocence and beauty and become sometimes dark, lonely, violent and rude, and lost souls… where that lost innocence goes to and how it can be recovered ?
  7. anyone who cares about education, whether teacher or pupil or student or professor, and how we can improve the comprehensiveness and quality of our religious and philosophical education particularly
  8. anyone who likes thinking and appreciates ideas, and the play of discussion late at night about the “meaning of life” and enjoys the questions more than the putative conclusions..
  9. anyone who laments that in many countries the educational curricula is not more philosophical, and that too often asking why and how questions is often ruled out of order, and instead curricular concentrate on presentation, image, technique, skills… form rather than substance… quantity rather than quality…
  10. anyone who has any curiosity whatever about who we are and where we come from and where we are going, as Gaugin phrased these immortal questions….
  11. Anyone who has ever been curious about why different cultures, different nations, each have different sorts of answers to the big questions about life and its purpose and meaning, and why and how this situation has arisen, and whether it’s a good or a bad thing…
  12. Anyone who has wondered how we can celebrate and affirm diversity rather than see it as a threat or something to be afraid of,
  13. Anyone who has wondered how we as a global community can both simultaneously affirm the great faiths of mankind, the so called revealed religions, yet at the same time affirm the primal, indigenous, pre-literate spiritual paths of humanity, that date from the most ancient times of human evolution.
  14. Anyone who cares about peace, happiness, love, wisdom, beauty, meaning, justice, science, truth
  15. Anyone who cares about violence and war and how we can stop it, and divert all the billions and trillions of pounds spent currently by armies around the world and defence and security and intelligence agencies.. into spending for human needs, food, shelter, and sharing the basic resources of this beautiful planet in a wise and loving way with each other…
  16. In short, anyone who cares….


This is a question which has long bedevilled the religious and philosophical imagination of mankind. Many traditions, both esoteric and exoteric in fact, insist on exclusivity in membership. If you convert to a given religion, you are thereby prevented, sometimes by law, from belonging to another religion or faith path. Likewise, some so called esoteric schools are exclusivists, in that if you join that particular group, you are thereby prevented from belonging to another group. The same is true even with some non-religious thought movements, such as Marxism –some more dogmatic forms of Marxism used to demand of their followers a kind of oath of loyalty to the Party, or the Cell, or the Great Leader. All of this exclusivity used to be a matter literally of life and death, and the numerous heresy trials of past centuries, and present times in some parts of the world, would try to put a stop to any kind of plurality of views. Yet how authentic and wholesome is such a view when contrasted and compared with the breadth of vision of the great masters and spiritual teachers of mankind ? The inclusive love of Jesus Christ, for example who specifically directed many of his parables, such as the good Samaritan, against any kind of narrow or dogmatic interpretation of Jewish laws, is a million miles away from such persecutions and punishments. Likewise the breadth of vision of the early Islamic community, as it welcomed the fellowship of Jews and Christians and Sabaeans alike, recognising and honouring them as fellow people of the book, is similarly aeons away from narrow minded sectarianism that preaches fire and brimstone against those with more liberal and broad minded views. The actual objective fact of human existence, as long ago pointed out by Buddha, is that we experience consciousness as a kind of flow phenomenon, as a kind of fluid and oscillating wave-like process of moving and journeying. If we live a reasonable length of time, the chances are that nowadays, in the modern world, we will live in several different locations, countries, neighbourhoods, and among all kinds of different people. We will be exposed to numerous books and writings of sacred and philosophical and scientific ideas, and will see innumerable films, documentaries and television broadcasts about all manner of different ideas and religious systems and teachings,. All this was unthinkable a few centuries ago, and is really a product of modern globalisation and technological developments, first with the railway, and the sailing ship, now with the aeroplane and the internet and optic cables. It is in this era of the globalisation of ideas therefore that the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions has come about. It would have been an incredible project for an earlier generation. Someone in the 18th century could have conceived the idea certainly, as did for example, Antoine Court de Gebelin, with his magnum opus, Le Monde primitif, analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne, but in those days they simply didn’t have the data available now, regarding the full complexity and fecundity of the religious and philosophical and scientific heritage of mankind, that is now, in the 21st century, available to scholars in this time period. There is much talk of postmodernism nowadays, but in fact such talk often misses the main point – it is not so much that there is no possibility of a single narrative that can sum up and encompass the full integrity of the complexity of the history of humanity, but rather that it is precisely the plurality that is the unity; it is the diversity that is the underlying unifying narrative. The three way struggle between modernity (secularism and pluralism) and pre-modernity (evangelising monotheisms) and post modernity (secularising relativist pluralism) needs to be seen rather as part of the inevitable spiral of discourse as human generations move from simpler life-patterns to patterns of ever increasing complexity and diversity. Yet how, in spite of that, can we retain and affirm the primal ethical simplicity and unity of goodness in both knowledge and action ? Can we achieve intellectual sophistication and yet at the same time the purity of the primitive heart and soul wedded to goodness and the divine unity ? For a modern spiritual seeker in New York, or Toronto or London, or Tel Aviv, or New Delhi, or Cairo, or Beijing, it is inevitable that one will have come across innumerable spiritual teachings and wisdom traditions, by the time one reaches a certain maturity of years. No doubt one will feel an identification with the better aspects of many of them. One might even go so far as to explore them existentially and accompany their practitioners on pilgrimages, journeys, adventures, retreats etc. For all those who have adventure in their souls, and a longing to understand the world in its entirety, and who do not wish to put a cap on their imbibing of truth, but rather want the real thing, the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions is designed as a research and education tool for them, as a map, so to speak, to enable them to think about the wider context of one’s own beliefs and to see how we humans can all fit together with greater creativity and peacefulness than has hitherto been the case. Speaking personally for a minute, as author of the Table, I can affirm that having visited some 35 countries worldwide, and having met people from all different faiths, and from all cultures and religious backgrounds, and having taught people from innumerable diverse backgrounds, I have come to believe that there is wisdom and goodness in all of us, whatever our colour, ethnicity, language, religions or belief systems – at the end of the day we are all human beings, part divine, part terrestrial creatures, according to all accounts… The Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions is therefore offered as a gift of love and devotion to the beautiful diversity of the rainbow family of humanity, and to all my scattered friends and students worldwide, whom it has been my infinite privilege to touch in this lifetime and perhaps even in previous lifetimes, if reports of past life regressions are to be believed.

Anyone wishing to see the table on line, can access it here: where (for a small online registration fee of three pounds) you can gain instant access to all the information contained in the Table, which for each of the 168 traditions on the planet, lists a number of key data for each one, including their founders, their languages, their important texts, sacred places, values and virtues etc. in addition, one can purchase an actual printed copy of the table from our one line store at

You can also watch a short video about the Periodic Table here:

A book has been written about the table called THE PERIODIC TABLE OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL TRADITIONS which can be purchased here, either in ebook format or a printed book, and mailed to your address:

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