The unalome is one of the most popular symbols to have emerged from eastern philosophies. It’s also one of the most profound in meaning, as well as beautiful in design, making it infinitely popular around the world. But there are still many aspects of the unalome that remains somewhat mysterious.
In this article, we answer 13 of the most commonly asked questions about the unalome.
The unalome embodies one of the most important aspects of Buddhist philosophy – the path we take towards enlightenment.
The spiral base represents the beginning of our journey, the twisted lines represent the convoluted path that we walk on, the straightening lines at the top represent our gradual awakening and awareness, while the dot or final point of the symbol represent enlightenment.
While its primarily a Buddhist symbol, the unalome has universal themes of journeying in life.
The female unalome is represented by a left facing spiral, which represents feminine energies. In Buddhist beliefs, this design of the unalome was for women and was considered to be more auspicious for them.
Yes, there is also a male unalome. This is represented by a right facing spiral at the base of the unalome design. It’s essentially the opposite of the female design.
The word unalome is pronounced una-lome (rhymes with dome). It comes from ancient Sanskrit and means the urna curl between the eyebrows of the Buddha. This is also why the symbol is called the Buddha Eye or the Third Eye of the Buddha.
However, unalome is still not considered to be an English word and you won’t find definitions for it in the dictionary.
Yes, unalome is a Buddhist symbol but it also has strong ties to Hinduism. In Hinduism, it represents the third eye of Lord Shiva. The unalome is attributed to Sak Yant, a Thai sacred art form.
The lotus has great significance in Buddhism, and when paired with the unalome, it emphasizes and elevates the symbolism of the unalome. The lotus represents enlightenment and liberation from the eternal struggles of life. When paired with the unalome, it highlights the state of reaching enlightenment and mental purity.
Typically, unalome designs feature three dots, representing enlightenment. However, some designs only have one dot, while others have none.
There is no upside down unalome symbol – it’s just a stylistic choice if you choose to turn the symbol on its head. Some may feel that an upside down unalome represents the opposite of the regular unalome, but that’s open to interpretation. After all, the meaning of a symbol is what we choose to give to it.
Having said that, an unalome with a left or right facing spiral has different meanings – left represents female energy, and right represents male energy.
As with any cultural symbol, it’s a good idea to understand the meaning of the symbol prior to getting one as a tattoo. For example, if you place the unalome upside down or if you have it tattooed simply because it looks good, it can come across as disrespectful or inconsiderate. By knowing what the symbol means, you can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of it.
Some believe that if you wear the unalome without any understanding of its background, it’s cultural appropriation, while others even go so far as to call it racism. Again, it comes back to appreciation the meaning of the symbol and gaining an understanding of it.
After all, symbols are universal. You don’t have to be Buddhist to feel an affinity to the unalome symbol. What matters is that the symbol speaks to you, and you can relate to its meaning. This brings about respect for the symbol and wearing a symbol with respect isn’t cultural appropriation.
There is no right or wrong location for an unalome tattoo. Many women choose to have unalome tattoos on their lower back, between the breasts, between the shoulders on the back, on the side of the body, or the arms. For small unalome tattoos, the hands, fingers, ankle, and foot also make for good locations.
The beauty of the unalome is that it has endless design options, making it an excellent outlet for artistic expression. You can take the basic design of the unalome and stylize it into numerous ways, as well as pairing it with other popular symbols, such as the lotus flower, the om, the crescent moon, and more.
Unalome tattoos are one of the most popular designs, especially among women. Their powerful meaning and beautiful design make them a great choice for tattoos, as well as other art forms.