13 Questions About the Unalome – Answered

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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.

1. What’s the meaning of an 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.

2. Is there a female unalome?

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.

3. What about the male unalome?

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.

4. How do you pronounce unalome?

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. 

5. Is unalome Buddhist?

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.

6. Why is unalome paired with lotus?

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.

7. What do the three dots represent?

Typically, unalome designs feature three dots, representing enlightenment. However, some designs only have one dot, while others have none.

8. Does upside down unalome have a meaning?

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.

9. Are unalome tattoos disrespectful?

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.

10. Is it cultural appropriation to wear an unalome tattoo?

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.

11. Where should an unalome tattoo be?

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.

12. Can you create your own unalome design?

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.

13. Are unalome tattoos popular?

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.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.

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