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A seemingly simple design, the Unalome is complex and layered in its symbolism and meaning. While this symbol is becoming extremely popular as a tattoo or for use in jewelry, many people don’t know what it really means or where it comes from.
It’s always a good idea to have a deeper understanding of a symbol, especially if you’re planning to use it. Let’s take a closer look at the symbolism and meaning of Unalome symbol.
What Is the Unalome?
The Unalome is a Buddhist symbol, featuring a single line that spirals, twirls and ends in a straight line. Although simple in appearance, the Unalome holds within it the entire philosophy of human existence.
In Buddhism, the Unalome represents the path we take in life; it’s a representation of our journey – the story of our lives. The path can be winding or convoluted, but it eventually ends in a straight path, symbolizing mental freedom and enlightenment. Often, the image of a lotus is placed at the very top of the Unalome, which adds the symbolism of the lotus to the image.
Unalome as a Symbol of Enlightenment
Let’s dissect this image even further to see what each part of the Unalome represents.
1. The Base
The bottom of the Unalome symbolizes the starting point in your life. It represents the day you were born. Another interpretation sees the base of the Unalome as the beginning of your spiritual awakening in which you have the first stirrings of conscious awareness.
2. The Lines
The lines that make up the majority of the image indicate the path that your life takes as you reach Enlightenment. Life is never a straight line. It is full of twists and turns, lessons that we have to learn and the struggles that we face. Sometimes our life goes back upon itself because we have to retrace our steps so that we can become wiser.
As we gain greater awareness, our consciousness expands, and the loops that make up the Unalome lines become tighter toward the top of the image. This tightness in the loops is a symbol of one becoming more centered and aligned with the divine and one’s journey towards enlightenment.
From a less spiritual point of view, the closing in of the lines indicates that one is becoming more mature, moving from the stage of an infant to adult. It symbolizes progress through the twists and turns of life and how we learn to grow and react appropriately.
3. The Dots
When you look at an image of the Unalome, you will see dots at the top of the design. These symbolize enlightenment. The line just below the dots becomes straight, which indicates one reaching enlightenment and your end goal. It is a representation of one attaining liberation from the cycle of life and death. You have reached nirvana. Finally, you are free.
Unalome Paired with Lotus
Sometimes you may find an image of the Unalome that includes a lotus flower in the design. The Lotus is typically placed at the top of the straightened line. The lotus is a highly significant symbol in many Eastern religions and philosophies.
The Lotus grows deep in mud, hidden from the sun. Yet it pushes its way upward towards the light and blooms into a beautiful flower. Because of this inherent trait of the lotus to find light despite the odds it faces, it used by Eastern religions as a symbol of enlightenment.
As we have seen, the lines within the Unalome symbolize our struggles in life as we push through the mud and muck so that we can finally be free to bloom and be the beautiful creation we are meant to be. We push onward towards enlightenment and liberation from all that which has kept us from the light. The lotus in the Unalome is a symbol of freedom and enlightenment.
Other Meanings of the Unalome
Though primarily used as a symbol of enlightenment, the Unalome can also represent female and male energies depending on which way the spirals of the image are facing.
If the spirals are facing left the Unalome is an indicator of feminine energy. A Unalome that has its spirals facing right indicates male energy.
Use in Jewelry and Tattoos
Unalome is a meaningful symbol in jewelry and is beautiful in dangling earrings and elegant pendants. While it’s typically designed in bohemian fashion, using silver or copper, the symbol can also be crafted out of fine materials to enhance its beauty and value.
As a gift, the Unalome is an ideal symbol for:
- Someone going through difficult times in their life’s journey as a reminder that everyone’s path is different but with effort and intention, we can all reach enlightenment or a desired goal.
- A traveler about to embark on a journey as a symbol of journeying towards one’s goals and aims.
- A graduate to remind them of their individual path and to keep moving forward towards their goals. It’s also a reminder that sometimes your path can appear convoluted and you may need to back up, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s your individual journey.
- As an anniversary gift to commemorate your journey together as a couple and the hope of reaching your goals together.
Unalome tattoos have become highly popular, especially among spiritual groups. Because the symbol’s meaning goes beyond religious beliefs, it has universal relatability. However, because the Unalome is a sacred image, having it marked frivolously on your body can be seen as disrespectful. To err on the side of caution, make sure you understand what the symbol means, and you respect the message behind it.
The Unalome is becoming a popular tattoo for many and has a deep message. As we journey through life, we go through struggles, twist and turns that will challenge us. Yet as we learn from these trying times and allow our consciousness to expand, we will begin to see the light and reach our ultimate goals.
If you have more questions about the unalome, check out our FAQs article that covers the most frequently asked questions about this symbol.