I love symbols that have meanings behind them, more importantly meanings that I can relate to.
After getting a tattoo of a symbol which really represented something to me, it inspired me to share my favorites, their meanings and why I love them so much. If you know me you’ll know that much to my boyfriends disapproval I have taken over pretty much every room in the house decorating it with meaningful symbols, Buddha heads and dream-catchers galore! On the plus side – he can’t complain that it doesn’t feel relaxing and peaceful. I call it the Zen Den.
Quite a few of my favorite symbols happen to come from Buddhism. Buddhism is seen as a religion to some people, but to others it is mainly seen as a philosophy or a way of life. A lot of these symbols could be seen as spiritual symbols, but there are many different meanings to the word spiritual – you can be spiritual without being religious and that is how I see myself. This is why people like myself call our yoga practice ‘a journey’, it is a deeply personal journey which allows us to learn and grow spiritually, but not religiously.
Take a look at my favorite symbols below, and you never know you may find one with a meaning that you can relate to.
The lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol. It symbolizes the rising of from a dark place into beauty and rebirth, it also symbolizes purity as the lotus flower grows directly out of muddy water and blossoms with beautiful white and pink petals.
From seeing such a beautiful flower most people would never expect it to have such a dark and difficult journey whilst growing. Many people can relate to the lotus flower because they may feel that they have also grown from muddy water but still managed to blossom into something beautiful.
I love the lotus flower because it is an example of such natural beauty and purity. It is also said that its unfolding petals symbolise the expansion of the soul, if you are on any kind of personal journey then you may feel a similar way about yourself.
Mandalas have developed many times over the years. In Buddhism they were used as an aid in meditation. They were also created by Monks with sand, this took days to make and was then dismantled when it was finished and the sand was deposited in the nearest river so that it traveled out into the ocean. The meaning of this ritual was to show that nothing is permanent, and everything is temporary.
There is no right or wrong when creating a mandala, there is also no right or wrong in the meaning of the mandala as it is unique to the creator. Some people create a mandala to symbolize Universe, others to represent the ‘whole self’.
Above are two pictures. The first one on the left is a traditional sand mandala being carefully created by the Monks whilst the other Monks are chanting mantras and filling the space with positive energies.
The second picture is what we would see as a modern-day mandala. These are usually created inside a shape which can represent almost anything the creator wants it to. If it is inside a circle it may be the sun or moon, many mandalas are created inside a flower shape, or a lotus flower. The possibilities are endless and each and every one is unique and beautiful in their own way. That is what I love the most about them.
The Hamsa (also known as the Hand of Fatima) is a hand shaped amulet which is very popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It is most common in the Jewish and Muslim communities.
The Hamsa is best known for its power of protection and is meant to bring its owner happiness, luck, health and good fortune. It is also meant to protect the owner from the evil eye, this is stare that is given to inflict bad luck, pain and suffering to the receiving person.
The Hamsa symbol is usually worn as jewelry or hung in a hallway or doorway of the house. I am personally a sucker for a Hamsa and absolutely love them, I first brought one when I went to Morocco and visited the Souks.. I now have a small collection of them decorating the house and one on a necklace chain which I never remove and has been stuck on me since the day my sister brought it for me.
There are also some beautiful designs nowadays using the Hamsa as the outer shape and different designs within. One of my favorite is a Hamsa with a mandala style pattern inside, which I guess is purely because I love the style of both.
When I say an arrow, I mean like a bow & arrow. The arrow is traditionally considered as a native American symbol. Besides from an arrow being a weapon, as a tattoo it has many different meanings depending on the design/style of the arrow. The meaning also used to vary from tribe to tribe, so it is definitely one of those symbols where only the holder knows their true meaning behind it.
As my first tattoo I chose to have a solitary arrow, with a simple design. The native American meaning of this symbol is defense and protection from harm, or direction and movement. For me, I would its meaning is more along the lines of direction and movement. Mine is a symbol to remind me how far I have come and, how I turned my life around in a positive direction. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be where I was now, doing the things I’m doing…I would never ever believe it.
The day I saw the picture shown above, was the day I fell in love with the arrow and the meaning behind it, as it represents exactly what I have been through and a constant reminder to keep moving forward.
Do you have a favorite symbol that means something to you? I’d love to hear your comments below!
Love, Dans x