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  • Mandira Antar

Tattoo symbols - Lotus

Updated: Oct 23

Ancient, mystical, religious symbol in cultures worldwide, the lotus is a spirituality vessel as well as a wonderful tattoo design. Some say it is a female choice for a tattoo, but this is not true. People who understand the energy that this flower brings, might choose it for a tattoo on their body, mindless their gender.



Lotus Myths


Egypt

In Egyptian mythology the lotus was reffered as the water lilly and named "Sesen".


Nefertem(son of Ptah) was the god of healing, medicine & beauty. We can often see him in ancient art with a large lotus blossom forming his crown, or as a child placed on a lotus flower.

Lotus is also the Upper Egypt (southern) symbol and symbol of regeneration and the rising sun.


The Egyptian Book of the Dead refers that a dead person can be transformed into a lotus with the help of magic spells. In this case again the lotus flower stands for resurrection and rebirth.





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China / Taoism

The lotus flower in the East contains both yin and yang, the balance of the feminine-masculine energies.

Along with the yin/yang symbol it is one of the basic symbols of Taoism.

Taoism is all about the qualities of balance and acceptance, Tao is the ultimate flowering of the lotus, the acceptance that all that exists in life is whole, natural and undivided.

Night and day, good and bad... life blossoms when we accept and honour the balance between the opposites inside and out of us.


The lotus embodies the elements of water and air, spirit & matter. All these elements are needed as part of creation.


Tibet / India / Buddhism

In Buddhism the lotus symbol is so significant that it's one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, it appears as both solar and lunar and is associated with many Gods and Goddesses. The lotus symbolizes the human Spiritual potential of transformation to the True (Divine) Self.



  • The lotus flower forms the principles of the Eightfold Path, one of the highest teachings of Lord Buddha.

  • The lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam because of its cultural significance, symbolism, and popularity.

  • The lotus flower represents also the energy centers of our body, known as chakras, and is associated with beauty, prosperity, knowledge, fertility, and above all, eternity and spirituality

"Like the lotus which attaches itself to neither the water nor the mud, the wise man attaches himself neither to sensual pleasures nor to the world.” Suttanipatta

The lotus colour

The color of the lotus changes it's symbolism as follows:

  • White: Mental and spiritual purity

  • Red: The heart, compassion and love

  • Blue: Wisdom and control of the senses

  • Pink: The historical Buddha

  • Purple: Mysticism




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Lotus and Chakras


“Chakra” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning "wheel."

The chakra energy system has seven basic energy centres, or energy wheels on the human body. Each of them is represented as a lotus flower with different number of petals and is also associated with the energy of an animal, a color, a shape, as well as a natural element.


Basic Chakra System Illustration by Mandira Antar

I always feel that the petals of the flower represent an opening. Symbolically speaking the number of petals represent the "doors" of energy.


The first chakra (root chakra) named Muladhara (Mula means Root) is associated with basic trust and rooting. It's red lotus has 4 (four) petals.


The second chakra is the sacral chakra, named Swadhisthana, it is the centre of sexuality, creativity, and emotions. It's orange lotus has 6(six) petals.


The third chakra is the Solar Plexus chakra, named Manipura (Mani means jewel), it is the centre of our will, our power. It's yellow lotus has 10 (ten) petals.


The fourth basic chakra is the Heart chakra, named Anahata, it is the centre of our compassion, love and connection to others. It's green lotus has 12 (twelve) petals.


The firth chakra is the Throat chakts, named Vishuddha (purification), it is the centre of our creativity and true expression. It's blue lotus has 16 (sixteen) petals.


The sixth chakra is the Third eye chakra, named Ajna (command), it is the centre of our understanding and wisdom. It's indigo lotus has 2 (two) petals.


Finally, the seventh chakra is the Crown chakra, named Sahasrara (infinite), it is the centre of our consciousness, our connection to the universe. It's violet/white lotus has 1000 petals.



Lotus Symbolism Card

 



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Lotus tattoo


There is literally no place on the body where you cannot place a lotus. The lotus will"open", "heal" and "nourish" any corner of your energy and physical body. You can decide what color, shape and with which other elements you want to combine the lotus. The lotus is one of the most popular custom design elements!

The om symbol

We are seeing lotus tattoos in realism or mandala style, usually combined with the symbol Om.


A popular combination nowadays of the lotus is also with the unalome symbol which represents the path to enlightenment.



I often see the lotus tattooed in upper back areas, especially the neck which is the centre of our connection to the divine.


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The following custom design was created in order to represent the parental love and protection. The bamboo is a symbol of emptiness and enlightment in the East, but we will discuss it in following articles.