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  • Writer's pictureMandira Antar

Tattoo symbols / The unalome

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

One of the most famous tattoo designs for Buddhist symbols lovers, the unalome or unaalome looks simple but carries a much deeper meaning.

A plain explanation is that the unalome symbolises the path to enlightenment that every soul has to fulfil. It is an iconography of the trauma and anguish from which we have to pass, the challenges we have to encounter.




Unalome Origin

In Hindu mythology this symbol is considered to represent Shiva's third eye.

In both Thai and Cambodian traditions the unalome is an element of Sak-Yant tattoos.

Sak-Yant tattoos are traditional tattoos with magical and mystical meanings, blessings, that are inked with the traditional needle (with a bamboo in the old days) into the skin of a disciple from a trained Master. It is used as an affirmation, protection, path or personal goal of the wearer. Sak – meaning “to tap”, and Yant – “Yantra”. Originally derived from the Sanskrit word “Yantra

In some sources the symbol stands for the crown of the Arahants (Enlightened Saints/Buddhas), the spiral is the 3rd eye, and the straight line pointing upwards, represents the path to Enlightment without any wavering.



All of us need to change direction many times, lose our way until we finally meet with our highest potential. It is true that everything with great value has a price...

The reality is that our shadows will work against us until we find a way to integrate that which is, with acceptance and compassion. We need to be aware of our current limited perspective and respect our rhythm. We need to cultivate resilience and be in touch with our trust.

The unalome combines all the aforementioned qualities. When you carefully observe the unalome, you can almost imagine yourself losing and finding your way again and again. Struggling through it's curves and turns, ups and downs, you might think that you are not progressing, that nothing changes. But, keep in mind, that there is a higher wisdom that keeps teaching us, through all our choices and encounters, as long as we are committed to learn and expand.

Choose the unalome as a gift to yourself, as a reminder that you are on your way, and no matter which practice or therapy you have chosen, trust in life's journey and yourself to offer you whatever is needed for your growth.



Unalome placement

We find the unalome in many placements, usually in the upper back and arm / forearm positions.

We often see it in combination with the lotus flower which symbolizes our awakening and transformation / potential. Read more about the lotus on my upcoming article.

In my opinion the moon makes a wonderful combination with the unalome as well, because the moon energy is about femininity, acceptance, mystical energy and awareness.

People who choose it, usually search for a symbol to assist them in finding their true self. It is a primordial need in human beings to know and encounter our inner truth. If you feel that thirst and you are on your path, the unalome is an ideal tattoo for you!

Place it in a position that will be available for you to see everyday especially near your heart or neck, because that is where our soul's expression becomes reality.

Do not forget though that the unalome should be placed with the dots up, so that the energy goes up. If placed in hands this is tricky, cause when we raise our hands the direction is changing, and in addition when you look the design it should be straight, so... choose the placement wisely.


You could try designing your personal unalome and get that one inked, every person is unique and so is every path



Never forget that every tattoo and symbol takes its meaning from the one who wears it on his body!

Check out my tattoo page and message me for a custom design that we co-create with love and enthusiasm! Like my facebook page to stay in touch! About Mandira Antar