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Chakra Art: Symbols, History & Meaning

Chakra art can be used for yoga, meditation and visualization. The beautiful chakra symbols serve as depictions of the the unseen forces that govern the energy and strength of the seven major chakras. Chakra art is a symbolic reminder of the power that enlivens the human body and spirit.

CHAKRA ART ARTICLE CONTENTS

This article includes the meaning and symbolism of chakra art, the shapes used in chakra art, the lotus symbol and the specific symbols for each of the seven major chakras.

For thousands of years, the science of the chakras has been taught by Eastern yogis. This knowledge has now made its way into the lexicon and consciousness of the West. Chakra art is an extremely useful tool for visualizing these energy centers and working with the central themes for each. The ancient symbols encode the psychological and emotional connections for the chakras.

The symbols associated with each chakra reveal keys to the meaning and flow of spiritual energy through the body, mind and spirit. Chakra symbols are composed of geometric forms as well as organic forms such as petals and flowers.

All life experiences are stored in one or more chakra. Clearing the chakras of negativity is a process that can be accomplished in many ways. Tools include meditation, affirmations, mantras, yoga, dietary practices and self-examination.

Gayatri Yantra Meaning

The Shapes Used in Chakra Art

The shapes in chakra art originate with the five symbols of Yagna from the Vedic tradition. Yagna is a ritual involving offerings, prayers and mantras, often involving sacred fire. The five symbols are the square, circle, triangle, half-moon and ingots (also known as dumplings). The ingots are rectangular with a slightly larger base. This shape is associated with wealth, gold and silver.

Many of the shapes used in chakra art are also used in the creation of other forms of sacred art such as yantras. Yantras are symbolic representations of deities or aspects of God’s consciousness. Learn more in the article on Yantra Meaning. The meaning of the following shapes are consistent across these forms of sacred art. 

Circle in Chakra Art: The circle symbolizes infinite space (the element akasha) and expansiveness. The circle also represents the cycles of nature at all levels from the atom to astronomy. The central quest of spirituality is to experience the Oneness of these realms.

Triangles in Chakra Art: The downward triangle is a depiction of the water element. An upward triangle represents the masculine energy and the element of fire. The triangle is the primary form that can enclose space within straight lines. This is the first form to emerge from chaos.

Square in Chakra Art: The square represents the four cardinal directions. A square symbolizes the foundation or base of the material world. The numeric equivalent of a square is four. The four sides may represent the four directions, the four winds or the Vedic element of earth.

Half-Moon in Chakra Art: The moon represents water energy and the emotions. The moon also symbolizes the unconscious mind and the hidden aspects of nature. The moon is generally a feminine symbol, often associated with goddesses.

Ingot or Dumpling in Chakra Art: The ingot of dumpling shape is connected to food, wealth, gold and abundance. This is a fortunate symbol originally connected to the offer of food or other valuable substances to fire in religious ceremonies.

Lotus Flower by Rose Karlsen

Chakra Art and the Lotus

The lotus symbolizes purity, enlightenment and transcendence. Lotus petals are part of every chakra representation. Depending on the chakra, there may be anything from two to fifty petals or the proverbial “thousand-petalled lotus” of the crown chakra. In chakra art the lotus is usually viewed from the top, with the petals extending out on the rim of a circle. 

The lotus illustrates the unfolding of the divine essence within. The lotus is like the navel of creation. The lotus is sometimes depicted as springing from the navel of Vishnu and giving birth to Brahma, two of the gods in the Hindu trinity.

The lotus is also a symbol of the heart, especially the inner or secret chamber of the heart. This is sometimes called Brahma’s cave or the city of Brahma in the East or the inner castle in the West. This is the core of being that remains untouched by everyday living.

The lotus petals depicted for a particular chakra correspond to sounds or letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. For example, the ten petals of the solar plexus chakra are associated with Sanskrit letters: dam, dham, nam, tam, tham, dam, dham, nam, pam, and pham. Each petal represents the overcoming of ten negative characteristics: ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness.

Learn more in the article Chakra Symbols.

Chakra Sounds

Seven Symbols of Chakra Art

In addition to their role in directing spiritual energy into the physical body, the chakras are also associated with emotional and psychological patterns. Some say that karma is stored in the chakras: the result of both good deeds and harmful actions. If a chakra has records of negative patterns, the energy may not flow freely. The chakras are often described as wheels. A balanced, cleared chakra would be like a wheel that spins easily. 

Root Chakra Art

The base chakra is depicted as a lotus flower with four petals. Each of the petals represent one of the mental states associated with this chakra. The four petals of the base chakra are generally viewed as mind, intellect, consciousness and ego.

Alternately, the petals can represent four forms of longing: dharma (psychological longing), artha (soul longing), kama (physical longing) and moksha (longing for spiritual liberation). These petals are also symbolic of four specific aspects of higher consciousness: great joy, natural pleasure, delight in controlling passion, and blissfulness in concentration. 

The Sanskrit symbol in the center is the character for LAM, the seed syllable for this chakra. This sound can activate and balance the root chakra. Learn more about Chakra Sounds. The square base represents stability. This chakra provides the foundation upon which the other chakras rest. An extended discussion of the role of the root chakra can be found in Root Chakra Meaning.

Sacral Chakra Art

In the upper area of the sacral chakra symbol is a white crescent moon representing water energy and the emotions. The unconscious, said to be connected to the sacral chakra, is sometimes symbolized as the ocean. 

The six petals of the sacral chakra are associated with the Sanskrit syllables ban, bham, mam, yam, ram and lam. The chakra syllables can be chanted or used in mantras for the sacral chakra. The Sanskrit character in the center stands for VAM, the seed syllable for this chakra. Learn more in Chakra Symbols or Sacral Chakra Meaning.

Solar Plexus Chakra Art

The solar plexus chakra is represented as a ten-petaled lotus. The downward triangle represents water, a feminine element. The center symbol is the Sanskrit character for the seed syllable RAM, the central sound for the solar plexus chakra. More in the article Chakra Sounds.

The symbol of the single stroke with the dot above at the top of the solar plexus chakra symbol represents the moon and the emotions, another source of feminine energy. The lotus is also connected to the energy of creation. More in Solar Plexus Chakra Meaning.

Heart Chakra Art

The energy of the heart chakra integrates opposite forces or brings two parts together. The heart chakra is symbolized by a twelve-petaled lotus with interlocking triangles. This is a depiction of yin and yang or male and female. A full discussion of the heart chakra can be found at Heart Chakra Meaning.

The symbol within the interlocking triangles is the Sanskrit character for the sound YAM, the seed syllable of the heart chakra. More about the sounds, seed syllables and mantras associated with the chakras at Chakra Sounds.

Throat Chakra Art

The throat chakra features a lotus flower with sixteen petals. The fifth chakra is known as the Vishuddha chakra. In Sanskrit, Vishuddha means “especially pure.” The glyph and dot at the top of the throat chakra symbolizes the moon, a form of feminine energy. The surrounding circle symbolizes manifestation as a whole.

The throat chakra is connected with creativity and self-expression as well as the actions of speaking and chanting. This chakra is associated with the neck, the esophagus, the teeth, the mouth and the ears. Learn more about Chakras and Organs.

Third Eye Chakra Art

The third eye is symbolized as a transparent lotus flower with two white petals representing the ida and pingala (mystical spiritual channels) or Shiva and Shakti on the left and right, respectively. The ida and pingala are sometimes considered to be the unconscious and conscious minds or the pineal and pituitary glands. More about Third Eye Chakra Meaning.

The pineal gland has been revered as a central endocrine gland for spiritual development. The pituitary is a master gland that monitors and regulates many bodily functions including growth, sexual maturity, metabolism and blood pressure.

Crown Chakra Art

The crown chakra is represented by twenty layers of fifty petals each, although not all of these are depicted in a symbolic illustration. This chakra is sometimes thought to be a combination of a cluster of chakras on the skull, such as the back of the head where monks may gather their hair or shave a bare spot.

The crown can be viewed as the father, or spirit energy, drawing the mother, or earth energy, from the lower chakras upward. Reaching the crown chakra is largely equated with freedom from limitations and the boundaries of time and space. In this way, the crown is a link to the universal. Learn more about Crown Chakra Meaning.

Kathleen Karlsen Video Resources Thumbnail

Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Kathleen Karlsen’s Books

Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey and years of research into mantras, chanting and kirtan. Learn more about using mantras and singing to invigorate your life! Explore the chakras and the impact of sound in every area of your life. 

Flower Symbols by Kathleen Karlsen features fascinating information about the folklore of the world’s most beloved flowers. Flowers accompany us in nearly every major event in life. This book is a perfect gift for every flower lover in your life! 

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Chakra Art Article Summary

Chakra art can be used for visualization, meditation and for unique and inspiring decor. Each piece of chakra art uses symbols to depict the central meaning and role of the energy flowing through that particular chakra. There are standard geometric and organic forms used in chakra art including the circle, lotus petals, square, triangle and so forth. This article gives an overview of each chakra symbol to offer insight into the value of these ancient symbols and chakra art.

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