Sacred Geometry in Art: Meaning of Basic Symbols
Every aspect of sacred geometry is purposeful and meaningful. Circles, triangles, squares and other forms carry a specific energy. These symbols are connected to the five elements in the Ayurvedic tradition. The sum total of the meaning of the forms used to create larger works of art such as yantras creates a story of the soul’s journey based on that particular form.
Some of the more common geometric forms used in sacred geometry and symbolic art include circles, triangles, stars, hexagons and squares.
Meaning of a Circle in Sacred Geometry
The circle is a physical manifestation that is a counterpart to the spiritual realms. A circle is a primordial form that cannot be further reduced. A circle at the smallest size becomes a point or the bindu (discussed above). 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.
The Hindu vision of the universe is a set of concentric circles. A metaphorical spider sits in the center, both spinning and reabsorbing the threads of reality. The circle represents the One force that both creates and unifies all things. The circle contains the notion that there is no end and no beginning to time. The numeric equivalent of the circle is zero.
Triangle Meaning in Sacred Geometry
The triangle is the primary form that can enclose space within straight lines. A third line needs to be added since two lines either intersect or exist as parallels. Thus the triangle is the first form to emerge from chaos and create order or structure.
The downward triangle is a symbol of the divine feminine, often associated specifically with the goddess Kali or Parvati. The downward triangle is a depiction of the water element. An upward triangle represents the masculine energy and the element of fire. The upward triangle is specifically associated with Shiva.
Numerous triangles can be interlocked in the center of a yantra. Each of these triangle represents different planes of existence. The root chakra symbol includes a downward triangle indicating the descent of spirit into matter.
The meaning of a triangle can also depend on combinations with other symbols. In the Sri Yantra, each of the nine triangles symbolizes circuits in the subtle energy body. Learn more about Yantra Meaning.
Hexagon Symbol in Symbolic Art
The hexagon or hexagram symbolizes the union of male and female forces in intertwined triangles. This is the fusion of polarities that remains in perfect balance. The numerical equivalent of this symbol is a six. The hexagon is related to the air element.
A star-pentagram can also be created. This, of course, is associated with the number five. This form is connected to Shiva in his five major aspects: the conqueror of death, the embodiment of knowledge, the source or being of life, the master of lust and sexuality and the lord of the elements.
In the Sri Yantra (also Shree Yantra or Shri Yantra), the most well-known of all Hindu yantras, there are nine triangles creating a total of forty-three interlocking triangles. See more information about the Sri Yantra below.
Square Meaning in Sacred Geometry
The square represents the four cardinal directions. A square symbolizes the foundation or base of the material world. Most yantras have a square as their fundamental form. The numerical equivalent, of course, is four. On each side of the yantra are gates that open up to invite the viewer into the center of the yantra. The square connects to the earth element in the Vedic tradition (earth, water, fire, space, air).
These portals also represent a passage between the heaven world and the plane of material existence. They also symbolize the opening between the inner and outer realms of the individual. The gates protect the center from disintegrating or negative forces.
More Resources for Yantra Meaning
Yantra meaning is a vast topic that is gaining more attention in the arenas of symbolism, meditation and personal growth. The intersection between visual forms and sounds is also an expanding area of research and study. Additional resources for yantra meaning include the following: Yantra Blessings: Ancient Tools. Other yantras on this website. Explore the Gayatri Yantra. Learn more about the Hanuman Yantra.
Author Kathleen Karlsen
YANTRA MEANING ARTICLE SUMMARY
This article on yantra meaning includes the meaning of the basic geometric forms in yantras: circles, squares, lotus petals, triangles, hexagrams and more. Specific yantras including the well-known Sri Yantra are discussed as well as the use of yantra forms in building temples.
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