Chakra symbols, also called mandalas, are pictorial representations of each of the seven major chakras. Each symbol is different and is often portrayed in the color associated with the chakra. The symbols can be used as a reminder of the qualities that the individual is striving for or can decorate the stones used for meditation around the chakra.
The exact representation of the chakra can vary depending on the detail of the drawing and the individual using it. There is typically a general form for the symbol that is universal, which can then be embellished in different ways. The fifth chakra, also known as the third eye chakra, is often portrayed as a circle around a triangle with the tip pointing downward. Inside this triangle is another circle, or occasionally a decorative number three. Many illustrations embellish the outside of the symbol; there may be lotus petals around the outer rim of the circle, or another ring with smaller circles inside.
The portrayal of lotus flower petals around the outside of chakra symbols is a common one. Beginning with the root chakra, the lowest chakra on the human body, four petals typically surround the symbol. As the chakras get higher on the body, the number of petals increase until the crown chakra, depicted as having 1,000 petals.
Colors are often featured in illustrations of the chakra symbols. To make them more potent, symbols are typically done in the color they are associated with. The heart chakra is often done in green, while the distinctive lotus blossom, with 1,000 petals for the crown chakra, is usually done in violet or purple.
The chakras are closely linked with other types of symbols as well. Certain types of gemstones, usually corresponding to the colors of the chakras, can also be used in meditation as symbols of the chakra the individual is trying to focus. For example, the yellow solar plexus chakra is represented by yellow gemstones such as topaz and amber. These stones can be used in ways similar to the illustrated symbols.
Chakra symbols can be used in several ways. The stones will often be placed on corresponding areas of the body when used in meditation, as an aid to opening the chakra or focusing energy. They can also be emblazoned on articles of clothing as a reminder to focus on the areas of the chakra. Chakra symbols are also commonly seen as tattoos.