Mandala Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

If you’re thinking about getting a mandala tattoo, learn more about the symbolism and designs. With a few ideas, you can create a unique piece that best illustrates your message.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle.” Circles are powerful spiritual symbols across many cultures. Think of prayer wheels, halos, even the infinity symbol. Despite their religious origins, mandalas are common tattoos among people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

Mandala Meaning in Tattoos

Mandalas are spiritual symbols in Buddhism and Hinduism. Their circular nature implies life in the universe is never-ending. It also expresses the idea that everything’s connected.

A few ideas these tattoos represent are:

  • Peacefulness and meditation
  • Unity
  • Higher awareness
  • Balance

Peacefulness and Meditation

Artwork is often used as meditation aids. Coloring designs is supposed to relax you and mitigate your anxiety. It does this by letting your creative juices run amok, helping you center your mind and body.

Most people focus on the coloring aspect of the design when using them in meditation. But how else could you meditate using them?


Drawing your tattoo is not only relaxing, but it may also help you feel connected to the design. If the design process helps relieve stress, the final illustration could serve as a reminder that you’re well capable of handling your tension.

When creating a mandala, it’s easy to think that you’re doodling mindlessly. What if when doodling without any guiding sense of direction, your subconscious takes over and does the drawing for you? This allows you to switch off and let you be in the moment—it’s no wonder that people use artforms to eliminate stress and improve health.


Choosing colors for your mandala can be a liberating and touching experience. You get to highlight your favorite colors, then etch them onto your skin forever. Use colors that best reflect your personality: bright colors for the outgoing and darker shades if you’re more reserved.

Coloring the design before getting it tattooed is a great way to meditate. Like the drawing, once it’s tattooed, it’s a constant reminder of your potential to overcome.


The circle is seen as a symbol of unity in many cultures. A circular mandala tat may represent a bond of love, blood, or ideas. 

For lovers, matching tattoos combined with the heart symbol should pass your message across. To show a union of ideas, how about getting matching mandala designs sitting on a text that best expresses the ideology?

Higher Awareness

Some people find the patterns hypnotic—they’re designed this way, bringing you to higher consciousness.

These patterns are so vivid and detailed that it takes great concentration to take it all in. This, theoretically, may make you hyper-aware of your surroundings, and thus, take you into a state of higher awareness.


Mandalas are symmetrical. This visual can be representative of your spiritual self, illustrating balance within. 

Symbolism in Mandalas

These patterns often look random, but they’re usually well thought out with specific symbols representing certain feelings and elements. Here are a few notable ones:

Lotus Mandala

On Women

The lotus flower is symbolic of purity and femininity. It makes for great illustration when you want your ink to celebrate womanhood. 

On Men

On men, the lotus symbolizes someone who’s had a life-changing experience. Typically, he has gone through a dark space and come out victorious.

Other Meanings 

If a lotus is depicted blooming, it can represent new or continuous life. Flowers hibernate and bloom again annually, showing life always perseveres. A blooming lotus mandala tat works well if you’re looking for motivational ink—a constant reminder that, just like the flower, you, too, will bloom.

They’re also popular among those who have battled cancer and won.

Labyrinth Mandala

A labyrinth design depicts life as a journey of beginnings and endings. This design is usually depicted in a circle, representing wholeness. It may also represent the wearer’s spiritual journey—a popular illustration among those who’ve had a spiritual awakening.

Yantra Mandala

The Yantra Mandala is one of the more religious meanings among these patterns. It commonly represents a deity, and the meaning comes from whatever god that is. Those who pick this design often choose it to bring themselves to a deeper, more meaningful plane of consciousness.

Butterfly Mandala

Butterflies symbolize rebirth. A design with a butterfly may take the abstract shape of the creature, or not. It could depict the insect bursting forth from the illustration—symbolizing renewal. Alternatively, the tattoo could capture a butterfly with mandala designs in the wings.

Sun Mandala

The sun is energy. It’s wisdom. It’s eternal love. It’s common in these tattoos where it’s circular shape complements the overall design. The sun’s easy to incorporate or to build a foundation around.

Water Symbol

Water-related symbols may represent the wearer’s subconscious. The preconscious is hidden beneath the surface of the mind—like how most of the secrets that water holds are beneath the surface.

Thunderbolt and Bell Symbols

In mandala tattoos, bells represent female energy, and thunderbolts represent male energy. These are symbols you may get if you’re representing people in your tattoo—for example, a son or daughter.

Wheel Symbol

The wheel is a Buddhist symbol. It represents the Eightfold path. This is an excellent symbol to incorporate if you hold Buddhist beliefs—or just want to pay tribute to the faith.

Diamond Symbol

Diamonds symbolize a clear mind. In mandala form, they could represent mental peace or the hope for it—an excellent illustration for motivating yourself through life’s ups and downs.

Personality of the Wearer and Colors

Mandalas are open to abuse when it comes to color, so consider going with your favorite, no matter the design. To avoid ambiguity from those looking in, you could stick to traditional colors in-line with the theme.

The design of this tat borrows heavily from personal experience and preferences, but if you want one and are unsure of what to get, consider one of these:

For Sensitive People

Since water symbols can represent emotion, consider an oceanic themed tattoo— waves, seaweed, tentacles, and pebbles in calming blues and greens. Whether these colors are light or dark could represent an emotional state— sad or happy.

For Energetic People

The sun represents power, perfect for energetic people. A sun in your favorite colors or incorporating a floral design you enjoy, may work. You get to show off your energy in a colorful way, but consider shades of yellow, orange, and even red here.

For People With an Idol

The deity in a Yantra mandala doesn’t have to be religious. It could be the image of your beloved mother, father, sister, significant other. This constant reminder of the person you adore on your skin could be beautiful.

For coloring, consider your idol’s natural coloring, or just go with a traditional black and grey combination.

Common Mandala Tattoo Placements

Arms and legs are common tattoo locations, but some areas hold more meaning than others when it comes to mandalas.


A mandala on the hands represents an offer to the world from the wearer. They’re sharing their journey, their wisdom, their experience, part of their soul—mandalas on the hands are always visible, so it’s like bearing your heart to the world. 


Earthing or grounding is popular with spiritual people. This is where you go barefoot to strengthen your connection to the planet and life. Since mandalas are so spiritual, one on the foot is telling. It’s taken to be consolidating your spiritual connection with your earthly one and strengthening the bond.


A mandala on your back symbolizes protection: the tattoo always has your back. This design could also be combined with eye patterns to enhance the theme.