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Geometry, the Cosmos, and You… Are You Enlightened?

google search trend graph

A quick search on Google shows that geometry has been gaining popularity in the last five years, and no, it’s not for math class. More and more people are looking up geometric designs, such as mandalas and sacred geometry for tattoos and body jewelry.

mandala engraved wood plugs, sacred geometry engraved wood plugs

If you’ve been keeping up with our New Items tab, then you probably noticed a recent surge in geometric-inspired products, like the engraved mandala/sacred geometry wood plugs shown right. Mike Dolch, the most recent addition to our Painful Pleasures family of resident artists, likes to focus on paisley and geometric/mandala work, and Derek Entenmann, a Body Mod tattoo artist that I interviewed back in December, is also highly skilled in incorporating geometric designs into his contemporary tattoos. These are just two of the growing number of tattoo artists specializing in this style.

Look Past the Middle School Level of Geometry

As a product specialist, I found myself researching the meaning behind sacred geometry and mandalas as we received more products featuring these designs. I wanted to understand why it recently became “a thing” when they’ve been around forever, quite literally if we take what sacred geometry is into consideration. 

honeycomb symmetry, vetruvian man

The idea is that geometry is practically everywhere. Sacred geometry is often found in religious art and architecture, but the principles behind why it’s used are based on the fact that geometry relates to our existence and the world around us. Symmetry is essential because it is metaphysical. It’s rooted in nature (think honeycombs) and it’s found within us (look no further than Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man). We like to think that such math isn’t actually relevant in our everyday existence, but geometric forms found everywhere have proven otherwise. It embodies the grand idea of all parts relating to the whole, the cosmos. Sacred geometry suggests that everything is interconnected.

We can attribute the recent popularity (and accessibility) of tattooed geometric forms to its beauty. There’s something about lines and patterns that’s visually appealing and the thought of sacred geometry is certainly related, whether people are aware or not.

Take mandalas for example. The literal meaning of a mandala is “circle” in Sanskrit and it’s considered to be a spiritual image because it exhibits order and peace. A mandala, much like the yantra, is supposed to help with focus and stabilization. The alignment of our minds, bodies, and souls, and our overall consciousness/understanding of our existence in relation to the universe are all facilitated by these geometric forms. It’s almost like we’re hypnotized into this “higher” consciousness or awareness because mandalas are supposed to cut through the noise and absorb your mind.

Mandala has become a common word for any geometric pattern, but it usually has a concentric structure. Diamonds and lotus flowers are just two mandala designs out of many.


Be in the Know and Be Proud

I’m sure I’m not the first person to question the popularization of these designs and in this day and age, whether this is considered cultural appropriation or if it’s “PC”. Is getting a mandala tattoo along the lines of getting a tribal tattoo? At what point is that line drawn? Sacred geometry can be a sensitive area, but how can something so broad and accessible such as geometry be appropriated when the philosophy is that it’s found everywhere? If mandalas serve the purpose of calming and healing a person’s body and mind, then how can any one person judge another for using it in their journey?

Clearly these aren’t questions I can answer for you in a blog, but these are things to consider before jumping on a trend. Just as there are many people who do their research, chances are that there are many others who don’t take the philosophy behind it into consideration. There’s no question that the Painful Pleasures family is an advocate for each and every one of you to express yourselves freely through whatever means, be it tattoos, body modification, unique jewelry, etc. We also want to respect the tradition and thought behind the designs and products that we love so much and are proud to share with all of you. Have confidence and rest easy in knowing that all of our organic, natural body jewelry are handcrafted by generations of highly adept artisans from Bali, Indonesia. Know what you’re wearing in your body. Know what you’re getting tattooed on your body. Do your research and be proud of being in touch with your inner-self.