Image by William Clark
Yantras are becoming more popular for jewellery and tattoo designs. Yantra is the Sanskrit word for "instrument" or "machine".
A Yantra is a mystical spiritual design, originating from the Tantric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. They are usually a 4 sided boundary shape containing a design which is resonant to a specific deity. The four sides represent the world with its four directions or four winds.
Yantras are drawn and used for the worship and communion of these sacred deities as a visual focus in meditation. They are believed to embody occult powers associated with the deity. Yantra designs have been found in India dating back to 10,000 years ago. Yantras are also now used in many tattoo designs.
This design is the Kali Yantra.
Kali is the chief of the Tantric goddesses who each form a different aspect of the mother goddess Parvati. Kali is the destroyer of evil forces. Despite appearances, she is the Divine Mother whose essence is Divine Love. She is the most powerful form of Shakti; the primordial cosmic female energy that moves through the entire universe. It is an energy that is creative and sustaining, as well as destructive. Kali’s Shakti energy destroys evil in order to protect the innocent. She is seen as the divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation by destroying the ego.
The Goddess 1770 Print Richard B. Godfrey
Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her, he is not dead as many mistakenly think.
Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906)
Within the Yantra, the two circles symbolize birth and death. The petals inside symbolize the lotus blossom, the eight chakras, and Kali as nurturer. The five layers of the triangle symbolize the five sheaths of the human condition including the physical sheath, the life force, the emotional sheath, wisdom, and bliss. The downward-facing triangle symbolizes the yoni yantra which signifies the Mother Goddess and female regenerative power, and the point in the middle of the triangle is the Bindu which symbolizes new life and new birth.