Thursday, November 24, 2011

Importance and Meaning of Two Squares Overlapping or Octad Symbol in Symbolic Paintings

Symbols used in symbolic paintings always depend upon the artist and their understanding and representation of that particular symbol. With flowers to animals to only colours artists have been using symbols to express themselves. Paintings having figures of Gods and Goddesses have been going on since ages with many modifications and other objects also being used in art forms. Symbolic artists use symbols directly or a modification of the original symbols in their artworks.
With lotus flowers, rose flowers and elephants along with objects of symbolic value it is an important symbol that I use the 'Octad' which is being explained here. This rarely used symbol is a very important symbol and has been used since ancient times to express harmony. An octad represents total completeness.
The octad has eight sides and at a glance it looks like two squares overlapping at opposite junctions. Just like a diamond shape the octad is a very powerful symbol.
It represents the perfect environment, both physical and mental balance leading to total harmony of body and soul. The joining of two squares in shape of diamond indicates the inner space and the outer space of any individual. It leads the psyche to 'I am' aware and present here'. In simple words it is the balance of existence and awareness of existence. Eight being an very important number according to numerology and feng shui eight corners of the octad are very important to express totality.
The structure of octad having eight corners and generally gives rise to feelings of aspiration and also constraint. Both squares have complementary functions; the diamond shape evokes feelings of activeness whereas the square shape evokes feelings of stability.
The history of the symbol octad being used goes long back from the Greek to the Arabs and the Buddhists. The most famous Buddhist structures and paintings have the symbol of the wheel which again is a form of the octad indicating unending limitless form.
The urge for progress and to reach out far can be expressed using a square. What best than to use an octad having eight corners representing many aspects. The top of the diamond expresses the upper maximum limit of rise or also heaven luck whereas the down part indicates lowest. The sides in the square are expansions from side directions.
In perfect harmony the octad represents totality and completeness. Here I would like to mention that in existence, our environment and physical as well as emotional and astral all are changing. In fact there is no static energy anywhere and since it is moving and changing the whole concept is an artist’s dream of reaching total and complete perfection. A moment of ecstasy or a captured frame in a picture all represent totality and in turn bring us to the experience of the octad.

 Deep and vast explaination of the symbol octad it is and will always be one of the most beautiful symbols. Two overlapping squares have been used by children to draw and represent a diamond or star shape and thus the octad has been in our lives without we realizing its meaning and importance.

Painting by Rizwana Mundewadi

Totality  by Rizwana Mundewadi

Painting by Rizwana Mundewadi

Painting by Rizwana Mundewadi

Painting by Rizwana Mundewadi

Painting by Rizwana Mundewadi

The octad has been in my paintings since the past many years and without my choosing this symbol the symbol itself chose me! Over the years my artworks have squares and overlapping squares representing my inner chaos and progress. The play of two squares in different paintings using vast rage of themes and colours most of the paintings have led me to make the complete totality symbol. With recent artworks having a more balanced and total octad my symbols also represent my progress as a whole, not forgetting my self portrait of red pilgrim which I have to continue making more paintings to express my journey as an healing artist.
Two squares one large and other slanting and just touching, two squares one overlapping and the other trying to come out and often two squares merging with one another all have been a  part of my paintings and journey as a symbolic artist. The inner square or space is very important and it is here that all the action takes place as well as progress.
Symbols used in mandala paintings the octad is also an of the important symbols in Buddhist art and sculptures. With the number eight as a powerful symbol all eight sides in harmony indicate totality and complete harmony. The center is the individual and it is here that all the desired action can take place to improve ones self and the eight spikes lead to fulfillment of desires, needs, realization of self which gives us makes our survival instinct stronger.


  1. Thanks for such a lovely neat and deep interpretation of the octad. I googled it because I was sat with my friend here, we are both lucid dreamers and have become close friends fast. I had moon candles lit - 2 were red and one was blue. The colour reflected through my square lampshade and created the most beautiful octad on the ceiling, so vivid, one red the other blue. So dream like. We both commented on the relevance of the red and blue, taken from the film the Matrix ( relevant to lucid dreamers) - red pill and blue pill - which asks questions about the nature of reality. But most of all it was a joy to witness this accidental art and symbolism on the ceiling. I will be working with octads more closely now and I am a great believer in synchronicity. I have been inspired to paint this out and see where it takes me! Best wishes.

  2. Thank you Bex, this is such a beautiful sacred geometry. I love the Octad! Wishing you Luck Bex!


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