Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Mandalas: circles of the soul
Mandalas are symbols that often feature in East team members' work, as in Cobaltquilter's design above, called 'Yoni the Sacred Feminine'. The word mandala comes from Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) and loosely means 'circle'. It can be seen as a representation of 'one-ness' or wholeness. The intricate and colourful Tibetan sand mandalas are representations of the whole cosmos and the act of creating one is undertaken by monks as a meditative process. The mandalas are full of symbolic meaning and once complete they are destroyed as a demonstration of the impermanence of all things. Mandalas can be complex and intricate, like Indigoluna's 'Autumn Earth Mandala Quilt, or simple as in Spiritmama's 'Om T-shirt', below.
Mandalas have long been used as a meditative tool. Some of the earliest are the Yantras - precise geometrical patterns that have their origins in Indian Vedic traditions. The meditator sits and gazes upon the Yantra, studying its pattern, which forms a bridge to higher realms of consciousness. This idea is expressed in one of Ideasign's many beautiful mandala's, 'Somewhere Between Body and Soul', shown below.
But as well as helping us to reach higher levels of consciousness, mandalas can also help us to go inwards. By drawing our own mandalas, we can begin a healing dialogue with our inner selves.
Perhaps the first to fully explore this idea was psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who used mandalas in his analysis. Jung was always interested in symbolism within various cultures and he saw mandalas as the "path to the centre, to individuation" (which was the core of his work). He began drawing his own mandalas daily, reflecting on the insights they gave. And he used them with his patients, allowing the patients to discuss the images they created and what they represented.
It really is very simple to reap the benefits of mandalas. Give yourself an hour or so of undisturbed time. Play some contemplative music, and let your mind relax. First draw a large circle on a piece of paper. This will be the basis of your mandala. Now think upon a theme, or go on a guided visualisation (such as to meet your Wise Being, inner sanctuary, inspirational place) where you will allow your inner eye to visualise your own mandala. Holding this image, now create it on your page. Don't worry - this is not a competition - you don't have to be able to 'draw' like an artist, just have fun and create. Your mandala may be intricate and geometrical - so get out the ruler and protractor; it may be figurative or perhaps it is a mass of colours. There are no rules! Anything goes - just get it down. Pastels or chalks are great as they help you to sketch out the image quickly.
When you have finished your mandala, have a good look at it. Is it trying to tell you something? If drawing a mandala is really not your thing – just keep your eyes open. Mother Nature loves to create mandalas and if you look, you'll see that they are all around us:
Shown above are celticgoddessjewellery's Black Nautilus Earrings and Greenfinger's Pentacle Wreath.
This article was compiled by Healingstones and was extracted from an article on her blog. For more articles about crystals and such, visit Stoneweaver.