I made my first mandala when I was in graduate school and have been drawn to them ever since. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning sacred circle. C.G. Jung discovered the healing power of mandalas when he embarked on his own healing process and soon learned the power that they possess. There is much I could say or write about mandalas including their history, the various cultures that have used them for thousands of years and the belief that they are representative of the self. I'd like instead, to share about their calming effect and how drawing them can bring about healing as we sit in a quiet place and focus on creating our mandala. Here, where there is no judgment, right or wrong or internal critic at play, the body and mind are at rest. And, I believe, when the body and mind are in a calm state, healing begins. The immune system is at rest and so are we.
Circles are all around us. Take a moment the next time you are out or when you are in your home and notice the circles that surround you. They are everywhere. Circles can center us in times of transition and bring us back to a place of balance and clarity. Mandalas are also the voice of the unconscious, where we can meditate, reflect and/or be present with their beauty.
Making your mandala
Mandalas can be created with many different types of materials such as oil and chalk pastels, paint, paper, sand, stones, shells and the list goes on. You can use colored paper, white paper, a notebook and/or canvas. It is important that before you begin to create your mandala you find a quiet place. Closing your eyes to begin and allowing your unconscious to guide the way as far as color, images, symbols and starting point on the circle. You can trace a circle from a round object or make a circle freehand using a color that you have chosen or that has chosen you as you make your circle. Don't rush, just let the process move you. Once you have created your circle, you can begin filling in your mandala. Letting images, shapes and colors come to you as you ask the critic inside of you to step aside. You can create your mandala with color or fill in the color afterwards. Once you have completed your mandala or when you feel it is at a place of completion, meditate on a title. Is there a theme in your mandala? Does it evoke a message or say something about you? Turn your mandala around and view it from different positions. When you have discovered the position that feels right, you might want to make a little mark at the top point - this will be the position you want to view your mandala from. Date your mandala to keep track of when you've completed it and number them if you make more than one a day. It is fun to be able to track the sequence of your work.
There will be more information about how to work with color, symbols, images and shapes in my future blogs. For now, enjoy the process of creating your mandalas. For more information, refer to Susanne F. Fincher's book Creating Mandalas for Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression.