What is a Mandala?
By Mandala Nomadess
“The symmetries, repetitions and contrasts of mandala patterns create a hypnotic effect that can cause positive changes in the rhythms of your brainwaves.” Tenzin-Dolma
What is a mandala for me personally? Besides being a form of artistic expression that I have been completely fascinated with for over 25 years, mandala design has become a form of therapy and meditation in my own personal life.
I have drawn mandalas, painted mandalas, cut and soldered stained glass mandalas and crocheted mandalas. And through it all I can say that there is something about creating this symmetrical collage of shapes that helps to empty the mind and expand the heart in a very positive way. Add a bit of nature to the experience and I have found heaven on earth!
What is a Mandala? – The Basics
What is a mandala exactly? The basic blueprint of mandala construction is to begin with a center circle and radiate outward in a numerical pattern. Mandalas can be more of a free form organic expression of shapes and colors OR they can be exact in mathematical proportions as with what some people call “sacred geometry.” In some cases they can be extremely symbolic with a unique language all there own. Crop circles are one of my personal favorite representations this of communication through mandala design.
The actual word “mandala”, derived from Sanskrit, can be translated as “the sacred circle of life” or “universal essence.” Both these terms describe the meaning of the word, but the feeling of creating and viewing a mandala can be quite subjective. The mandala image can be defined differently according to the individual intentions of the artist, culture or religions that use it as a form of symbolic art and/or spiritual practice. Simply put from my own experience… it is a practice of cultivating inner tranquility and through this process inspired thoughts are born.
Nature Mandala Art
My own personal journey with the mandala has evolved to encompass my great love for nature and the bounty of “paints” it provides. This aspect makes it quite different than most drawn, painted or carved mandala art in that it captures the spirit and life-force of nature’s organic design. Connecting with the resources and wild growing shapes I see around me, adds even greater therapy to the whole mandala making ritual. It is a collaboration with the earth’s geometry and my own utilization of it as symbolic art. There is nothing quite like creating my own art studio within the peaceful presence, sounds and vibrations of these wild places. My own definition of a mandala can be described, in part, as a process of expansion as I grow, learn and resonate with the gifts nature provides.
Mandala Definition That Unites All Mandala Art
All mandala’s are a form of visionary art that express the energetic connections life weaves through all beings. They portray a wider scope of awareness that transcends the physical, encouraging a feeling of peace, calmness and balance within the eyes of the viewer and creator. They speak in a language of symbols and symmetry that can transform, inspire and heal us in our own personal journeys.
One common thing that all mandala art shares is its geometric design as a form of “visual meditation”, connecting one to the deeper, more subconscious, perceptions of reality. The psychologist Carl Jung recommended drawing and painting mandalas as a way to integrate one’s own psyche. “An archetypal symbol of wholeness, the mandala was used as a therapeutic art tool by Carl Jung, who believed creating mandalas helped patients to make the unconscious conscious.” Bailey Cunningham
The Native American medicine wheel can be considered a basic form of a mandala used for ceremonial purposes. I can personally relate my own nature mandalas to this image above which is usually created in powerful wild energy vortexes.
I like to think of mandalas as a form of art that uses both sides of the brain. The logical geometric, numerical designs born from the left brain merging with the subliminal, intuitive energies of the right. The mandala is different than other forms of art in this way because it accesses the right brain and left brain simultaneously. Many people and cultures throughout time have experienced the power in this form of artistic expression, uniting the two worlds of logic (geometry) and intuitive heart-mind connection. It is a form of sacred geometry and/or spiraling movement of consciousness that many modern artists and ancient cultures have encoded in their art, ceremony and prophecy.
What Is A Mandala? – A Quantum and Cultural Perspective
A mandala can sometimes be considered a form of “sacred geometry”, in which its mathematical shapes and structure have symbolic meaning. The architectural design of the universe begins at the center point of the circle and moves into form, manifestation and life from this single point.
Quantum physics says that this single pointedness becomes duality. Because the physical creation of a mandala uses the right brain and left brain simultaneously, it is the reunion of both aspects of the soul at zero point. This is where it is said that spiritual awakening is said to be possible!
Some artists, like Leonardo Da Vinci, captured the essence
of the sacred mandala concept in their artwork. Particularly,
the Vitruvian Man (1487 ) drawing illustrates these two
world’s coming together as symbolized by the circle and the
square. The circle represents the intuitive feminine (right brain). The square represents the scientific masculine quality (left brain). One is the invisible spirit of consciousness and the other is the visible form manifestation shapes on the earthly plane.
Other cultures have also brought to light the significance of this form of “spiritual mathematics” in ancient customs like the Bora rings created by the indigenous Australian peoples, the yantras in Hinduism, the sand paintings of the Tibetian Buddhists, the symmetrical knot designs of the Celtic traditions, the great medicine wheel of the Native American peoples and the sand paintings of the Navajo tribe just to name a few.
What is a mandala in modern times?
Mandalas are the perfect form of art for the modern day as we evolve and expand into a big and better world.
Carl Jung described the mandala as “a representation of the unconscious self”, and many people all over the world are using this form of “spirit art” to align with “who we are” and the natural gifts that we came into this life to express and share with others. Mandala’s are considered, from this perspective, pictures of the soul used for inspiration, healing and expansion into the great mystery and magic of the universe!
The sacred circle mandala can help us to connect as one to the big picture where pure positive energy abounds! “All life begins with the circle and then divides. This cell division is an expansion from unity into duality. The circle was the first pattern in nature and can be seen in all of life from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the very atoms we are all made of to the planets and galaxies far beyond.” P. Starner