The Sacred Circle: Mandala
Mandala from Sanskrit translates as “circle”. Wherever we look in nature, we find mandalas, I even dare to state that all nature is a dance of interconnecting mandalas. Every cell in our body is a mandala. If we look at the plant and mineral kingdom under the microscope, the underlying structures of all life are mandalas.
These are algae 450 times magnified. And even if we do not magnify, just look at flowers, or cut through an apple, or slice a carrot. Every one will reveal a mandala in its core.
And this is a blood cell 90 000 times enlarged.
Our micro and macro cosmos is characterised through circular patterns. Even each snowflake is unique.
Every world religion knows mandalas. They appear as circular dance, as drumming circles, as the sacred round filled with symbols and imagery. Their outer worldly structure may mark the four wind directions and the four corners of the world. The four skin colours red, black, yellow and white constitute our humanity within which, at its centre blooms the universal core of oneness.
The Tibetans know intricate ritual mandalas that are being studied for decades as every colour, every layer represents sacred teachings. Christianity’s symbolism around the cross and resurrection are central themes. Hinduism knows Yantras, ritual mandalas for meditation purposes. These designs have been copied and passed on for thousands of years.
In the context of therapy, mandalas are profoundly healing, able to re-balance whatever has been disjointed, or dissociated. Mandalas have the capacity to deeply heal, because their structure bypasses the ego and with it all of ego’s problems. Drawing these circular designs activates our sacred core and this core is only interested in healing and wholeness, just like our innermost nature.
The above mandala was painted over many months by a client suffering from diabetes I. She had received multiple daily injections from the age of eighteen months onwards. She was highly traumatised by these painful interventions that her mother administered. Here every dot she painted was a needle prick that she could now express and release.
To maintain a mandala diary can be a source of deep insight, especially during stressful times or as a way of dealing with grief. Couples can jointly draw mandalas, each contributing to the partner’s layers of being, just like in life. Groups can come together and connect around a shared core. Or you are on your own enjoying drawing, painting, collaging your own circular designs. I have drawn mandalas since I was six years old. At times they saved my life. Creating a mandala is one of the best resources I know, especially in times of crisis, where healing is deeply necessary.
Mandala Workshop: 10 - 12 May 2019 at Claerwen Retreat, Apollo Bay 3233, Australia