What is a Mandala
The word Mandala means Circle, the Sanskrit word for circle with a center radiating outward, the never-ending circle that is symbolic of the interconnectedness of all life, from the smallest unit of matter to the immenseness of the known universe, and all that lies in between. From the earliest cave paintings of the sun and moon, to images in every painting style, in every culture, in every century, we find circles. After fire was discovered, the practice of gathering around a fire began, to keep warm, cook food, dance, sing, and socialize. Most of the ancient calendars recorded and predicted the passage of time by depicting the movement of the sun, moon and planets in a circular form. The Mayan, Aztec, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, and most Native American Tribes’ calendars are a few examples.
Old stone circle formations around the world (Stone Hinge in England and others throughout Great Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, Africa and Central and South America) represent the never-ending cycle of life and show the inter-relatedness of the earth and astronomy, and of man and God. Native American medicine wheels, stone dance circles and sand paintings, as well as Tibetan sand mandalas are used in ceremonies for healing of physical, mental and even environmental imbalances on earth and for its people. When the ceremonies are completed, the beautiful and intricate sand paintings are swept away. The Tibetan Buddhist Monks throw some of the remains into a stream, river or ocean to carry the blessings throughout the world. The Chinese Yin-Yang symbol shows the inter-connectedness and interdependence of the apparent opposites in nature (feminine/masculine, light/dark, cold/warm, wet/dry, soft/hard, night/day, etc.) which together achieve balance and are necessary to complete the whole.
In all the world religions, the circle is the symbol which represents the relationship between heaven and earth, employed to encourage spiritual aspiration and inspire devotion. “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere,” Hermes Trismegistus. The Christian domed cathedrals, churches, Rose Windows, and rosaries, the Jewish/Hebrew Hakafah, gathering in the circle and Succos dancing (The Circle is Unbroken), Islam’s Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and Golden Temple in Delhi, Buddhist Sand Mandalas, prayer wheels, Temples and Stupas, Hindu Japamalas (prayer beads), Lingam, and Mandalas, are only a few of the ways circles are an important symbol in the spiritual life.
Circles are an important part of our everyday lives as well, the jewelry we wear, (rings, earrings, necklaces), the wheels that run the trancportation of the world (tires on carts, cars, trains, aripanes, tractors, industrial machinery, tools ), time keeping mechanisms (watches, clocks, town clock towers), our houseware items (dishes, glasses, pots, pans, lids flowerpots vases bowls, ceiling fans, lights), computer boards and electric circuits, communications satellites orbiting the earth, birdbaths, hot tubs, labyrinth gardens and crop circles and so much more.
When we create images and designs within the safe container of the circle in the Mandala Classes and Workshops we offer, we discover a way of exploring our place in all that mystery. The act of making a Mandala takes us on a transformational journey. A mental, emotional and spiritual adventure that comes from quieting the mind and focusing on only the task at hand. It is a practice that reveals messages from our unconscious, helping us heal past wounds and deal more effectively with present life situations. Please enjoy the video below for a visual exploration of Mandalas: Circles of Life.
Find out more on how to create your own Mandalas here: Mandala Classes and Workshops