Mandala’s have introduced themselves in my life when I started organising online rituals and meditations. They have become a tool to facilitate group connections from a distance, as I was looking for a means to prepare some kind of energy-space to receive the participants during the time of the ritual and create a connection among them at the same time.
That I naturally turned to Mandala’s intrigued me, as I’m not an accomplished artist and only occasionally draw. It’s when I started to look into the symbolic meaning of mandalas that I saw the logic of creating them.
What exactly is a mandala?
The word mandala comes from the word “circle” in Sanskrit and indeed, the majority of the time a mandala is represented as a circle, but not always…. the word circle rather indicates a certain space in this case, an area that is clearly defined and infinite at the same time. The idea of the circle refers to the spiral that is enclosed in the mandala. A mandala is always movement, only immobile on the surface. The movement of this spiral is ascending or descending: we use a mandala to let our thoughts and feelings, our invisible and intuitive aspect materialise OR it can be used to create a certain reality, to direct energy in a specific direction with the mandala as a starting point.
In both cases it means we create an organised whole, we create life, because life is naturally organised and we create harmony from chaos. A mandala is a creation that can take on the image of a drawing, a carefully woven piece of fabric, an assembly of flowers or leaves, a colourful sand creation, etc. The shape is not that important, what counts is the fact that the mandala organises and creates a structure.
A mandala is therefore a representation of our inner world and the universe at the same time, a mandala creates connections between different space-energies: matter and spirit, between different people, present and future, past and present, ideas and matter, matter and energy, etc. Somehow it’s a communication tool between different parts of our being, different parts of our reality or existence.
A mandala can serve as a meditation tool, a therapeutic tool, a tool to facilitate understanding and learning or it can be used to create. We can approach mandalas in an intuitive fashion and just let our creative energy flow, let our essence flow onto a paper without thinking about what we’re drawing in a descending movement. This kind of mandala can give us some insights into our feelings, what we’re going through, our inner life and dreams.
Or we can create a mandala being consciously aware of each step, each element, colour and symbol that we introduce, creating a harmonious whole and placing certain intentions in our mandala to combine them with different energies. In this case the mandala becomes a magical act of creation.
Generally speaking, people assume that mandalas come from oriental spiritual traditions, but this is not entirely correct, it would be more precise to say that the mandala survived better in the consciousness of oriental people, because in truth a mandala is something of all times, all cultures and all spiritual traditions. In reality we are surrounded by mandalas all the time, as we’ve always been, we just forgot about their sacred meaning and we lost sight of their purpose.
The medicine wheel from Native American tradition represents a cosmic order organised through association with the four directions and the elements, the ancient symbol of yin and yang that represents universal harmony is in fact a mandala, sacred geometry turns our plants and flowers into mandalas, stained-glass windows often form mandalas as they connect the energies that are represented in the image with the symbolic meaning of the colours that are used and the light that passes through brings them to life, a labyrinth is a mandala that captures the energy of a place, organises it and transmits it with the help of the structure of the labyrinth.
Hildegard von Bingen received her visions in the form of mandalas, she literally perceived different possibilities of structure for the universe. A crop circle is a mandala that connects our earthly dimension to other dimensions, whirling dervishes describe the shape of a mandala as they twirl around the source of life. The Celtic wheel of the year indicates different phases in the year and is a mandala that creates structure in time, the concept of time itself is a mandala, describing the form of a spiral and our different incarnations represent different colours in this mandala, our planet itself is a mandala that we all co-create with our different energies.
The main action of the mandala is that it centres energy, it puts everything back in its rightful place, in orbit around its axis, it aligns interior and exterior, matter and spirit, granting us access to each other particle of existence. It’s the creation of cosmic order and the representation of the end result at the same time.
Everything is structure, everything is interconnected, even this reality is an enormous mandala, like a multidimensional tapestry collectively woven by each being that adds different colours and shapes.