Jacqueline Gautier


May 01, 1997
A Creative and Healing Process ™

The word Mandala comes from the Sanskrit "sacred circle." Throughout antiquity the circle has represented eternity and the divine. Mandalas have been used for centuries in Native American, Hindu, Buddhist and Medieval Christian spiritual practice as symbols for healing and transformation. They reflect the spiritual content of the psyche for both the maker and viewer.

When one looks to natural history, it is clear why human beings chose the circle as such a meaningful design. We grow from a tiny round fertilized egg, supported in our mother's womb. In her womb we are encircled and firmly held in a spherical space. When it is time to be born, we are pushed by a series of circular muscles through a tubular birth canal and out through a circular opening. We arrive onto a round planet that moves in a circular orbit around the sub as part of a swirling galaxy. Scientists have demonstrated that our bodies and physical matter are comprised of worlds of whirling atoms. We are predisposed and encoded to the circle.

Black Elk, the Dakota elder expressed it to eloquently:

"Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.

Children discover Mandalas spontaneously. Generally at the age of three or four the pleasure of scribbling evolves to the mastery of form. The drawing of Mandalas is spontaneous, untaught and performed similarly by children of all cultures. Research has shown that it rarely continues with such intensity past the age of five and we can conclude that the drawing of Mandalas is part of an orderly natural pattern of psychological maturation.

While Mandala motifs and symbols share the past of all human beings; they also allow us to generate a pattern for our inner life. The drawing of Mandalas reveals the dynamics of self, creating an expression of our own unique unfolding identities. As per the teachings of the famous pioneering psychotherapist, C.J. Jung, he coined the Mandala the "Universal Archetype" and utilized it as a major tool in the promotion of the healing process, both personally and with his patients.

"I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, a mandala, which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time... only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious." (Jung, 1965)

When we create a Mandala we are expressing a personal symbol that reveals who we are at that moment in time. The circle sometimes seems to invite conflicting aspects of our nature to appear, yet there is always an undeniable release of tension when making a Mandala.

With some basic training on form, placement, color and symbolism, one can learn to interpret their Mandalas and use them as a meditative and healing process.

In the words of Robert Frost, "We dance round in a ring and suppose... but the secret sits in the middle and knows..."

Why Create a Mandala?
  • Because it has the regenerative and curative power to activate the latent powers of the mind. The meditative process helps to focus and open the heart to the healing power of unconditional love.
  • Because it has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body, thus focusing and strengthening the will to heal.
  • Because it can make the invisible visible 00 expressing paradoxical situations or patterns of ultimate reality that can be expressed in no other way.
  • Because it can reveal unity between human existence and the structure of the cosmos-opening up a perspective in which things can be understood as a whole.
  • Because it can give form and expression to an intuitive insight into spiritual truth by releasing the inner light of the soul.
As seen in WHOLifE May/June 1997

<<  Article Index