Mandalas and art therapy

Published : 01/29/2019 13:09:25
Categories : Sacred geometry

Mandala is a Sanscrit word (sacred language of the Indian Brahmans), which means at the same time: “circle”, “centre”, and “unity”. One could give the following definition of it: a mandala is a circle-shaped design, whose composition is organized around the centre of the latter. In general, one finds repetitive and concentric geometrical forms.

Mandala is a Sanscrit word (sacred language of the Indian Brahmans), which means at the same time: “circle”, “centre”, and “unity”. One could give the following definition of it: a mandala is a circle-shaped design, whose composition is organized around the centre of the latter. In general, one finds repetitive and concentric geometrical forms.

It is expressed in a circular drawing, converging towards a centre carrying infinite. In the Eastern tradition, the circle represents the “Divine one”, its demonstration, and its creation.

The circle appears early in the human history, in Egyptian mythology, among the Amerindians in their model of orientation, the Mayan calendars, the zodiac; in the religious rituals, the dancing dervishes, the Tibetan mandalas, the labyrinths of the cathedrals as well as the rose windows…

This symbol of the circle and thus of the mandala can be found in all the religions, cultures and all the traditions, as well Western as Eastern. The circle is the symbol of life: birth, maturity, death and resurrection or rebirth.

The iris of the eye is a natural mandala, just like most of fruits: divide a melon in two and observe the drawing… Some natural examples of Mandalas:


Origins

Mandala carried out by the hand of man this time, is thus coming from India, but one also finds it in other cultures as among the Indians of America (Navajos, the Aztecs, Incas…) or the aboriginals of Australia. Geometrical and symbolic representation of the universe, it is a thousand-year-old art which for some people, allows to reach a state of meditation to connect oneself to a kind of divinity or a particular energy.

Photos

Among the Tibetans, the construction of Mandalas (using various coloured sands) is a true spiritual practice. Several days are devoted to its realization, and once finished, the Tibetan monks accomplish a great ceremony for healing and peace. Sands are then swept and transported in a vase to a close water room. By pouring sands in water, a substance that, by its nature, is linked to the matrix, and to all the waters of the world, one symbolises the consecration of positive energies rising from the manufacturing process of the mandala for the universal benefit. Besides illustrating the transitory and passing character of all things, the dismantling of the mandala symbolises the ultimate vacuum of all phenomena: thus all emerges from nothingness and all goes back to it.

Realization of Mandala - Ceremony - Dismantling - Setting to water

Uses

The mandala is initially a centre, then concentric patterns radiating towards outside.

- The centre is the concentration, the self, the birth, the beginning, and the end too…

- Around the centre, the other circles symbolise the organisation of our relations to the world.

- The square that often encloses the mandala is our realisation in the world.

Since thousands of years, the creation and the contemplation of mandalas are used either for the meditation as a sacred ritual among the Buddhist monks, or as a therapeutic tool to discover oneself and to heal as among the Amerindian shamans.

It is the famous Carl Gustav Jung who “imported” Mandala in Occident by using it like a therapeutic tool with the schizophrenics. This pathology is characterised by the parcelling of the Ego and the consciousness, and the Mandala intervened to unify the consciousness, and to calm the tormented spirit. 

Jung discovered that the mandala was a powerful support of growth and transformation, a symbol of totality.

He used it to explore his own psyches, and then the one of his patients. Jung studied the mandala in all the cultures and got to the conclusion that it was a “universal archetypal form”, that is to say a universal symbol.

Jung said about mandalas that they gave:

“A feeling of interior peace, reconciliation, order in the middle of chaos”.

Since that time, Mandala is used in Art-therapy, personal development, and psychotherapy… Everyone one agrees to say about its virtues that it brings refocusing, inner calm, self-knowledge, appeasement, psychic reorganization… 

The mandala: a journey to the heart of oneself!

Photo credit: Lisette Alcade

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