Mandala Drawing

Mandala drawing is a popular New Age activity that is designed to help you, through a form of art therapy, engage in self-analysis and hopefully get in touch with good stuff. Again, it is a very old tradition.

What Is a Mandala?

A mandala is a circular-shaped diagram, usually ornately filled in with colorful images from the culture of the person who drew the mandala.

The word mandala is Sanskrit for circle, and it was a Hindu and Buddhist device to enhance meditation. A mandala is a pictorial representation of the universe. Though the word mandala is associated with Eastern religions, every culture puts it own spiritual spin on the sacredness of the circle. To the philosophically and spiritually inclined, the circle is much more than a simple geometric shape.

Plato believed that the soul was circular in shape. Jung called the circle the most powerful religious symbol. Life is an endless cycle of birth, death, and if you believe in reincarnation, rebirth. It is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Round and round we go — what's it all about? Nobody knows.

What Does Drawing Do?

The act of drawing a mandala was said to be a scary experience. Museums are filled with lavish mandalas through the centuries. But the contemporary New Age activity of mandala drawing is perfectly egalitarian — anyone can draw a mandala and paint a picture of their soul.

The objective is to draw a circle and think about and reflect upon the different values in your life. The images that you draw will be summoned from deep within your psyche, primordial archetypes like the ones that are found on cave walls or Tarot cards. As you draw, you learn more and more about yourself. What ends up at the center of your personal mandala is supposed to represent the thing that is the priority in your life. It is an artistic effort to pull the scattered aspects of yourself together and find the focus.

Ancient Hindu and Buddhist mandalas are representations of the universe, replete with gods and goddesses and all manner of bliss, chaos, and mayhem. These represent the macrocosm, the big picture. Your personal mandala represents your microcosm, your internal universe. The objective is to keep the macrocosm and the microcosm in harmony; the vastness of the universe and the finite nature of the individual in tune and on the same wavelength.

What's your sign?

The next time some smarmy geek asks this question, tell him that he is trivializing an ancient tradition that goes back many millennia. Mankind has always looked to the stars for inspiration and answers to life's burning questions.

What we see through the five senses is only a small part of what really comprises the universe. This is something the Greek philosophers and the Eastern spiritualists speculated upon time and again. Mankind, after his fall from grace (whether you believe in the Book of Genesis or any of the many other very similar creation myths from every culture in every corner of the globe), lost touch with the other realms. They appear to us like the flickering shadows of the rock wall in Plato's Myth of the Cave.

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