Circular, symbolic images have been used as sacred art in many cultures and spiritual traditions around the world. In Sanskrit, they are called Mandalas, meaning Sacred Circle[i] and Container of Essence.[ii] Since antiquity, mandalas have been recognized as symbols of wholeness, representing the essential nature of the individual as well as that of the universe. Creating, meditating, looking at or praying with a mandala is a path of transcendence through which the creator and meditator can connect to the True or Divine Self. Mandalas are also used as subtle energetic support for manifesting intentions of healing and transformation. They create sacred space for rituals of healing and meditation. Traditional healing cultures place the sick in the center of a circle in healing ceremonies.
Psychologist Carl Jung discovered what he called the “unconscious self” through his experience with mandalas. He writes,
The self, I thought, was like the monad, which I am, and which is my world. The mandala represents this monad, and corresponds to the microcosmic nature of the psyche . . . I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.[iii]
The spontaneous occurrence of mandalas in the dreams and art of psychologically disturbed individuals presented Jung with an opportunity for psychological research to investigate its function in the natural healing process.
Judith Cornell described a mandala as “a concrete symbol of its creator’s absorption into a sacred center,” facilitating healing and self-realization. Cornell developed a simple process in which mandalas are “illuminated” using white and colored pencils on black paper squares. In this process, black represents un-manifested energy, white represents light and colors represent the diversity that is unified in white light. The square represents the physical and the circle the spiritual. The circle within the square represents spirit embodied in the physical - invisible energy made visible.
I first experienced making mandalas in a class I took with Dr. Cornell as part of the Transformational Psychology Track at Holos University. She considered the mandala process to be a form of subtle energy healing. She explained that it was more about the process than the product, with no place for ego, judgment and self criticism. I went on to be trained and certified as a mandala facilitator by Dr. Cornell.
Continuing my mandala journey, I could feel that my healing work was changing. Using the mandala process, I asked for a symbol for the new work I was being called to. The Wholeness Mandala showed up. This became my new logo. I put it up where I saw it often. One day, a light bulb popped up over my head:
If traditional healing cultures placed the patient in the center of the mandala to facilitate healing, what if I visualize myself in the center of my Wholeness Mandala intending to facilitate healing and transformation? Thus, the Wholeness Mandala became the portal through which I had the profound experience of Journeying into the Whole of who I am.
Read more in Subtle Energies Magazine - Summer 2016.
GRAPHIC: The Torus Mandala - Prismacolor pencils on black paper. Created by me in January 2016.
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