Mandala As A Spiritual Exercise
A Mandala is a powerful spiritual exercise which can help you to . . .
- gain insight into yourself,
- befriend your shadow aspects,
- harmonize your body, mind, and soul,
- calm the mind into a meditative state,
- increase focus and concentration,
- offer teachings and wisdom from your Inner Guide,
- increase self-esteem and self-confidence,
- express - and enhance - your creativity,
- foster physical and emotional healing.
But this is merely the icing on the sacred cake.
The value of drawing and coloring mandalas is that they can connect you with your Divine Source - the Goddess Within and the God Without.
This is what makes it a valuable spiritual exercise, even for Wiccans (who don't come from a tradition that made sacred art in this way).
In Wicca, as in any mystical spiritual tradition, this connection to the Divine is a source of power and joy. It is the inspiration and the purpose of spirituality.
Using pens or paints is a fun and gratifying way to foster this connection.
What Is A Mandala?
Typically, they are circular artworks (often within a square framework) with a spiritual context. In Sanskrit, the word means circle, or completion.
They are often symmetrical and geometrical in design, as seen in this sandpainting, created by Tibetan monks. They are using a language of symbols. Each element, each color, each direction has a particular meaning to them.
In the Tibetan view, they are creating an image of the perfect Universe, a 2-dimensional temple that they can enter through meditation.
But for the purposes of spiritual exercise, you will be creating a personal temple. You can work with any shape, designs, colors, and symbols that calls to you.
(I recommend starting with a circle so you can get the feel of it. I've created a free printable mandala template page, to get you started.)
Sacred Circles have been created in many cultures, and various forms. They also form in nature. Ice crystals, seashells, galaxies . . . Even the Earth may be seen as one -- enormously complex and beautifully 3-dimensional.
They are tools and symbols of healing and well-being.
They can help you understand yourself, know your Path, and re-create yourself to align with your highest potential.
They are traditionally thought to be a symbolic depiction of the Universe, as a link between the physical world and the Divine realm. You can think of them as holograms . . . a tiny piece of the universe, which shows within its colorful borders . . . a microcosm of all existence.
So in creating one, you are portraying your spiritual Source - the essence of your Self.
Just as every piece of a hologram contains a picture of the whole, this is a depiction of your inner self reflects the whole Divinity of which you are a part.
Creating Your Mandalas
The process of creating a personal mandala is an art meditation. But don't let the term "art" scare you off.
The first thing to know about any spiritual exercise is this . . .
No artistic talent is necessary.
We've all been trained by our society that only "artists" can create, and the rest of us poor menials should sit on the sidelines and applaud them. This is absolute hog manure!
Everyone has a birthright of creativity. You are a spark of the Divine - the most creative power ever. You inherited some of that creativity.
So set aside the inner critic who criticizes your creative expressions. Don't listen to his voice. It's important to allow yourself the opportunity to play.
As Robert Pike says, "Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you have."
How To Start
First you need the right tools.
Then, like any meditation or creative task, this takes some time. Set aside an hour for a small one . . . three hours so you don't feel rushed on a large one. These times are just estimates. After drawing a few of them, you'll have an idea how long it takes you. You may be a lot faster than I am!
Make yourself a quiet, undisturbed space. You may want to listen to music, or mantra, or silence.
Be aware that if you're playing music, your meditation will reflect your response to it, perhaps more than it reflects your inner space. So for a pure art meditation, mantra or silence is best.
Prepare your "canvas." If you're using a template or stencil to map out the sections, you may tape it underneath your working paper, as a guide.
NOTE: A free printable mandala template page can be downloaded here.
If you've looked at pictures, you may have some ideas for shapes and designs. These are easily found by an online image search, or check out this site. (Opens new window.) I found it useful to get ideas from others when I began, because I didn't really know where to start.
Look at the colors you have available. Pick one that you're drawn to. Hold it near the paper, until you have a feeling where you'd like to have that color.
When you feel a hint of inspiration, go with it.
Avoid judging it, or trying to make it look a certain way. Part of the magick of drawing and coloring a mandala is that it can be a clear expression of your soul, if you set your thinking brain aside for a while.
This is what makes art a meditation.
Let the creativity flow through you, without trying to control it.
Remember . . .
"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. You're never good at anything at first."
When you've finished, you may want to paste your finished piece into your journal, or hang it for a few days first, somewhere you will see it but others won't.
Now you come to (what I feel is) the best part . . . Reading and interpreting the design, like you would interpret dreams.
P.S. Remember to download your free printable mandala template.
With Brightest Blessings,
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Coloring Mandalas as Spiritual Practice
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