Alchemy Mandala

I particularly like this mandala, especially the milk white kundalini serpent coiled up on the inside of the circle. The image is a snapshot of a man, any man, or woman, achieving enlightenment, the Buddha is there just for the symbolism of enlightenment. The horns on the backs of the dragons are supposed to be hair, and you can also see the persons’ nose at the very tip of the mandala. The sun and moon represent the passing of time, they could also represent the alchemical images of the unity of the sun and moon; also the sun symbolises masculine (conscious) energy, while the moon symbolises feminine (unconscious) energy. The two faces on either side of the mandala represent the ego and the id. The face on the left is of the ego, it is shaped like an adults face and represents the adult personality of the ego which is to tame the id. The face on the right is the id, it is shaped like a childs face and represents the childlike persona of the id, which is to satisfy it’s immediate urges and be present.

Below: Text taken from my mandala diary: 1st of April 2011
“This mandala was inspired by Ram Dass’ book ‘Be Here Now’, it depicts the Buddha reaching enlightenment under the naga (snake like being) Mucalinda who came from beneath the earth and sheltered the Buddha.  The naga used its’ hood to protect the Buddha from the elements which torrented down from the sky for 7 days after his enlightenment. The image of this scene in my mandala is contained in a light bulb to symbolise the enlightenment.

Inside the lightbulb is the devanagari (Indian script) symbol for OM or AUM which is synonymous with the absolute, and is all the sounds in the universe condensed into one. The word means one, or unity and refers to the connectedness of everything and everyone. The Mandukya Upanishad states that the ‘A’ in AUM refers to the waking state of consciousness, the ‘U’ refers to the state of dreams, the ‘M’ refers to the state of deep sleep’, while as a whole, AUM refers to the fourth transcendental state of consciousness (enlightenment). OM is the reflection of the absolute reality, God, the self, the void and the life energy (shakti). This is surrounded by a circle which is a symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity.

The moon (blue line – female energy) and the sun (red line – male energy), surrounds the circle and is beaming rays of sunlight which also resemble snakes. Inside the mandala is a white snake, which represents the kundalini serpent – the dormant energy resting in our inner caves, waiting to be woken up to attain enlightenment (Hindu mythology). You could say that the naga snake coming out of the ground to protect the Buddha (Buddhist mythology) is symbolic of the kundalini snake rising in an enlightened ones’ body, after all ‘Buddha’ just means ‘awakened one’, prior to waking up he was just Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakya clan.

The mandala is contained by another circle, in the form of a dragon eating its own tail. This dragon is called the ouroboros which is an alchemical symbol that represents something constantly recreating itself, the eternal cycle of the universe – creation out of destruction, life out of death – the ouroboros eats his own tail to sustain its’ life, in an eternal cycle of renewal. Jung saw the ouroboros as an archetype and the basic mandala of alchemy or self individuation.

“the alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. The ouroboros has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia (first matter – the original material from which the universe is created, which an alchemist must possess as the first ingredient in creating the philosopher’s stone, but simply acquiring the prima materia is a success of ‘the great work’. So, like the ouroboros, the prima materia is both the beginning and the end of the alchemists work) of the art was man himself. The ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e the shadow. This ‘feed-back’ process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertiles himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolises the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which… unquestionably stems from man’s unconscious” – Carl Jung – Psychology and Alchemy

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