This is probably my favourite mandala, and it’s my most recent. It depicts the 7 chakras (energy centers in Yogic tradition) of the human body, and a kundalini serpent that has woken up from the root chakra (which appears to be choking the man… that was an accident!) The whole thing was drawn in pencil, except for the outlines and the fire which was done with paint, to capture its untamed nature. I like this mandala because of its contrast between the still and meditative man and the minimalistic patterns, to the roaring fire surrounding him.
This was the most difficult mandala for me to draw, as it wasn’t spontaneous, but rather very geometric and precise. To get a sri yantra right is quite a difficult process, and I abused the hell out of a lot of erasers in the process! If you want to try drawing one yourself, or are just curious as to how tech the process is! Check out this site.
After I finally finished drawing this beast I was too afraid to colour it in! I drew the actual sri yantra on a different type of paper and pasted it in my glossy paged mandala journal, it gives it a nice effect in my opinion, and helps the geometric design to stand out in all it’s complicated yet beautiful glory! The yellow petals were done in watercolour, and the rest is coloured in pencil. This mandala is still incomplete.
P.S I’ve decided to wing it, pictures below..
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 is the second mandala I ever drew, I drew it in my cousins sketch book to inspire him to start drawing his own, which he did! I’m sure he’ll upload his own mandalas as well (they’re very good!) and you can check them out at his blog silly reverie.
This is a scan of the original, and I don’t know what the hell happened with the green water stain; that wasn’t intentional, I think I spilled my drink on it accidentally, but it looks cool! Also, this is my 100th post, hooray for me! If this blog were a TV series it would have jumped the shark by now, or you would start seeing the same episodes over and over again. Maybe I’ll just re post old posts from now on…?
Text taken from my mandala diary: 1st of April 2011
This is the first mandala I ever drew. I drew it after reading Carl Jung’s book on dreams, on the very last page.
I drew this mandala after a long meditation, and decided I wanted to draw the Buddha. The image of the Buddha meditating on a mountain top came to me in a mushroom hallucination in Indonesia a year or so prior. I was having a bad trip and my cousin decided to show me some yoga to help me snap out of it, I watched him carefully and attempted to follow the yoga positions and immediately felt the bad trip dissipate; it was as though the negative feelings were a small, tight ball of energy, and the yoga helped release it more evenly throughout my body. Even with my eyes closed I could still clearly see my cousin showing me the postures, in the blackness a super vivid image of a holy man meditating on the tip of a mountain appeared, I then flew inside his body and became him; I could hear the wind whistling around me, and then I was the mountain top, finally I opened my eyes and was me again. I’ll never forget that moment.
Mandalas (meaning “circle” in Sanskrit) are an important element in Buddhist and Hindu spirituality; they are symbolic diagrams, which are used extensively in sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation. A typical mandala is of a circle enclosed within a square, which has four gates – one on each side. The gates are often depicted as being guarded by demons or deities, while a bodhisattva is usually found in the center circle. The famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, through his exploration of Eastern mysticism, came to the conclusion that mandalas are a snapshot of the unconscious mind – he believed that drawing mandalas had psychological importance due to their ability to identify fractures in personality and work towards psychic wholeness.
“Mandalas… usually appear in situations of psychic confusion and disorientation. The archetype thereby constellated represents a pattern of order which, like a psychological ‘view-finder’ marked with a cross or circle divided into four, is superimposed on the psychic chaos so that each content falls into place and the weltering confusion is held together by the protective circle… At the same time they are yantras, instruments with whose help the order is brought into being.” – Carl Jung (Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works, Vol. 10, par. 803.)
Mandalas are used widely as tools for entering meditative states of higher consciousness, simply drawing one is a meditation in itself, but actually meditating on the completed image is where all the power is. Ram Dass speaks about mandalas in a lecture he gave to a group of psychotherapists at the Menninger Foundation in 1970, he says:
“In Tibet, for example, they use what are called tonkas. If you go to a doctor in TIbet, instead of giving you a prescription like, “Pick these herbs by a damp rock” or “Go to your local pharmacy and get…” Instead of doing that, he often may give you a tonka, a mandala, to take home and put up on your wall and meditate upon. Now this is really far out, you see, because here’s your doctor, you go to him because you’ve got headaches, or because you’re depressed, or because you’ve got fear… and he gives you a piece of paper to stick up on your wall and meditate on. Now you’d say, ‘Well, that’s pretty primitive.” But wait a moment, just assume, for example, that they’re not all nuts, see, and they’re not all naive. And you go and sort of sit down in front of this paper and figure out what it’s about.
After a while you learn that the way these are designed is such that you put your focal attention on the entire mandala, which is a circle within a square and the square has gates, four gates. And then pretty soon your attention – you just let yourself be with that thing, let all other thoughts go and just stay with it – pretty soon, your attention is drawn in through the gates and in and in to the inner circle and into the innermost circle where there is a specific design or being or something and when you come in and in and in, you then experience the inner circle as something like a long tube. It takes on a depth, and as you stay with that inner circle you get drawn, literally drawn, your awareness gets drawn through that tube and you get drawn from that tube into, literally another frequency of vibration.
It is as though that model in the center of that little circle changes your consciousness because you have brought your consciousness down to just that circle. It’s like, if you go into the Fillmore Auditorium and there are huge rock and roll bands and twenty-five slide projectors and an overloading of the stimulus field, that will take your consciousness into another place.Now, you can struggle against it, and say, “Oh, I’m getting a headache and I’ve got to get out of here. I mean, they’re not feeding me linear information.” [laughs] Or you can say, “Well, here goes,” and just sort of surrender into this and then there is a new level of consciousness where you are experiencing all these things… in a Gestalt form, rather than in linear separate components. You’ve given up one type of analytic thought because it’s not adaptive at that moment. Well, a mandala, very much like what’s called faith healing, is based on the idea that “mind manifests in matter” and that if you change the nature of the vibrations or the nature of the level of consciousness, you’ll find certain levels of consciousness where certain illnesses don’t exist. What a faith healer does is use his own vibrational rate to bring you to another vibrational rate. That’s the way that process works.”
Buddhist monks often meditate on the mandala, and the teachings that are contained within it until they can conjure up the mandala in their mind’s eye without needing to physically see it. As all mandalas have a center point, looking at it can also be used as a method of centering the self, and one’s place in the universe. Tibetan Buddhists use mandalas as a method of meditating on the impermanent nature of reality, one of the Buddhas main teachings. They do this by creating large and intricate mandalas out of coloured sand, a process which can take days, and then destroying it upon completion, usually by brushing it up and depositing it’s remains into the sea.
Drawing mandalas is very simple, and is a very relaxing form of meditation. Simply draw a dot on a page: this will become the center of the mandala, or the bindu point as they call it in India. From there you may draw a circle around that dot. From that point on it is completely up to you what you do with it, as long as the pattern is fairly symmetric. You can draw more circles, a square or two, maybe even a triangle, and then you can fill it with patterns and colour it to your hearts content. Generally no two mandalas are the same, and each time you draw one it will reflect your current mental state; it will take a snapshot of your unconscious in a similar way as writing down a dream you just had upon awakening. By meditating on your mandalas, you can center your unconscious mind without ever needing to become conscious of it. Therefore it is more powerful than dream analysis, and takes less effort. It is a good idea to date your mandalas, so that you may look back on them, and see the progression of your psyche. If you want to know more about the history of mandalas, or are curious to know the symbolism of various shapes, patterns and colours found in mandalas, then I highly recommend this book – it is the book I personally use. If you would like to see some of the mandalas I have drawn, you can check them out at the following link – my mandala collection.