Discovering the Mandala

“The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance….The mind is a microcosm representing various divine powers at work in the universe. The mandala represents the nature of the Pure Land, Enlightened mind” – Wikipedia on the Mandala

An Ancient Mandala

Years ago in the late 80’s when I started writing the stories that would form my Phantammeron fantasy series I would occasionally start drawing and illustrating characters and events in the books as they were written down. There were hundreds of them!

I had been reading a lot of Irish myths at the SMU library and had gotten engaged in the ancient imagery of the Celts when suddenly I started drawing these circular celtic designs over and over.

Later I was reading Carl Jung’s work on human psychology and he discussed this idea that the “Mandala” images so popular around the world were in effect the symbol of the Human Self bringing back into it the wholeness of the “God-Self” that hides at one’s center, the piece of us that so desperately desires to be whole and one again through religious experience.

This wasn’t any silly new age religious mumbo-jumbo but pure psychological stuff surrounding the mythology of the Self. It turns out that many people engage in the Modern World are placed into the “roles” they play and are often trapped in the Ego or the Self that is not whole. They feel empty like something is missing. This is the mind seeking deeper meaning that is often not there in the modern life we live.

The purpose of the use of symbols like the Mandala is to reflect back the human need for wholeness…..seeking more through the love of a Creator found in one’s faith, love of our children and family, overcoming health or financial struggles, or in finding creativity beyond the pressures of the Modern World. The mandala symbol tries to collect all of those experience and merge them to the bigger path of our lives beyond this world and the search for meaning in it and beyond it. The mandala symbol applies to people all over the world.

But we simply have to find our own mandala first in order to connect to it. And so years ago I found myself searching for my own symbols instinctively as a young man questioning the Modern World. The mythological stories I was designing connected me back to it beyond my shallower life at the time. But the mandala designs over time were the expression of my inner spiritual journey and re-connection back to my ancestors, the ancients that had also sought wisdom and meaning in the past.

The Mandala is a “universal archetype” according to Jung and a means to identify the Godliness of the Self that has meaning and power and divinity, beyond all life. And so I realized it was always there in me. It’s always there in all of us.

So when these strange circular designs or cosmic images appear in your life or are viewed in an old book, do not reject them. They are not just ancient art forms, or healing symbols, or phony religious delusions. They are a reflection of the universe in ourselves. Its the mirror of the vast myth of the Self and the cosmos that lies beneath the Self. These circular designs in art or dreams or even story represent some deep religious meaning and purpose that connects us and our vast universe of myth and story, and the story of the world, back to the wholeness of it all inside us. When we develop our mandala and listen to its call, we then become whole and no longer fractured.

As Modern people we need to pass through the gateway of the shallow Self through our deeper stories, myths, and meaning that the Mandala alone, as gateways, allows us to enter and finally access.

– the Author

Created Jan 13, 2017, 4:58 PM

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