A mandala is a sacred circle, a symbol of wholeness. The word mandala comes fromt he Sanskrit for circle,and sacred centre. Another meaning is “essence container.” Mandalas are linked to sacred geometry, psychology and healing, as well as creating a new and better reality (as in Navajo and Tibetan sand-paintings). Mandalas a mainly circular, but they also can be triangles or circles within squares. Art and sacred art worldwide provide many examples. Her are a few: St.Hildgard of Bingen, an 11th century Benedictine abbess painted inticate and exquisite mandala like pictures of her mystical revelations and epiphanies. Chartres Cathedral in France has a labyrinth mandala designed in the floor, which is large enough to be walked to its center. Many Native American designs are mandala-like and used for healing rituals as well as in daily use such as in pottery and basketry. Celtic Knot patterns from the Irish golden era show a belief in the continuity of life and its interconnectedness – human, plants, animals, spirit and creator.
These lovely forms have power and meaning. I use coloring mandalas in my work with troubled youth in crisis as a very effective healing tool. (Thanks to Tia of zaadz for encouraging me this direction.)