17 January 2010

Beautiful Mandalas

Have you heard of Mandalas?  If not, keep reading...

Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल maṇḍala "essence" + "having" or "containing", also translates as "circle-circumference" or "completion"  (from Wikipedia)

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.  (from The Mandala Project)

The mandala pattern can be found in thousands of things in nature... think flowers, the cross section of an orange, spider webs, snowflakes, atoms etc...

"Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.

In ancient Tibet, as part of a spiritual practice, monks created intricate mandalas with colored sand made of crushed semiprecious stones. The tradition continues to this day as the monks travel to different cultures around the world to create sand mandalas and educate people about the culture of Tibet.

The creation of a sand mandala requires many hours and days to complete. Each mandala contains many symbols that must be perfectly reproduced each time the mandala is created. When finished, the monks gather in a colorful ceremony, chanting in deep tones as they sweep their mandala into a jar and empty it into a nearby body of water as a blessing. This action also symbolizes symbolizes the cycle of life." (from The Mandala Project)

An example of a Buddhist Sand Mandala from Wikipedia

How amazing is that?!  You can also upload your own mandalas to the gallery at The Mandala Project, which is "a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting peace through art and education."

I was first introduced to Manadalas a couple of years ago in Spain.  A friend was buying some Mandala books for herself to colour in and I thought they looked fascinating and beautiful... especially for someone like me who seems to have a fixation on things being perfectly balanced and visually symmetrical. 

I find colouring in Mandalas to be very calming and a great way to keep the creative juices flowing on a small scale.  All you need is a little book and some colouring pencils and away you go... great for long flights or when you just need some calming time out.

Here in Spain, you can often find little mandala colouring books, but I had a hard time finding any in Australia and New Zealand.  If you are interested in giving them a try though, you can download free mandala pages and print them out to colour in here and here.

Another mandala idea I just came across recently is to create your own mandalas using stickers.  Here is an example of one that Lauren at Biz Miss has created using store bought stickers.  Isn't it great?!  She also has some sticker mandala prints for sale in her Etsy shop that would be great in kids rooms. 

Happy Saturday!

Arabella Chickie in Palma de Mallorca


Anonymous said...

Lovely post! Thanks for including me!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous stuff Arabella! I'm quite addicted and get many hours of joy out of my Mandala collection.