Asked Questions about Mandalas, their creation and use
What IS a Mandala?
a circular image designed to reflect the qualities of one-ness
and the universe.
can be drawn, painted or constructed out of grains of sand
on the ground. In fact, if you have a circular picture of
some sort which has been created with a mandala in mind, then
it probably is one!
HERE to view a presentation
about what makes a Mandala. (6Mb Powerpoint file)
Are they connected with any particular religion or spiritual
may have been in times past, but these days a wide range of
faiths, religions and philosophies have and use some form
of mandala . . . although some might not call them that!
whole point is perhaps that a circle is universal and any
spiritual path worth it's salt will want to help us to appreciate
the interconnectedness of all things. Thus a circular image,
whatever the image is actually of, can be considered part
of the message and intent of bringing the spiritual dimension
into the physical dimension.
So it's a matter of Intent? - of creator or user?
with many things in life, it's our conscious intent that determines
whether or not we 'get something out of' a given tool or symbol
. . . such as a mandala.
if an artist is particularly inspired and creates what they
feel is a powerful mandala, it won't work with everyone. Individuals
who are blocked from spiritual experience will just see a
picture in a circle.
'Powerful' mandala? Experience? What DOES a mandala do? How
does is work?
like other recognised spiritual symbols (such as the 'Om'
or Reiki symbols), help us to connect to our higher, spiritual
belief systems would probably describe this as 'connecting
to the divine', but whether this divinity, this universal
consciousness ('God' if you like) is within us, outside of
us or both is up to each of us to decide for ourselves. It's
probably better to enjoy and allow the experience of connection
that a mandala can enable without trying to analyse or understand
it: the whole point is to rise above the limitations of the
when we allow a mandala to engage our soul, and stop trying
(to make it work, or to understand it) then we may (or may
not!) have some sort of 'mystic experience' . . . i.e. a sense
of transcending normal mind and body functions and feeling
'at one' with . . . well, life, the universe and everything!
How do you use a mandala?
are a range of approaches to using mandalas to enable the
divine connection described above:
the simplest (and probably least effective) level, we look
at, focus on or perhaps meditate on a mandala that someone
else has created. In this case the mandala gives focus to
the meditation, giving the mind something to hold it's attention
. . . in the same way as focusing on a lighted candle or chanting
the next level, we might take the outline of a pre-drawn mandala
. . . and colour it in ourselves. Now we're becoming more
directly and personally involved with the mandala and, in
our experience, are more likely to truly engage with it. With
the mandala intent and the outline providing guidance we can
throw ourselves into the creative experience.
suggest however that the best level to use mandalas is to
make your own. You don't have to be an artist and it doesn't
matter what media you use - simple crayons or felt-tip pens
are both easy to use and flexible in what they can produce.
Now we can allow ourselves to be truly inspired, with our
conscious mind busy getting the structure and circular form
correct we're free to be spontaneous in choice of colour,
etc. The more we allow ourselves to enter into the activity,
the more we find we're guided in what we draw . . . and the
more we feel part of the creative process . . . and know it's
a divine as well as artistic past-time.
But WHAT do we draw or paint?
you feel inspired to! If nothing comes to mind, just allow
yourselves to pick up a crayon and allow your hand to be guided.
come in all styles and forms, from a single picture of a Yin-Yang
symbol to a 'seasons' picture to a very precise and detailed
many available mandalas seem to be of the latter sort, looking
more like they've been computer generated, that doesn't mean
this is the way a mandala has to be. On the contrary, I'd
tend to argue that a more 'free form' picture, which isn't
perfect in it's symmetry, is as good if not better than a
Why? Isn't the universe perfect?
indeed, the universe is perfect . . . but when did you last
see a perfect circle or sphere in nature!? Think about it,
the earth is not exactly spherical - it is slightly elliptical (and there is also Mount
Everest to consider!) Likewise none of the orbits of moon,
earth or other planets is a perfect circle . . . always there
are . . . well, imperfections . . . to our rational mind.
This is the reality of the universe we live in. It's our conscious
and conditioned minds that insist on everything being mathematically
perfect. Real life just isn't like that!
to be a true reflection of the universe, our mandala can and
maybe needs to include some lack of symmetry, some free flowing
form . . . rather than being overly controlled by our logical
Some consider mandalas to be 'portals': what does this mean?
that a mandala connects us to the divine in ourselves and
the universe at large, then through a mandala we're becoming
part of a far greater whole. We can certainly consider that
it IS a portal to 'other dimensions of space-time'. if you'd
like to interpret that as connecting us to another galaxy
or to communion with beings from other other planets, that's
just a matter of belief and choice of words to describe your
only fact here is that a mandala can enable some wonderful
'out of this world' experiences, often accompanied by feelings
of deep calm and fulfilment. Anyone who has had such a mandala
experience can share this sense of wonderment . . . but may
not want to share your belief that it came from another galaxy!
a similar way, some creators of mandalas will tell us that
they've channelled them from some other dimension. To them,
they have. They've also probably had a deep sense of connection
in the process. Whatever! If the mandala has been genuinely
inspired, then it will be both a powerful symbol and inspiring
work of art.
So mandalas are where art and spirit meet?
I like to emphasised how art can enable spiritual development
and and sense of divine connection . . . and how
a spiritual dimension to a creative process can bring about
truly great and inspired work of art. It's about bringing
heart and soul into our painting (writing, etc.) . . . and
How can I find our more?
exploring the various books and web-sites on mandalas, you'll
get a feel for which traditions of mandalas appeal to you
and the level (see Q5) you're ready to engage with them. Then
it's up to you: Go and do what your heart and soul guide you
What can I expect from one of Keith's Mandala Workshop?
a Life Guide, Keith uses a range of Healing Art techniques
(amongst others) in many of he consultations sessions and
workshops. Where we've agreed to include mandala work, his
focus is to enable you to appreciate the above features of
mandalas . A typical Mandala session might include:
audio-visual presentation illustrating the range in form
and content of mandalas
your own creation of a mandala
of any questions and experiences that arise from the above
you to use Mandalas, back home, in a way that's right
and helpful for you in your own life and in relation to
other practices, personal growth work, etc.
sessions use work by Portugal based artist Liz
Allen to show a wide range of mandala paintings possibilities.
HERE to view a presentation
about what makes a Mandala (6Mb PowerPoint file),
featuring Liz's artwork
Return to FAQ Index
Go to Home Page