History & Culture of Mandalas

Mandalas are a circular art form found in many different religions, throughout history and incorporated into today’s world. The word ‘mandala’ originates from the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’, and is thought to originate in the Far East. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it is a symbol that represents the Universe. The circle is a strong symbol which many different civilizations have been aware of and used. It can represent never-ending cycles in nature, with the rising and setting of the sun, and the annual cycle of the seasons. Our world is built of circular objects from the Sun, Moon and Earth itself, down to the cells and atoms that make up each individual piece of the universe.

Buddhists, Hindus, Tibetans and Native Americans have used Mandalas in their practice of mediation, prayer and healing for thousands of years. From extremely detailed paintings to sand drawings, these are used as a form of focus and for meditative purposes. Within Christianity, circular artwork can be found as well; an example of this is the Rose Window in Notre Dome Cathedral.

Today, Mandalas are used in meditation and prayer. They can provide a sense of peace, well-being and wholeness. Meditation using mandalas can be done by drawing the symmetrical forms, by adding color to pre-drawn mandalas or by using finished mandalas to help gain focus. Mandalas come in all shapes and sizes, colors and mediums.

As an artist who focuses on the mandalas, they provide a sense of peace and well being to me. As a child I was drawn to this form though I didn’t know what it was called. My recognition of what I was drawing only came a couple of years ago, and since then I have developed my personal style. Mandalas give me a focus for my art and I gain an incredible sense of accomplishment drawing them. Each mandala is unique and the forms I create within them as well. The mandalas I draw develop as I work and the process is very organic.  The theme reveals itself as I finish.  I see them with new eyes myself when I finish.  Each person has definite favorites.  These are the ones I encourage people to have in their house. I also like to believe that by not adding my own meaning to the mandala that a person can see and form their own meaning that is significant to them.

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