Wednesday 13 August 2008

Mandalas: Spiritual Circles

Mandalas are traditional Buddhist meditation aids. They are symbolic maps of the universe through which one can take a visual journey from the edge to the centre, to find harmony with the world and within ourselves.

These spiritual pictures have parallels in many cultures and belief systems, and the term mandala is often used for beautiful art with a spiritual purpose used as an aid to contemplation.

Last week I was given a lovely little book about mandalas, which I would recommend to anyone who wanted an introduction to the subject. Mandalas. Spiritual Circles for Harmony and Fulfilment., by Laura J Watts, is a slim book, well written and with plenty of lovely pictures.

It describes a mandala as a sacred space, often a circle, which reveals some inner truth about yourself or the world around you. The first half of the book describes spiritual traditions of mandalas, such as Native American sand paintings, Hindu yantras, Celtic designs and Christian stained glass windows, as well as ways in which they can be used as psychological aids to personal discovery.

The second half explains how to create mandalas. It has step-by-step guides to drawing and colouring them as well as appropriate meditations. There are even some templates at the back to photocopy, if you are feeling particularly inept with a ruler, compass and pencil.

Mandalas. Spiritual Circles for Harmony and Fulfilment, by Laura J Watts was published by Select Editions in 2000 and costs £3.99.

Mandalas. Spiritual Circles for Harmony and Fulfilment.

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