Mandala Symbols

Mandala drawing is a great way to get in touch with what’s going on inside you through symbols, imagery and circles.

For those not in the know, a mandala, is a geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically. But mandalas don’t have to represent only the cosmos “out there”, they can also be meaningful images of your “inner cosmos”. In other words – what’s going on inside you.

Art Therapist, Joan Kellogg, spent a lot of time building a system to understand the wisdom behind mandalas. She believed that the specific shapes or patterns people include in their mandalas usually corresponded to their overall condition emotionally, physically and spiritually at the time of the drawing.

Carl Jung put it a little simpler when he said mandalas are “a representation of the unconscious self.” In addition to making his own mandalas, he also incorporated them into his therapy as he believed they were a projection of the psyche and represented a safe place of the mind, and a movement towards growth and healing.

Therefore the solitary act of drawing a mandala can be incredibly therapeutic when you’re going through challenging circumstances or when you just want to connect with your subsconscious.

The Mandala Challenge

To see what kinds of symbols and patterns emerge, and find out what’s going on in our inner cosmos, why not make a mandala everyday for a week? This is a fun (and colorful!) way to look inside of you. Here’s all you need to do:

How To Draw A Mandala

1. Supplies
A set of colored pencils or oil pastels for drawing, paper, a ruler, and something round (a plate or compass will do) for making the circle.

2. Size
Start with a 10-inch diameter circle, but feel free to go larger if you want.

3. Experiment
If you’re using pastels, you can also experiment with black paper. This adds a totally different dimension and feel to your mandala.

4. Mood
Since this is a kind of meditative activity, you might want to create a nice mood with pleasing music and an uncluttered space.

5. Begin
Once you’ve drawn the circle, try not to over-analyze. Just select colors and draw shapes and images intuitively, based on what makes you feel good or what inspires you.

After the week, lay out all your mandalas and just sit with them for awhile. Notice which symbols and patterns tend to repeat, which ones changed or morphed over the week. Most importantly, notice what feelings or memories or thoughts those patterns inspire in you.

Do you draw mandalas to get in touch with your thoughts? Tell us what your “common design” is (if you have one) and whether it takes you into a meditative like state when you draw them.