Creating Space for Healing

Making a Mandala

by Church Health Reader Editors

The psychiatrist Carl Jung used circular drawings in his own practice and with his patients. He discovered the mandala, or circular designs that are symbols of deep truth, and its use throughout cultures, generations and religious groups. Similar to the labyrinth, Jung thought that mandalas served as instruments of meditation to intensify one’s concentration on the inner self in order to achieve meaningful experiences. Jung imagined a practical use of the mandala in Western culture to parallel its importance in Eastern cultures. It represents the world, our birth, our death and our own self. In her book Creating Mandalas: For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression, Suzanna Fischer introduces the reader to the circular designs known as mandalas. She then shows the reader how to make their own, offering guidance on choosing art materials and techniques. She discusses the symbolism of colors, numbers, shapes, and motifs (such as birds and flowers) that appear in mandalas, and she also presents several illustrated case histories of people who have successfully used her techniques. How to Create Your Mandala:

  1. Select your materials, which can be clay, stone, paint, pencils, flowers, sand, cloth, etc., as well as paper.
  2. Find a quiet space to work and place the materials before you. You may wish to increase the atmosphere with candles or music. Take a few minutes to center or calm yourself, close your eyes and pay attention to the shapes, colors, and images you see.
  3. Select the colors you will want to use. They may be colors you saw during your centering time, or perhaps you are drawn to a certain color. Then, draw the circle that will encase your mandala.
  4. With as little thought as possible, begin to fill in the space inside your circle with your chosen materials. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so don’t feel like you have to color every space or draw a certain image of something. Continue this until you feel you are done.
  5. Once you have finished, consider where the top of your mandala is. Turn the drawing around and select how you want to orientate the image. Mark the top of your mandala with a t.
  6. In one corner, write the date of your mandala. In another corner, make a list of each of the colors you used, and in another write down some of the primary images or shapes in your mandala.

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