Why mandalas are a great hobby

On the verge of a new lockdown it is time to dust off pencils and markers: it’s mandala time.

During March and April confinement, mandala making has become one of the most favourite pastimes all over the world, able to both relax and stimulate creativity. But where does it come from?

First mandalas appeared in the 1st century B.C. in India and spread through Asia as the Buddhist monks travelled through the silk way.

In fact, we have evidence of mandalas in Tibet, china and japan by the 4th century. 

The name Mandala is Sanskrit for circle, as they are, in their most basic form, circles within a square and arranged into sections organized around a single central point.

The combination of geometric patterns, religious symbolism and layers of meaning create a deep representation of spiritual and universal wholeness, which was translated in the XXth century in the human’s mind wholeness by psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

We can affirm that mandalas are a great source of reflection on one’s soul and mind and mandala therapy is recognised as a psychological therapy.

As it is therapeutical, there are no rules to be followed when you create your mandala, and the shapes and the colours you choose will reflect your inner self at the creation time.

It will be a portrait of yourself only valid in that specific moment.

As Jung identifies in his theories (the development of personality), the human mind recognises collective archetypes, which can also be found in Mandalas.

For instance, a wheel with eight spokes (representing a perfect universe), a bell (openness), a triangle (action or creativity depending on where they face), a lotus flower (balance) or a sun (life and energy).

It always depends on what is the purpose of the mandala you are making, as there are 3 main types of mandalas:

  1. Teaching: each shape, line and colour represents a different aspect of a philosophical or religious system. They are mental maps for students who project a visual representation of what they’ve learnt.
  2. Healing: they are made for meditating and are supposed to deliver wisdom, evoke feelings of calm and channel focus and concentration.
  3. Sand: those mandalas are made of sand and represent the impermanence of human life. There is an example in episode 17 of the 30th season of the Simpson, where the family creates and destroy a salt mandala just to realize that the attachment to physical stuff is pointless.

Grab a pencil and let your mind wander, relax and enjoy your mandala!

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