Mandalas have been used as a part of spiritual contemplation, ritual, and self discovery since ancient times. Spanning across many cultures, the use of mandalas in architecture, art, and sculpture shows that all humans share common concerns, experiences, and curiosity as to their place in the world. Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw mandalas as evidence of a dynamic urge towards individuation--the process where an individual carves out a unique identity.
An American art therapist named Joan Kellogg, in association with psychiatrist Francisco DiLeo, conceptualized 12 stages of growth and development that the human psyche cycles through in a lifetime. A visit to each of these stages of consciousness helps us work through challenges, clarify our understanding, and resolve unfinished business. Kellogg's model is called Archetypal States of the Great Round of Mandala, known as "the Great Round" for short.
Squaring the Circle
Gates of Death
Kellogg later found it necessary to add a 13th: Stage 0, Clear Light. In her book Creating Mandalas, Fincher elaborates on Kellogg's model more extensively. In Coloring Mandalas 2 - For Balancing, Harmony, and Spiritual Well-Being, Fincher concentrates on Stage 9, Crystallization. All 72 mandalas in this book are associated with the completion of a cycle of growth that began in the Void (Stage 1). Often resembling crystals, mandalas from the Crystallization stage celebrate our achievements, as well as resting in the pleasure of having fulfilled a personal creative inspiration. Crystallization is also a time of significant spiritual understanding, when our spiritual nature comes together in harmony with our physical nature.
Last Sunday, my husband, son, and myself spent the afternoon coloring mandalas. It was a very peaceful, sacred, and creative time for us. My son colored a mandala from Fincher's first book, while II worked on a mandala from Coloring Mandalas 2 (below):
My husband is an artist, and chose a blank circle to create his particular mandala. I found it interesting that there is an eye in the center of his mandala, especially since it's believed that the "I" is at the center of a mandala. The center is the place of "Christ within", the "Higher Self", or spirit. My mandala and the colors I chose represented, to me, the spectrum of light as demonstrated in a rainbow. Our experiences are polychromatic, and a part of that palatte includes the duality of black/white and Yin/Yang. (The center circle was blank, but I chose to make it a Yin/Yang symbol.) Also, the colors of the 7 chakras are represented in the traditional colors of the rainbow. In my humanness, I often fluctuate between the non-dualistic All-Is-One and the dualism of either/or. Coloring Mandalas 2 - For Balancing, Harmony, and Spiritual Well-Being is a spiral bound book, so you can easily flip the pages while coloring. You can use any medium you wish, including colored pencils, chalk, temperas, acrylics, crayons, markers, and so on. For ours, we used watercolor pencils. Watercolor pencils are an interesting medium, because you can use a paintbrush dipped in water to achieve a variety of effects.
"I have chosen to focus on Crystallization mandalas in this book because they embody peace, joy, and fulfillment. Spending time with these mandalas can be relaxing. Coloring them can provide a soothing balance for hectic lifestyles. Interacting with Crystallization mandalas may also help you develop your ability to access a calm state of mind more easily, whenver you choose to. And some of you may look beyond the patterns you see in these mandalas to experience the spiritual energy that inspired them."
The Crystallization process promotes a deep feeling of satisfaction about your labors of love and the life you are creating, as well as peace and clarity of mind. I hope you get as much out of this book as I do.
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