Mandalas have been drawn and used by many societies, all over the world, for centuries.  Here are examples: Labyrinth, Stonehenge, Petroglyphs, Tibetan sand paintings, Native American medicine wheel.

Zen Doodle Mandalas, by Karen Perral Campbell

  • A mandala is:
  • -an icon of our journey to wholeness
  • -a symbol of inner transformation
  • -shows our unlimited potential continuing to reveal itself
  • Creating mandalas can:
  • -help you relax
  • -trust your own creativity
  • -increase self-awareness
  • -make peace with imperfection
  • -feel gratitude for this beautiful world and your part in it
  • experience the fun and healing in creative expression

A Poem

You must give birth to your images.

They are the future waiting to be born.

Fear not the strangeness you feel.

The future must enter you long before it happens.

Just wait for the birth, for the hour of the new clarity.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Making your mandala (Use a pen; no erasing!  Learn to love our imperfections.)

Trace around something round to make your circle.

Adding lines.  If you can make these letters, you can draw these designs.

  1. Draw a line like a string from top to bottom or side to side. 
  2. Mirror that string line, creating a “vessel” (top to bottom or side to side)
  3. Draw lines on either side of that vessel.  Pause. 
  4. Emphasize those lines by drawing another line just below them. Pause again.
  5. Slowly add spirals, semi-circles, lines, dots -whatever seems right.  Enjoy the process.  Stop whenever your drawing seems complete.

Colors and gratitude. 

Sit with your drawing for a moment or two.

Notice what draws you in or where you feel uncomfortable.  Just notice.  No judgment.

Ask which colors have the most energy for which shape or “shimmer” for you.

Slowly color your mandala in an easy way, pausing between colors to notice what is happening.

When your mandala feels complete, pause for a few moments of gratitude for what has come forth.

Notice/Wonder into 

What draws you in?  What seems shimmering?  What seems disconcerting, cold?  Try not to analyze, but simply be with and wonder. 

Choose intuitive over traditional methods of working with your completed mandala.

Nourish               Rather than                                       Analyze

Explore                                                                      Interpret

Imagine                                                                     Identify

Play with                                                                   Work on

Sustain the mystery                                                    Figure out

Appreciate                                                                 Understand

Participate                                                                 Observe

Paint, collage, move, write, music                               Decide

Expand                                                                     Summarize

Ponder over time and into time.  As in dreams and meditations, more meanings and feelings may emerge over time.  Don’t force the process, just look at your work, then notice and wonder over time.  

The mystery showed me in images what I should afterward live.  I did not possess any of these boons that the mystery showed me, for I still had to earn all of them. Karl Jung

II.    CELTIC SPIRITUALITY: Nature, Spirit, Imagination

-Great story-tellers, imaginers, dreamers

-A Threshold People.  Celts, both pre-Christian and Christian, loved nature and found God in every tiny and grand part of the world.  They especially valued journeying into darkness in order to find truths and bring them to light   Consequently, they loved the land between darkness and land, the threshold, the time of twilight.

-Nature was seen as a source of Spirit.  People sought to interact with Nature – rather than dominate it – to experience the Divine.

-Imagination was thought of as a necessary human function of engaging with the Creator as ones who also create.  We become co-creators, co-imaginers

Write an Imaginative Encounter.  Trees were especially sacred to Celts.  Their roots delved into the rich darkness of the earth, bringing up nourishment for branch and leaf, which then stretched toward heaven.                                            

 I’d like us to write a paragraph of an imagined encounter with a tree – your favorite tree from childhood, or a favorite tree at a relative’s house, or a tree you still see or visit today.  Choose one.  Then imagine there is something magical about this tree.  You may feel called to speak to it, or ask it a question.  Some who’ve done this writing imagined an elf or gnome who took them inside the tree, either down to the roots or up to the branches.  You might simply climb the tree and notice a completely changed landscape as you look out from the “crow’s nest.” – an almost magical land.  This is just a 4-minute foray into setting your imagination free.  Ready, set, go -WRITE. 

III. Choose an Examen question to take with you and ponder.  Ignatius of Loyola was a 16thcentury soldier who experienced a conversation and eventually found the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.  He was a keen observer of human nature and came up with a simple method to end each day with God – thinking of your best and worst moments and handing both to God.  Two spiritual directors in Indianapolis, David and Beth Booram, have expanded his questions and put them on a deck of cards.  I’m inviting you to choose one of the six I’ve chosen to take with you as you leave our tea party.  The three steps are: (1) Recognize where God is present and active, (2) Reflect on what God’s movement is stirring in you; (3) Prayerfully consider how you want to Respond.

  • What evocative dreams have I had recently that need to be explored?
  • What theme or symbol am I drawn toward that I need to pay attention to?
  • What have I encountered recently that could be described as a shimmering attraction?
  • Has a synchronicity or “God moment” occurred recently that I am drawn to consider more deeply?
  • What memories have I found myself thinking about recently? What is the current significance?
  • What in my life is giving me joy?  What is giving me sorrow?

Last Comments, Prayer Requests, Closing Prayer.  

Closing Prayer

Creative Spirit,

Take this week’s jumble –the many hours of work and this weekend’s fun

Into the deep, dark, dream pool of the Salmon of Knowledge.

From my night dreaming,

 May fresh creative ideas make the “salmon’s leap”

Out of the depths into daily life.

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