It was all sparked off during Art Every Day Month, when I created a mandala portrait to represent how I wanted to feel that day. I recognised the image as representative of the first stage in the Great Round of Mandala;the Void. Twelve mandala portraits later, and I’d done my best to recreate each of the individual stages in the Great Round.
Conveniently mapped across the calendar year, each of these twelve stages is actually representative of a developmental stage within our psyche. We have experienced most of them at specific points in our lives; like when in our adolescence, we are establishing ourselves as a true individual, becoming clear on our own preferences separate from those of our parents.
That stage (called the Dragonfight in the Great Round) corresponds to the month of June – and it is where, psychologically speaking, we are pushed by our emerging ego out from the feminine energetic rule of the unconscious. It’s a time where we experience a great many dilemmas, as we feel the tension of holding onto opposing views and values.
This experience doesn’t only occur in adolescence, or in the month of June, of course – it can happen spontaneously in any ordinary day! What the structure of the Great Round of Mandala does is allow us to explore our psyche (and our behaviours, experiences and responses) through symbol, in a safe, compassionate and creative environment. The mandala as a container allows us to encounter unexplored aspects of self in a safe and ordered vessel, free from judgement and harm.
I have just completed my first cycle of study of the Great Round, with the release of the twelfth stage; Opening to Grace (transcendent ecstasy.) It isn’t an overstatement to say I have been blown away by the deep insights this year long investigation has given me. In my quest to uncover the truth of me (my oldest Self) I have peeled back so many layers of misunderstanding, hurt and grievance; I’ve experienced great happiness, joy and a deep, deep understanding of who I am.
To celebrate my completion of the 2013 Great Round of Mandala, I created a calendar for 2014 made up of each of the twelve portraits and ordered myself a copy. I’m excited and intrigued to see how it guides me through my next turning of the Great Round.
p.s. Registration for Mandala Magic 2014 is open, with a discounted subscription rate; It’s a perfect artful journey of self-discovery for those of us seeking to reveal and stay true to our authentic being. If that’s you, I’d love to make magic with you next year!