During our summer road trip house swap adventure we ended up swapping homes with an artist.
She was particularly interested in and worked with indigenous Australian art (or Aboriginal art.) I didn’t know it, but this was to have a huge impact on me.
It all began one rainy day on our swap as I was watercolour sketching. I wanted to capture something of the house we were staying in, and was inspired to make a copy of some indigenous art on a coaster from a set that was on display.
Working with these ancient symbols really moved something inside of me – I felt a direct connection … a transmission from something primal. It’s difficult to explain and definitely something beyond reasoning – after all, I have never visited Australia and have no emotional connection with the place.
It certainly wasn’t lost on me that I was creating a mandala in the above sketch and as soon as we returned home, I set about incorporating these symbols into a design in my primary mandala journal.
At the same time, I was drawn to visit Cairnpapple Hill, the site of a Neolithic (3500BC) ceremonial ground and Bronze Age burial site located just a few minutes drive from home.
It seems the ancestors were calling my name – so I settled in to listen.
That’s part of the mandala magic for me, seeing what appears on the page and then making sense of it. It’s often of a symbolic nature – committed as I am to a mythic life – and the mandala is a perfect container for that delivery.
I’d also just begun Alchemical Chocolate™ Practitioner Training and knew that the next step in joining all of this up was to enter into a sacred cacao ceremony, invoking the energies of the ancient Mayan goddess, Ixcacao.
So I entered in to a pretty intense ceremony, and straight afterwards, I put together a mandala to record my experience.
Container for revelations
I was called again to integrate the indigenous patterns into the mandala, together with some goddess symbols based on Old European art – and what occurred on the page made perfect sense to me.
Also – on a completely practical level – making the mandala helped smooth the transition from ceremonial space into my everyday persona, complete with logic and reasoning intact! (That is something I’m excited to continue as I develop my Alchemical Chocolate™ practice.)
Container for manifestation
In addition to its role as a container for symbolic revelations, the mandala is an excellent vessel with which to focus attention and energy, and as such, it’s a perfect place to cast magic! All I really mean by that is to use it to set an intention to manifest something you wish to happen.
I’d been wanting to produce a piece of art in recognition of the Scottish Independence Referendum, and there was simply no question that it had to be a mandala!
These patterns and symbols are winding deep into my bones and I can’t see myself letting go of them anytime soon!
The central motif in this mandala is based on symbols found on some pottery from about the same time as the ceremonial activity back on Cairnpapple Hill! It’s a symbolic representation of the Cosmic Mother, shown here as snake coils and divine eyes. It feels a little like coming full circle from the art of the ancient indigenous Australians to the ancient art of Neolithic Europe.
Mandalas are Magic!
Mandalas are many things to many people, and have been around since before history. Such a rich archetype in its own right, the mandala was said by Carl Jung to be the symbolic representation of Self.
The twelve archetypal stages of Self can be seen in the framework of the Great Round of Mandala which is the backbone of my Mandala Magic program. The work we study in those workshops continues to produce mind-boggling results for myself and the students who take on the year long cycle – and we sure do see our wholeness laid out before us in those circular designs.
Registration for the 2015 Mandala Magic programme will open next month, but in the meantime, this post appears as my contribution to The Magic of Mandalas Blog Hop.
The Magic of Mandalas Blog Hop is a radically inspiring sharing circle, with artists from around the globe sharing the stories behind their process of creating mandalas. Our mission: To inspire you to see new possibilities for your own creative practice.