Mandala Magic Alignment 202021


“Nothing matters at all, and this is why everything does.

Look: the sun pierces the tunnel; the belly of the Mother is seeded again as another year begins. Something will be born when the summer comes. You do not need to catalogue it, understand it. You do not need to learn anything at all from it.

You can just watch it come.”

– Paul Kingsnorth

Counterbalance Mandala

This exercise was created at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the whole world was unsure about what was to unfold. Substitute Covid-19 for the climate emergency and it still stands. Rather than re-write the text to change to change the focus to the climate emergency I have let it stand as it is. Please allow the meaning behind the exercise to serve you when meeting any crisis that may arise, whether personal or collective. – Julie, 2022

This time of equinox is a marker that is as old as time itself – much older than our civilisation and much older than our age of human being. It’s a marker that will continue to occur long after our particular species is no more.

It’s so difficult for us to imagine a time when we ourselves are gone, nary mind the concept of our systems going down or civilisation ending but the current situation here on earth is stirring up a lot of imagination around each scenario and many more.

And at the same time, the birds are still calling us awake each morning, the frogs are getting jiggy in the ponds and the bright lime green of new leaves continues to emerge unseen in the woods.

We’re told it’s a life and death issue – but is it ever not so?

It’s going to get really bad before gets it better, they say. And we wait, unable to comprehend exactly what that means for us.

Even as we worry about our loved ones, paying the rent or losing our jobs and experience deep heart-break in compassion for everyone, we have the capacity to laugh along with the gallows humour that emerges so insightfully on internet memes.

The humour, of course is one way of providing counterbalance to the gravity that Covid-19 has brought to our every day.

The birdsong, the leaves unfurling, the frogs spawning – it’s all part of the same counterbalance.

The equinox is a deep invitation from the natural world to seek balance in some way – personally, culturally, and as a species.

This is the invitation of our mandala exercise this spring equinox – to seek balance in form and harmony in symbols.

Mandala-making at any time can provide some counterbalance to the chaos that abounds, allowing us to relax our hyper nervous systems and quieten our beautiful, curious minds through the act of creation.

At equinox, we can also pay attention to creating a mandala form that speaks to balance, the most-well known symbol of which is the yin-yang symbol.

Here, I invite you to consider combining the square and the circle in your mandala form. In this way, we can combine the symbols for the realms of earth and sky, human and divine.

Dividing your design into four equal sections also allows you to introduce ‘quaternity’ – a factor that helps provide stability and order to help create wholeness at a time when everything is shifting and so much seems to be falling apart.

The counter-balance that we can introduce in our work can help us meet the challenges we face, just as we explore what new life is emerging this spring. We may not yet be able to see what that is, or what it might mean, but the mandala allows for it to be so and strong containers can help us feel safe.

What symbols speak to you most of spring? This mandala offers you a place to bring their meaning to light.

Charter Ink

❂ Gather Your Supplies ❂

Here are the supplies I used in the demonstration, but please translate the exercise to use the materials you already have – there’s no requirement to stick to the same.

The basics you need to follow along are a pencil to draw your mandala, some pigment to colour with and a pen to journal with.


alder fruit

❂ Step 1 : Preparation Ritual ❂

This video is 01:29 mins duration + supported by closed captions in English.
Click on the CC button on the bottom right of the screen to toggle on/off.

❂ Step 2 : Drawing the Counterbalance ❂

This video is 09:02 mins duration + supported by closed captions in English.
Click on the CC button on the bottom right of the screen to toggle on/off.

❂ Step 3 : Colouring the Counterbalance ❂

This video is 02:25 mins duration + supported by closed captions in English.
Click on the CC button on the bottom right of the screen to toggle on/off.

❂ Step 4 : Journaling the Counterbalance ❂

This video is 02:00 mins duration + supported by closed captions in English.
Click on the CC button on the bottom right of the screen to toggle on/off.

alder buds catkins fruit
blackthorn yellow

❂ PROMPTS : Counterbalance Mandala ❂


Each time we choose to create symbolic art such as the work we’re undertaking here in Alignment, we have the opportunity to invite ritual to the table. A ritual is an activity used in ceremony and usually follows a prescribed form.

The reason I include footage of lighting the candle and touching in to the pages at the beginning of each exercise is to convey the sense of ceremony with which I undertake the work and I hope it prompts you to think about your own rituals.

For me, each page is, in its way, an offering or supplication to the gods.

  • Why are you creating your art journal pages?
  • To whom and for what are they dedicated?
  • What rites might you invoke to create even more meaning to the marks you make on the page as part of this program?

Just a few questions for us to get clear about in this time of obscurity and a great complementary journaling prompt.

Preparing my own paint is one way I can spend time engaging my intention for the work to come. I’m not skilled enough and don’t have the best materials yet, but the act itself is therapeutic, allows my body to catch up with my mind and my mind to slow down. And it’s upon reaching this state that I can fully commit to my intention.

  • What’s your intention as you create the pages you’re about to work on?
  • How might you take the time to get clear on that?

There are no right or wrong answers and each of us will arrive with a different intention. That’s exactly as it should be.

Specificity is your friend here : don’t waste the opportunity by dealing in generalities and platitudes. See how real you can make this work for your own life in these times!


What symbols speak to you of this time?

In contrast to the equinox towards the end of the program, the spring equinox speaks to us of balance at a time where the surge towards new life is underway.

  • What do you see when you venture into nature?
  • If you’re unable to be in nature right now can you recall what plants, trees, animals, weather phenomenon speak to you clearly of this time?
  • Are there any that offer a dual-aspect, indicating the balance of life?
  • What traditions, folk tales or family stories in your life are linked to spring?

These symbols can be incorporated into the design for your symbolic mandala, but first there’s an invitation to lay down a design for the mandala that speaks to harmony, balance, order and stability – a vital counterbalance to the chaos that exists (at any time.)

  • Begin by marking the centre point on your page and trace a circle design, encased in a square.
  • Use tools to help you create a sense of order, or draw freehand.
  • Pay attention to creating a harmonious design, using symmetry as a balancing technique.
  • Divide the square in half and the circle into four. It’s up to you which direction you orientate your dividing lines.
  • Use this template to house your spring equinox symbols and pay attention to which are housed within the container of circle and which in the square.



  • Use your chosen media to colour your mandala.
  • If you can, choose some complementary colours (opposites on the colour wheel) to indicate the balance of two aspects.
  • Remembering that this represents dual-aspect rather than binary opposites – here, the point is both/and not either/or.


  • Of what does this mandala experience speak to you?

Switching up the way we journal can help us get to the heart of the matter more quickly. Realisations are more likely to happen by changing the pattern and removing yourself from familiar grooves.

Consider what forms and shapes you can introduce for this journaling session to accompany your counterbalance mandala.

  • Will you work with a stream of consciousness (usually my favourite) or include more meaningful words, phrases, lyrics or poems to accompany your image?

When journaling about this mandala exercise, see if you can stay in the physical world in terms of your descriptions : the symbolic work is done and will do its work deep within your psyche.

One way to assist its integration is to interpret the work through observation.

  • What do you see when you look at the image?
  • How does your body feel and how might that be the same or different to how it felt when you began?
  • Describe any physical sensations you are experiencing.
  • Describe what stands out and what surprises you.
  • Note what you like most about the image you’ve created.
  • Is there anything that causes irritation or disappointment?
  • Can you articulate any realisations that come to light when you look at the image?

Spending even a wee while connecting to your image through this journaling activity will help the work integrate more deeply.

Module 3 : Spring Equinox