How to Create Your Own Mandalas
When it comes to all of those beautiful loops and spirals, there is more than what meets the eye. A mandala is an awesome way to experiment with doodles, shapes and symmetry.
Mandalas have been created by many different cultures, from all the areas of the globe, and have been enjoyed for personal transformation, spiritual connection, and self-expression for centuries. Perhaps you have seen these intricate, circular patterns in books, in artwork, or in the latest décor? They are enjoying a renaissance right now, and more and more people are picking up on the joy and healing that they can bring!
Creating your own mandala is a very personal and intuitive process, and is far more than a pretty piece of art. The mandala is circular in form, representing the wholeness and continuity of the Universe, and its geometric pattern can reveal truths from the cosmos as well as those inside your own spirit. Making a mandala is an act of dynamic meditation, as you tap in and call forth the different colors and patterns within your sacred circle.
If you want to get started with your very own personal mandala creation, here is the basic step-by-step process:
- Choose the materials you’d like to work with: You can design a mandala using just about anything you’d like, so choose what calls to you, in the space where you are. You can use paper and pens/pencils/paintbrushes to draw one, you can mold one or carve one into clay/dirt/sand, or you can assemble one out of rocks, crystals, flowers, and other materials directly from nature. The possibilities are endless!
- Create sacred space: Where you choose to craft your mandala is important too! Set the stage with relaxing music, incense, candles, or aromatherapy. Pick a place where you won’t be interrupted, and where you can feel comfortable expressing yourself. Be sure to wear non-restrictive clothing, and maybe an apron in case you’re working with messy materials.
- Relax and open your mind: Making a personal mandala is an intuitive process, so take a few moments to quiet your mind before you begin. Start with a brief meditation, some easy breathwork, or some chanting to clear the mind and align yourself to the Divine. The more relaxed you are, the easier the inspiration will flow!
- Create your circle: Every mandala begins with a circular shape of some kind, so it’s often easiest to begin there. Feel free to close your eyes and focus your attention inward as you make the first strokes, and allow the foundation of your mandala to come naturally. Pay attention to any other information (colors, shapes, symbols, etc…) that may enter your awareness as you begin to make your circle.
- Select your muse: Perhaps you had an overall feeling or theme in mind before you decided to make your mandala, but perhaps you didn’t. Now is the time to tune in to your inner dialogue and decide what the important symbols, colors, or themes are for your design. Choose what speaks strongly to you at this moment, and start filling in your mandala circle with these shapes and ideas. Really let your creativity and inner wisdom speak throughout this process.
- Give your design a title and date: Your personal mandala is a work of art, and deserves a title, just like any other piece. Maybe a word or phrase will come to you automatically, or you may want to ask the Universe for inspiration. After you have titled your piece, write down the date, so you can look back and enjoy your mandalas as you continue making them. Since mandalas reflect your own personal state of being at any given moment, it’s great to be able to reference them, sort of like a visual diary! If you crafted your design in a non-permanent way (assembling stones, petals, etc…), take a photo and make notes there instead.
- Reflect on your mandala message: After you have completed your mandala creation, give yourself a moment to breathe and reconnect. Step back from your design and observe what you see. Are there certain shapes or colors that are predominant? Are there any figures or patterns that are symbolic to you? Don’t censor yourself in any way here- there are no right or wrong answers, and sometimes the “out there” answers are the ones coming directly from your higher self or the Divine wisdom! You may want to write down your observations in a journal, so you can reflect on them further.
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Here's how to draw a mandala:
- On a piece of white paper, draw a large circle using a compass and a sharp pencil.
- Divide the circle into 16 equal wedges by using the compass and pencil to draw light lines.
- Using a black fine-point marker, doodle three small circles, each one bigger than the last, in the exact center of the large circle.
- Continuing with the marker for the remaining steps, doodle two rows of arches around the circles, using the pencil lines as a guide to ensure symmetry throughout.
- Doodle a row of petals around the arches.
- Alternate between arches and petals until the circle is filled. Draw each layer bigger than the one before it, and don't worry about the details yet - just focus on the larger petals and arches.
- Doodle details within the arches and petals. Add lines, scallops, stripes, smaller petals, thicker lines, and shading, keeping everything symmetrical according to the pencil guidelines.
- Let the ink dry completely and then erase the pencil marks.
- Colour your mandala in your favourite colours.
Mandalas are magnetic! They are beautiful and rich in meaning for anyone who creates them, and they are easily made from a variety of materials and in a wide variety of places! Let your creative self play and have fun with this process- just beware - mandalas can be addictive!
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