Creating A Mandala

Creating a Mandala
By Caroline Hofstede

"I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, a Mandala, which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. With the help of these drawings I could observe my psychic transformations from day to day. My Mandalas were cryptograms in which I saw the self - that is, my whole being - actively at work."

~Carl Gustav Jung~

A Mandala is more than just a circle; it is a symbol of wholeness and the cycle of life. It can be used as a healing and meditation tool to create a connection with our deepest spiritual source. It was C.G. Jung who first introduced the term Mandala (a Sanskrit word for circle) and he recognised its transformational power when he used it as an awareness tool for his patients.

Remember, as a child we were closely connected to our inner source of creative inspirations and it was an important part of how we learned about the world around us discovering who, what and why we are. Often as adults we lose this connection in our efforts to have a more useful and productive life.

Fortunately in this era we are more focussed on the visual and our perception and connection is growing stronger. The urge to connect to our deepest roots, searching for meaning and spiritual growth is in the heart of many.

Mandala art is a wonderful way to translate our inner thoughts and feelings and by capturing an image in the protecting area of a circle we can transform the images into a healing picture. Remember, everyone is a Mandala artist, there are no rules or restrictions and you do not have to be a professional artist to use your imagination to create.

We all have a unique way of expressing our own symbols and a good example of this is dreams. Creating a Mandala is like projecting your personal inner image to the outside. The completed Mandala can give you the opportunity to look at your feelings as if you look in a mirror. It can help you to become more aware of the meaning of your emotions.

Most important of any creation is the intention, the intention to give, to love, to understand and to connect with our inner sense of peace. With this intention you can also create images that can inspire and heal others.

A circle consists of 3 elements:

  • The centre as the beginning and the end.
  • The circumvented line of the circle as a protecting area.
  • The space in between as an area where movement and change can take place by playing with shapes and colours.

We draw a circle freehand or use a template (dinner plate). When we look at this empty space we need to let go of any restrictions and just let our imagination flow. We move our pencil (or other medium) over the paper within the circle (or even outside if we feel like it) without thinking about the end result. If we feel the urge for inner peace we might chose to draw in harmony by balancing the shapes in a symmetrical way or by using soft and peaceful colours. We might feel the need for security and play with straight lines or squares. We can also start with the intention to express a certain emotion like anger, love, friendship and so on. The end result can be used in a therapeutic way by, for example, tearing the picture or even by burning. It is like we let go of emotional ballast.

Creating a Mandala is not so much about creating art but more about the communication with our inner self. When we translate this into images we connect to the meaning of the symbols we create by connecting to the feeling we get with a certain colour or symbol like a butterfly or star. There is no set way of how we have to create a Mandala the best way to find out is to do it.

Some ideas for Mandalas

  • A Mandala for personal awareness, growth or challenges
  • Creating a Mandala with words or a story 
  • Mandala with food or plants 
  • Creating a Mandala with people, like dancing a Mandala
  • Individual or Group Mandalas 
  • Create a Mandala with candles (wonderful to use for meditations)

Below is a basic grid and some ideas to get you started on your own Mandala. This article has been written by Caroline Hofstede and you can find out much more about mandalas on her site at

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