I already talked a little about mandala designs on my Mandala Tatto Design – How To Choose The Best Design For You post, but today I decided to bring more interesting and useful details for the ones who are interested.
I also talked about mandalas in general and about their meaning and symbolism (The History Of Mandala – Introduction To The Wholeness Concept), but now I will give you a more clear, complete and also original definition. I feel there is much more to say about it.
I am in love with mandalas and it would be a shame not to give you the best information I can so make yourself comfortable, because you will have a really good read.
The Most Original And Complete Definition For “Mandala”
To give the most original and complete definition for “mandala”, I have to start with the beginning, that means I have to answer this question: Where does mandala come from?
Most of the people will say it comes from Hinduism and Buddhism, which is true, but actually there is more than that.
Mandala is a key to subconscious and unconscious, to the deepest imagination and harmony we have inside of us, as a natural reality. Someone rarely can access other’s reality, most of the time we cannot even access our own reality.
To make the things even more clear, I will take a break from talking about mandala and I will give some short and clear definitions for “conscious“, “subconscious” and “unconscious“, because I know people often get confused. They are concepts that make us understand who we are and how we “work” as whole beings.
The conscious is that part of our self, which is the first known and the more obvious. It is basically what we show to others, but also what we show to ourselves most of the time. The conscious communicate through a specific language (English, Russian, polish etc) which includes sounds and words.
The conscious is often called “ego“, because it is the one who needs arguments and material proofs to be convinced. It works based on the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. It is that part of yourself that makes us aware of the world around us. It is the voice in our head, it is the one who permanently creates thoughts.
We use the conscious when we eat, we learn, we read, we have success, we fail. The conscious knows what is bad and what is good. It is the rationality. Don’t let it become selfish, stingy and greedy. Stay positive, so it will be positive.
Right after the conscious, we find the subconscious, which is the one that connects the conscious with the unconscious. It is the divinity in us, intuition, perception, insight, it is life itself and it is the most important because thanks to it we can do everything. It makes things happen according to the conscious thoughts and it doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. That’s why we need to have positive thoughts, so we can make our subconscious act positively, then succeed and be happy.
The subconscious connects also the conscious with the collective unconscious (the memory of all people who have lived on earth).
The unconscious is the memory, the one that continually records the information, thoughts, emotions, sensations, tastes, smells, everything we live and feel in an entire life. They are all there and we can always access everything if we want to. All this information is stored through subconscious.
The unconscious deals with breathing, heartbeat, blood flow, healing of the body, digestion etc. It does everything to make us live and we don’t have to even think about it. It does everything by itself. Also, it is there when we do things automatically like driving, swimming, riding a bike etc. It is the deepest part of ourselves.
So the conscious (logical mind) filters the information. – REPRESENTS PERSONAL DEVELOPEMENT
The subconscious (intuition) have solutions to every problem and it can do absolutely everything. All we have to do is to suggest it. – REPRESENTS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The unconscious (memory) is our deepest part, our essence, so we have to take care of it by taking care of the other two. – REPRESENTS SPIRITUALITY
The subconscious and the unconscious use 90% of the brain, while the conscious uses only 10% of the brain (most of the people use only the conscious part for the whole life).
I guess now you can understand why everyone of us is unique and how amazing we are and also how important is to be aware of ourselves entirely and to bring balance between the three parts. We can do this with introspection and meditation.
I said they would be short definitions, but I remember how confusing it was for me the first time I’ve found out how complex we are, so I tried to explain it as clearly as possible.
Now maybe you will ask why I did this. Well, I was talking about the origins of mandala and I said it is true that it comes from Buddhism and Hinduism, but actually the mandala exists in our structure, in our essence.
The term comes from Sanskrit and it means “circle” or “center” and the meaning refers to the creative point, to the inner self.
For Buddhists the mandala represented the process through which the cosmos has been created by itself from its own center and it is the same for humans. It is the path from the creation to evolution, but most of all it is the path to the inner growth.
Because of its beauty, it became later an art for the Oriental people, becoming their primary form of artistic expression.
Mandala is a design composed by geometric patterns and colors, but every element has a symbolic value. The totality of these elements tells a story, vibrates at a certain frequency, and a construction of a mandala design represents the symbolic transposition of reality, subconscious mind or personality.
Since ancient times, people have felt the need to represent reality through drawings and some symbols are so old and so deeply impregnated in the collective memory that they form an alphabet understood by any human being on earth, consciously or not.
So is the mandala and, you believe it or not, your mind eye has already seen mandalas, even if you knew what they were or not.
A mandala construction represents a combination of rules, beliefs and sciences like sacred geometry, astrology, numerology, chromotherapy, magic, shamanism, religion, psychology, psychiatry. That’s why the energy it emanates is very powerful and that’s why it can be everything.
Mandalas emanate specific vibrations around them. Those vibrations adhere to the energetic field of the one who looks at them. The viewer contemplates them and merges with them.
In mandalas can be encrypted messages of any kind. The energy of mandalas deeply penetrates our structures, harmonizing them, dissolving blockages and fears.
The mandala center is the most intimate part of it because it represents us, our true essence. It reveals and activates some latent functions in our subconscious. The circle represents the higher self, divinity, perfection and pure creation. The square represents matter, the physical world and the earth.
Mandala is the symbol of wholeness, of infinity, of the universe, of ourselves (and each one of us is a unique universe).
It seems the most complex thing in the world, but actually, it only reflects us. Our inner essence can be represented by a mandala. We are more complex than we think and this shouldn’t scare us, but should make us realize how much we can do, how much we have to offer, how many feelings, secrets, answers and knowledge we can find inside of us.
Besides our uniqueness, we can also find the collective unconscious and I think this is the best proof we are one. And here I need to specify that the first who realized all those things was Carl Gustav Jung (if you want to know more about him, you can read Carl Jung And Mandala – Origins And Various Interpretations Of Mandala).
Mandalas are geometric patterns of resonance that create a bridge between the seen and unseen worlds. They are found throughout the creation, to the smallest atom, being a representation of the Universe itself and the laws that govern it.
For the ones that want to know how to encrypt a message in a mandala can read the next paragraph. Those that are not interested can jump over it and continue with discovering the breathtaking mandala designs.
Symbols Contained In A Mandala
Let’s see how many symbols we can find inside a mandala:
- west – red
- south – yellow
- east – blue
- north – green
- circle – intimacy, uniqueness, self, infinity
- triangle – spirituality, abstract
- square – subtle space that defines the shape
- pentagon – man and nature
- hexagon – the dense form of matter
- heptagon – the binder of all dimensional structures in the material plane
- octagon – transformation, creation, interdimensional symbol
- nonagon – is a compact sound that incorporates all the other vibrations together; number 9 is sacred, it contains the beginning and the end at the same time
In order for the mandala to be functional, the law of mirroring must always be functional. And this is:
- As above and below, as in the right and left, as in the interior and in the outside.
For numerals, which refers to our date of birth and any word or phrase coded in figures or astrological mandalas, the following correspondences will be made:
- 1 – the Sun; signs: Lion and Capricorn; element: fire; characteristic color: orange
- 2 – the Moon; signs: Cancer and Libra; element: water; characteristic color: green
- 3 – planet Jupiter; signs: Sagittarius and Gemini; element: air; characteristic color: light blue or turquoise
- 4 – planet Mars; signs: Virgo and Taurus; element: earth; characteristic color: red
- 5 – planet Mercury; signs: Aries and Gemini; element: fire; characteristic color: violet
- 6 – planet Venus; signs: Libra and Taurus; element: water; characteristic color: yellow
- 7 – planet Neptune; signs: Pisces and Virgo; element: air; characteristic color: golden yellow
- 8 – planet Saturn; signs: Capricorn and Scorpio; element: earth; characteristic color: brown and indigo
- 9 – planet Uranus; signs: Aquarius and Aries; element: fire; characteristic color: white-purple
What Is A Mandala Design
Today, a mandala design is mostly everything that is round, has a center and is filled with symmetrical shapes starting from the center and going to the outside.
On the other side mandala designs became very popular for the home decoration category, but they also appear on clothes, shoes, jewelry, notebooks, mugs, phone cases and many others object than you could ever imagine. The idea is that it became popular more for its beauty or as a decoration pattern than for its symbolism and meaning.
Because of that, the original rules of creating a mandala are not always followed. At the same time, a mandala is a reflexion of the inner self and in this case there are no rules, because every inner self is unique, as I mentioned before.
Still, the idea of a center (inner self) and the symmetrical patterns (the inner path to spiritual evolution) are very powerful and unwavering, and also a symbol that is found in the collective unconscious, so it must be something to consider.
So, if you want to use mandalas only to decorate, because they are breathtaking, to use them as meditation or healing tools or both, it is up to you. They are going to be everywhere anyway.
The Most Popular Mandala Designs
They are known three big categories of mandalas:
- Mandalas that are made for rituals and they are destroyed when the rituals are done (if you want to know more about mandala rituals I recommend you to read Tibetan Buddhist Mandala – A Very Interesting Story Behind). On this category I will also add the 3D mandala temples, because they are somehow connected with the mandala rituals.
- Old classical mandala paintings
- Modern mandalas that are painted or drawn on canvas, walls, paper and so they remain as symbols of meditation and healing or just as decoration (those are the most popular of all and I put it in the end, because it is the newest category)
1. In the first category we can find four mandala designs (the first two in 2D and the last two in 3D) and those are:
- The Kalachakra Mandala – it is a classical Tibetan mandala which contains 722 deities, very complex mandala
- The Vajrabhairava Mandala – this one is less complex, it has fewer deities and less geometry, but it still takes several days to be complete
- The Borobudur Mandala,Temple in Indonesia
- The Bayon Mandala, Temple in Cambodia
2. For the second category, we have:
- Mandala depicting The God Vishnu
- The Tibetan Mandala from Naropa’s tradition, painted in the nineteenth century. It represents the Vajrayogini in the center of two overlapped red triangles
- The Buddhist therapeutic mandalas in Bhutan, centered on the goddess Prajnaparamita, 19th century painting
- Mandala Of The Six Chakravartin
- Vajravarahi Mandala
- Mandala near the Tawang Monastery
3. In the last category and the most popular one, there are:
- floral mandalas (filled with flowers, petals and leaves shapes)
- geometric mandalas (filled with lines, circles and other geometrical shapes)
- animal mandalas (animal shapes with mandala patterns)
- Celtic mandalas (mandalas filled with Celtic symbols)
- tribal mandalas
- rose windows mandalas
- custom mandalas (mandalas created for self insight and healing – photos of Carl Jung’s patients mandalas, read Carl Jung And Mandala – Origins And Various Interpretations Of Mandala)
- Kuhne Klein Mandala – sculpture made of cut-outs from printed advertisements
- Classical Tibetan 3D Mandala
The Evolution Of Mandala Designs
The evolution of mandala designs just exploded. From the classical mandala made with sand in Tibet it evolved in modern patterns and modern ways to represent it from the flower ones to the tribal ones and even to the 3D ones.
Now the mandala patterns are used not only to draw mandalas, but also to create abstract art. There are people who add text, personal symbols and many other custom things on their mandalas.
As human imagination is infinite, so is mandala.
I believe the collective unconscious and the mandala are evolving at once, because they are strongly connected to each other.
I can’t wait to see what will come out in the future!
I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have anything to add or ask about mandala designs or any other concepts I mentioned above, just feel free to leave a comment below.