Saturday, 29 May 2010

Gallery of Mandalas

It was the film I watched of crop circles that reminded me of mandalas. Many of these mostly circular patterns in crops are breathtakingly beautiful. Whatever creates them, however they came to be there, they have a direct impact, in the way that music does.

You can see some of
Frank Laumen's delightful images and browse his archives; or go to the Crop Circle Connector website where you can see the first of this season's circles but you'll have to navigate through various ads which can be off-putting.

Reading the fascinating posts about Jung on
Robert Moss's blog reminds me of Jung's writings on mandalas which he called symbols of the Self. Images, symbols or metaphors feel the best way to approach this idea of 'the Self' or so I feel. After all the word God used to mean that which cannot be defined but it's used in more particular ways it seems, now. I understand 'the Self' as a perception and experience, different from our everyday perception and awareness.

A hugely interesting book, Donald Lee Williams' Border Crossings, talks about the Naskapi, an indigenous people of Labrador. The author describes them as hunters not just for food but also for the Mista'peo, the 'Great Man' within. The Mista'peo, he writes, [is] an archetypal image of the Self......both personal and suprapersonal, human and divine, and which attempts to become actualised through us. The Great Man is located in the region of the heart - ....and is responsible for dreams.

The Naskapi also give creative expression to the Mista'peo and their drawings depicting it are mandala-shaped patterns, which have the same harmonious effects I feel, as the crop circles.
There are also of course, the gorgeously coloured Buddhist mandalas, the circular labyrinth on the floor of Chartes cathedral and no doubt elsewhere, all of these circular formations expressing wholeness.

I have never had any talent for art but several years ago, I went through a phas
e of painting, mainly mandala type patterns. All these images and ideas, the crop circles, Jung's writings and the Mista'peo, reminded me of these paintings, and I set out to search through various boxes in the attic, to find them. I also found a series of drawings and paintings I did, the original one being of a snake curling round the stem of a glass. At the time, I had no idea where this image came from. Months or perhaps even a year or so later, I came across the same image above a chemist's shop, which I found very exciting. I then started to find them wherever I went, in Scotland, in Ireland and in France. I suppose I saw one of these symbols when I was young and then forgot about it completely, for I had no conscious recall of the image when I drew it. The symbol of the snake and bowl or container, is one of healing and can be found outside many chemists (sometimes depicted as mortar and pestle). It reminds me of course, of the Asklepian snake winding around a staff, Asklepios being the god who brings healing dreams.

The snake begins by being separate from the star symbol, aspirant only, but gradually ascends or becomes one with the star and turns into the Worm Ourobouros, a mythic symbol of wisdom that encircles the earth – or a mandala symbol of the Self or the Mista'peo.

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