The magical circle

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 12:00am

Over the Past couple of months, Psychic Portal has looked at ways of reaching into the psychic realm for information and advice. Most of these, such as tarot readers, crystal healers and energy healers, require someone else to do the work, but there are ways of reaching into your psychic portal yourself. One of the oldest, yet simplest, methods is by making mandalas.

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle - and mandalas are basically drawings done within a circle, each with a clear centre.

The 'circle with a centre pattern' is quite magical and is considered the basic structure of creation: all living things are made of cells and each cell has a nucleus - all circles with centres. The crystals that form ice, rocks and mountains are made of atoms and each atom is a mandala.

Mandalas can be found in science, religion and art. The earliest ones are thought to have been done in the Hindu Tantric tradition, but mandalas can be found in many cultures. For Tibetan monks, mandalas are a form of prayer. They create them on the ground using coloured sand. When the pictures are complete, the monks sweep the sand into a container and then sprinkle it into a river to contribute to global healing.

For the father of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, mandalas were the route into the unconscious. He began drawing them after he fell out with Sigmund Freud and after years of interpreting, peeling back the layers of meaning, he came to the conclusion that the symbols were representative of something inside us - a universal language. He called this method of healing the self through mandalas 'visual imagination'.

Alexandra Yung has been drawing mandalas for five years and runs workshops showing people how to make their own. Her own mandalas are works in progress - she is part way through a series of drawings that she plans to turn into a pack of I-Ching cards.

'Looking at mandalas can inspire emotions in people, they can feel things from them. In a similar way that watching a movie can inspire us and have an effect on us, so looking at a mandala can inspire us.'

The key to drawing a mandala, says Ms Yung, is to let your subconscious take over. Rather than beginning with a firm idea of what you want to create, see what colours you are drawn to and let the shape and forms take over.

'I ask people to pick whatever colours they are drawn to and they are often surprised by what they have chosen. Don't try to be in control: mistakes are part of it. Trust the energy and see what comes out,' she says.

Teenagers get a lot out of the mandala workshops, says Ms Yung. 'They are very expressive and you can tell their mood, whether they are happy or not, by what comes out.

'Teenagers are going through a phase of discovery and working out who they are. There might be a tendency to belong to the 'in crowd', but that might not be them. By drawing mandalas they can look inside themselves and find out who they are,' she says.

Ms Yung runs mandala workshops once a month. The next one will be on October 19, from 2-3pm, at a cost of $380. For details call 2893 1170

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