The art of colors to understand, care and protect.
Art is an expression that unites artist and spectator with the transcendent, in search of the mathematical equation of emotions.
The archetype of the mandala
“Mandala”, a term derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “circle“. The circle delimits a space that represents the externalization of one’s psychism (synthesis of the spatial manifestation). Carl Gustav Jung wrote four essays on Mandalas, Buddhist and Hindu ritual designs, after studying them for over twenty years. The presence of mandalas can be found in the Indo-Buddhist sphere in Lamaist Tibet, in Tantric Hinduism, in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in the Navaho Indians, in the Indians of the South-West (America). Mandalas are called not only circular figures but also concentric forms like: squares, triangles, etc., as long as the main characteristics remain present: that is, a center from which energy is emanated and a projection in space-time. In the Jungian perspective, the Self becomes the essential reference point as an example of what can best be found in human nature, it is therefore the central archetype or the archetype of the order, through which confrontation and re-evaluation can arise of your person.
Very ancient magical effect
According to Jung, during periods of psychic tension, Mandalic figures may spontaneously appear in dreams to bring about or indicate the possibility of an inner order. The symbol of the mandala, therefore, is not only a fascinating expressive form but, acting backwards, it also exerts an action on the author of the design because in this symbol a very ancient magical effect is hidden: the image has the purpose of trace a magical groove around the center, a sacred enclosure of the most intimate personality, a protective circle that avoids “dispersion” and keeps away the worries caused by the outside. In Eastern philosophies the “mandala” is used as a means of meditation and through its construction or insertion, man frees the spirit, purifies the soul, enters into communion with all the positive forces present in the cosmos.
New creative element
In addition to operating in order to restore an order previously in force, a mandala also pursues the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, to something new and unique. As Marie-Louise Von Franz (Jung’s pupil) states, the second aspect is even more important than the first but does not contradict it since, in most cases, what serves to restore the old order simultaneously entails some new creative element.
In the personal mandala, the center is the man himself who must purify himself, transforming the negative forces he carries within. In the mandala all negative energies are expelled through meditation, awareness and self-knowledge that occurs during the process of building the mandala itself. While building the mandala, from the outside to the inside, man concentrates, individualizes himself, performs that inner search indispensable for catharsis, purification to occur.
Radical change that will lead him to total transformation, so much so that he considers his experience as a transition from an ancient and unsuitable state to a new and current one. A symbolic death followed by a birth on a higher level.
Center, heal, grow
To center means to grasp the essential, to evaluate the priority purpose of the values of life. To heal is meant to expel the disturbances, the disturbing forces, the disease. To grow means to project oneself towards a new dimension, towards the goal of catharsis.
The patient must draw and color, according to his imagination, a circular figure. The only information that must be given to the patient is that the internal space of the circle represents his “I” and that it must be colored starting from the center.
Interesting conclusions can be drawn from this drawing by observing the shape of the circle: if drawn clearly or flickering, and analyzing the colors used to paint the interior.
The same construction and coloring of the circle also have a therapeutic purpose, so as to create a liberation in the subject. In this case, however, the patient must know a priori that the symbol will lead to a gradual organization and awareness of his “I”.
In the circle, man finds those forces he has lost or does not remember possessing. The circular shape is the symbol from which everything was born. Through the circle, man can search for himself, protected at the same time from any external attack. Sheltered, in tranquility, he can see the central point, the source from which all energies spring and understands the meaning of his own human and at the same time divine value.
A circle in the sand
In past times shamans healed using the mandala. The shaman traced a circle in the sand and then, with the help of some assistants, he traced symbols and figures using clays of different colors. In some cases, the operation also lasted a few days. The most important moment of the ceremony was when the patient was seated in the center of the circle. The shaman took a handful of sand from the circle and rubbed it on the patient’s head, especially in the area affected by the evil, accompanying the ritual with songs and magic formulas, to attract the attention of benign spirits. At the end of the ritual, the patient destroyed the mandala with his body; the evil was removed and in many cases, the disease was immediately eradicated.
With the succession of various ritual actions, the shaman experienced a strong psychic concentration that fueled the suggestion already present since the beginning of the construction of the mandala. This psychic concentration also reached the sick.
The destruction of the mandala was the culmination of the event of the human-figure transference: evil passed to the mandala and through the mandala it was canceled.
Find the spiritual dimension
For Jung, mandalas, as ordered figures, both in antiquity and in modern times, represent aesthetics and order, the ancestral need to rediscover the spiritual dimension, the mystical sense of existence: man as a place between heaven and earth longing for the synthesis between the two worlds. Order as a synthesis between what left to its own strength would be chaotically arranged and instead guided by the need for inner growth is organized while maintaining its individual diversity from the individual component parts. Agreement and harmony become synonymous with order. The empirical observation that these images appear spontaneously in situations of psychic disorientation is interpreted as a sort of “attempt to heal by nature itself” (The archetypes and the collective unconscious), an effort that does not derive from conscious reflection, but by an instinctive impulse.
A vision of the world
The agreement allows for the synergy and integration of what is isolated would be of little or no value. Different parts, even in many apparently opposite cases, are combined in a marriage that overcomes them, completing and transcending them. The spontaneous appearance of mandalic representations, where the need to bring one’s perception of physical and psychic reality to a harmonious order is perceived, defines the nature of the mandala, not only a symbol of the self, but also an archetype of identification and, that is, image of that synthetic process aimed at integrating the unconscious into consciousness.
According to Jung, the archetype of the mandala is symbolically represented by a circle containing a figural symmetrical arrangement of the number four and its multiples. Any other figure that moves away from the circle or the base number which is four, is defined as “troubled mandala”.
“The mandala symbol is an autonomous psychic fact, which is distinguished by a phenomenology that always repeats itself and is identical in every place. It is a kind of atomic nucleus, of which, however, we do not yet know the intimate structure and the ultimate meaning “. (Jung, 1950).
Jung calls the process of awareness “identification” which becomes the means by which everyone can give a new impulse to orient themselves towards a path that will lead him to a wider view, in which he will see what must be removed from himself.
“Every higher state of consciousness is a condition of a world view. All consciousness of bases and intents is, in germ, a world view. Any progress in experience and knowledge means a further step in developing the world view. By changing the image that he creates of the world, the thinking man also modifies himself. The man whose Sun revolves around the Earth is different from that whose Earth is the satellite of the Sun “. (Jung, 1950, ed. Einaudi, Turin, 1959).
Reading a mandala, which coincides, therefore, with the Jungian identification process, implies participation in the systole and diastole of the universe, a prelude to the palingenesis of the individual.