Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning center or circle. Mandalas are symbols of wholeness. They are circular art forms that can be created using many different techniques and materials. The circles themselves can be created in various ways.
Exercise 1. Create a mandala
In the following exercise, you will create a mandala by drawing three concentric circles. The rings created by the circles should be large enough so that images can be drawn or pasted in the space inside the center circle and the spaces inside the two rings that surround the center circle.
The outer ring will be used to represent the spirit of a character from your dream. You may use a central character in the dream or a minor character you wish to explore. The ring next to the outer ring will be used to represent the spirit of the character on a Tarot card you will choose.
To carry out this exercise, draw the three circles, one inside another, and complete the following steps.
Step 1. Choose and consider a dream character
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax. Then call the dream character to mind. Use your mind and all of your senses to experience this character. You may use active imagination to enter into a conversation with the character or simply observe what he or she says or does. Then open your eyes and portray the spirit of the character inside the outermost ring.
You may do this by drawing, doodling, coloring, finger-painting, or by making some kind of collage. A simple way to collage is to look through magazines after doing your imaginary work with your dream character and choosing images that reflect the character. These images do not need to have any direct connection with the dream or the dream character. For example, they may simply be a color that reflects the mood of the character or a shape that the dream character might prefer.
Step 2. Choose and consider a Tarot character
When you are finished with the outer ring, shuffle the deck of Tarot cards you are using, and choose a card. You may use the method suggested on this web site (click here to choose a card) or any other method of your choice.
After you have chosen the card, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, relax, and call the Tarot character to mind. See the character in your imagination or on the card and use as many of your senses as you can to try to capture the spirit of the card. Portray the spirit of the character inside the ring that holds the dream character art. Don't try to make your art match the art on your card. Draw, paint or collage whatever comes to mind when you think about the spirit of this card.
Step 3. Consider both characters
When you have finished working with this ring, close your eyes again. Bring the dream character and the Tarot character into your mind. See them interacting in some way. They may simply stand stare at one another as if they were strangers; they may embrace one another as if they were friends or lovers; they may hold a conversation or be silent. Don't try to make them interact. Just be silent and watch what happens in your imagination.
When you have finished, open your eyes and insert images into the center circle that represent the interaction of these characters. If you have difficulty observing their interaction, an alternative would be to study the art in the two rings and look for differences and similarities.
Step 4. Consider the completed mandala
When you are finished inserting art into the inner ring, study the mandala you have made. What does it say to you? Do the characters reflect your spirit in some way? If so, are they compatible, or do they represent different parts of yourself that still need to be integrated? Does the mandala appear to be complete? If not, what seems to be missing? What action must you take in your waking life to complete it?
Step 5. Write an affirmation
If the mandala seems to call for some action in your waking life, you may wish to consider how and when to carry out the action.