CrossWings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
ONE: Squaring the Circle creates an opening which connects the (“I”) Ego with the inner self, freeing up energy for the things that really matter to you. Opposites in conflict settle into balance (like these wings). Medium: Crayola markers and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.
Meditation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
TWO: Stage 7 brings attention to thinking, learning, and discovering creative abilities. This mandala was designed during the Renaissance as an object of meditation. Committing it to memory was thought to draw up love, the life force in all things. Medium: Crayola markers and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.
Circle Squared, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
THREE: Learning to feel comfortable with yourself and your place in the scheme of things creates a firm foundation for identity. The balance between circles and squares signifies the harmony between masculine and feminine energies that reside together in each of us. Medium: marker paints.
Crusader’s Shield, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
FOUR: Resolution of inner conflict creates a stronger, more complex personality. You start to find yourself motivated by a sense of mission toward worthy goals that engage your whole being and allow you to find your place in the world. Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.
July Mandalas — Stage 7 – Squaring The Circle
One of the hardest things about this year-long practice of working with mandalas is getting them posted on or near the month I’ve actually created them. Isn’t it amazing how the older we get, the more a year goes by in the blink of an eye?
I was traveling most of July and completed these before I left for Georgia (I’ve had resistance to posting them). I am currently working on September’s mandalas, and have started a drawing on canvas that I hope to paint and complete by mid-November.
This mandala practice began with the post Coloring Mandalas when I decided to take a year to follow the twelve passages of Joan Kellogg’s The Great Round. According to Susanne F. Fincher, the healing benefits of The Great Round: Stage 7 – Squaring The Circle are:
choosing goals that accomplish more than Ego desires for wealth, health, and happiness
learning to recognize projects worthy of your best efforts, projects that challenge you to grow, create, and care for others
dedicating yourself to principles and practices that make life better for you and for those around you
Squaring The Circle is a stage that brings the intellect into sharper focus. For a child, it is going to school for the first time; as a young adult, it might be when you complete your formal education. You are energized with a sense of power, importance, and mission and have great potential to create in ways that may impact the rest of your life.
On the spiritual level, Squaring the Circle is about dedicating yourself to principles and practices that enhance life for you and others. From that perspective, I thought I’d use July’s mandalas to talk about color and the body’s spiritual energy centers — the chakras.
Body Mapping, ancient illustration from Mapping The Body by Mark Kidel and Susan Rowe-Leete, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
The Chakras & Color
Chakra is from the Sanskrit word for wheel. It is believed that we have hundreds of energy centers inside and around us, all connected to major organs and glands that govern parts of our bodies. On a daily basis we collect energy from different levels of vibrations, including color, that are utilized by the body.
Here are the general ideas and color schemes for each chakra:
- RED – 1st CHAKRA — base of spine: basic needs, physical health, security, survival, connections to first tribe, community
- ORANGE – 2nd CHAKRA — between navel and tailbone: autonomy, self-worth, issues around gender, sexuality, money, energy to create (including procreation)
- YELLOW — 3rd CHAKRA — behind the navel, at the solar plexus: independence, self-esteem, ability to take action, to move toward your goals
- GREEN — 4th CHAKRA — near the heart: attachment to parents, ability to nurture yourself and others, ability to form intimate relationships, the many ways we love
- BLUE — 5th CHAKRA — throat area: creating and communicating in your own voice, sharing and expressing gifts, talents, and the spiritual within us
- INDIGO — 6th CHAKRA — just above and between the eyes: the Third Eye, developing wisdom, center for creative visualization, learning to receive information from the Higher Self
- VIOLET — 7th CHAKRA — crowns the top of the head: the 1000-petaled lotus, transcending separate existence, living in the moment, connecting with the Universe, belief that you are more than your physical body
What begin to emerge in a year-long mandala practice are patterns of color. As the months go by, you start to notice a gravitation to certain colors (the same way your body is drawn to certain foods that contain the vitamins and minerals you crave). Shades, hues, tints, values make up the thousands of color vibrations that help the body heal.
I am drawn to oranges and reds with certain undertones of blue and shades of black. The oranges and reds are at the base of the spine, connected to survival and root energies. It makes sense to me as I continue to dig into the past while working on my memoir. I revisit what has passed for rediscovery and healing. Certain materials draw me, too; those that create strong bold colors (while others may be drawn to pastels).
What Colors Are Showing Up In Your Mandalas?
RED – Is some part of you feeling vulnerable or in need of healing? How is your relationship with your tribe? Do you have a vibrant stirring of energy to create something new.
ORANGE – Are you honoring your own needs as well as those who are in relationship with you? Do you struggle with addictions to food, money, sex? Is your creative energy ebbing or flowing? Are you acting with integrity around your commitments.
YELLOW – Are you ready to learn, think, plan, take action for your future. Does your self-will overrun your common sense and good judgment. Do you accept yourself fully for who you are and stand up for what you believe in from your own unique point of view.
GREEN – Are you able to forgive (yourself and others)? Is your heart broken? Are you opening emotionally to new relationships or expanding your capacity to love and nurture.
BLUE – Is it time you spoke up about an issue you’ve been quiet about? Are you sharing your gifts with the rest of the world or hoarding them, keeping them close to your body. Do you feel you speak with integrity about your own points of view.
INDIGO – Are your intuitive abilities being expanded at this time. Do you feel a sense of wonder. Do you see the mysteries and joy in our everyday mundane existence.
VIOLET – Are you living in the present moment? Do you feel connected to something bigger than you, a larger Universal Consciousness. Do you share with others the wisdom you have gained from living in this world.
As artists and writers, color detail is of prime importance to us. Volumes of literature have been written about the meanings, color systems, and energies of the chakras. What I have posted is derived from the many books I’ve read over the years (I’ve barely scratched the surface).
For a primer, you can read An Introduction To The Chakras at Chakra Energy. And here are a few more links for exploration, including a Chakra Test to gauge strengths and areas of vulnerability:
- The 7 Chakras – color locations, imbalances, stimulants
- Chakra Chart – associated body parts and psychological associations
- Brief History of the Chakra System – chakras are rooted across many cultures
- Take A Chakra Test – to see what energy centers you are strongest in as well as the ones you need to work on
- Chakra Energies – Ways to Energize Your Chakras – art and color are included as ways to stimulate the chakras
There is so much to be learned from the things we take on as practices. Structure, repetition, and dedication to a practice prove to be excellent teachers. Practice helps me to become a better listener.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, September 8th, 2008