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Posts Tagged ‘Wheel of Life’

Gothic Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

ONE: Crystallization, Stage 9 of The Great Round, creates the opening in which seeds planted in earlier stages bloom into full flowers. The first mandala alludes to the rose windows in Gothic cathedrals, designs that continually pull the gaze back to the center.  

Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Rainbow Magic pens that erase and change color

 
 
 
 

Rule Of 8’s, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

TWO: The underlying structure of this Stage 9 mandala is based on the number 8 which imparts order to the complex design (when you begin this mandala, give yourself plenty of time for the details). Derived from a Turkish design, it communicates the Islamic belief that all is held within the One, or Allah. 

Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils

 
 
 
 

Sri Yantra, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

THREE: In this mandala based on the Sri Yantra, a sacred Hindu design used for meditation, the single downward-pointing triangle in the center is a symbol of divine feminine energy, the source of all creation. Expanding outward from the center, upward-and-downward-pointing triangles signify all male and female creatures coming into being. Lotus petals enclose the field of emanation; lines that represent the 4 directions, the 4 elements, and other ordering principles border the whole. 

Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils

 
 
 
 

Rule Of 6’s, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

FOUR: The overall pattern of this mandala is based on a Hindu design signifying creation. Based on the number 6, the interplay of lines brings one circle after another dancing into view.   

Medium: Colored exclusively with Rainbow Magic pens that erase and change color, experimenting with color subtraction and complements

 
 
 
 

September Mandalas — Stage 9 -Crystallization
 
 
When you reach Stage 9 of The Great Round, it is time to pause and take a moment to stop and smell the roses. The Crystallization of Stage 9 is a time of fulfillment, satisfaction, and completion. It is opened by the adult experience of finishing a project or fulfilling an important commitment (such as raising a family) which creates a natural pause to experience delight and joy in what you have accomplished.

These mandalas are from the 9th month of a year-long mandala practice that began with the post Coloring Mandalas. Early in 2008, I made the decision 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 9 – Crystallization are:
 
 

  • a slowing of creative activity followed by a sense of balance and relaxed enjoyment
  • completing tasks and finding deep satisfaction in what you have accomplished
  • scattered puzzle pieces come together in harmony; seeds planted come to full bloom
  • seeing through appearances to grasp fundamental structures of reality
  • reviewing each facet of what you have created, you survey your labor of love, and conclude “this is good”

 
 

In later cycles, Crystallization is a time when you achieve mastery of a spiritual practice. It’s a sweet time, a moment of joy. I think that’s why many of the mandalas in Suzanne F. Fincher’s Coloring Mandalas 2 are based on the Crystallization phase. I was going to do another elaborate essay about color systems at the end of this post. But it’s been over a year since I posted Stage 8, Functioning Ego — August Mandalas (Goethe & Color) (my apologies). So I decided the most important thing I could do for our readers is to complete the publishing of the entire Great Round I completed in 2008.

I’ve learned a lot from the practice of mandalas. It’s moved out into my photography practice. I’ve continued on to Coloring Mandalas 2 and hope to start posting them in 2010. Anything we take on as a practice — writing, haiku, photography, doodling — takes us where we need to go. Whether we decide to take a practice to the next level, or abandon it altogether because it has run its course, the structure, repetition, and dedication prove to be excellent teachers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to color a few mandalas while Liz watches the Vikings game!

 

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, November 15th, 2009

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Dragon Fight – June Mandalas, Winding Down – July 4th Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Sink Mandala II – Dragon Claw, Kohler Design Center, Kohler,
Wisconsin, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 

fierce constellation
one dragon, many faces
all run down the drain


water covers fire
ouroboros alchemy
swallows no desire


shadow eats itself
raw prima materia
circle is complete








-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, November 12th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), haiku for Kohler Arts, Dragon Fight — June Mandalas

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By Louis Robertson

 
 

This list is a work-in-progress and represents some of the lessons life has taught me. I started it as a “gift” to my children and wanted it to be something they could return to again and again to help put things into perspective and to add focus to their lives. QuoinMonkey, whose opinion I have always trusted, encouraged me to share it with a larger audience. I agreed hoping that the readers of red Ravine may find something in this they can use.

 
 
 

Things I Wanted You To Learn

 
 

1 – As long as you remember me I will stay alive in your memories. You are my legacy, my magnum opus.

 
 

2 – I am very proud of the person each of you has become. Although I did not say it as much as I felt it, you are the source of my joy and pride as a father.

 
 

3 – You can achieve anything! If you can imagine it, you can do it, but it will take hard work. It will not come easy, but if you believe in your ability to achieve, know you have the desire to see it through and persevere, then it can happen. Oh, and a good plan helps.

 
 

4 – Everyone has worth! Even the marginalized — especially the marginalized — have something to contribute to your life. You need to work beyond the visceral feelings, put yourself in their place, and look for the lesson.

 
 

5 – You are constantly being presented with opportunities to learn and grow. God doesn’t give things to you, rather he allows opportunities to be presented to you and it is your responsibility to recognize them, learn from them, and grow.

 
 

6 – Don’t get stuck in the past. What happened, happened. No amount of rehashing, bitching, complaining, or wishing will change the fact that it happened. Look for the lesson and move on, but understand that sometimes it may take years for the lesson to present itself to you.

 
 

7 – When someone has the ability to really irritate you, either by their actions or beliefs, step back! Try to identify what is bothersome and put a new face on it. For example, that person who is always butting into your conversations? Ask yourself, What purpose does this serve to them? Are they lonely, feeling marginalized, friendless, or just trying to get noticed? Then wonder what their self worth may be to have to do this to feel alive, noticed, or a part of something. Maybe even wonder how things must be at home for them. Now ask yourself “How can I help them feel better about their life?” But also remember, sometimes people are just jerks.

 
 

8 – Always remember that you are loved and have a large family to fall back on when things are tough. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; it is not a sign of weakness. It took me 43 years to realize that allowing people to step up and take some of the burden from me is often a gift to them.

 
 

9 – Remember the lesson I taught you as a kid about power. You have a reservoir of power that you control. Be stingy with who you give it to. That kid that knows he can make you mad by calling you fat is taking away some of your power. To get it back you need to be aware of your reaction and change it. This will not only help you with your personal interactions but is essential when trying to break a cycle of reactionary behavior. Once you fall into a pattern, the pattern will repeat itself until something changes. Changing your reaction will make the interaction more real and will cause you to look at it from another perspective. Once you change the pattern it will either fall apart or create a new trigger to a new pattern. Listen to that little voice that says, “Why do we always have the same argument over and over?” and use that pause to look for the pattern, and then change it.

 
 

10 – Make at least one person smile every day. Find something to compliment them on. Do something unexpected for them. Tell them they are important to you. Some days it may be the catalyst that changes their lives or the start of a chain reaction of passing the smile on. When you are given the choice, make a positive impact rather than a negative impression.

 
 

11 – Challenge yourself to be the best person you can be! Don’t settle for okay, strive to be great! Do each task to the best of your ability. Make it a game or a challenge. Don’t just do the job to check it off a list, do it so you can stand back and say out loud, “I did that!”

 
 
 
 

∞ ∞ ∞

 
 
 

About Louis: Louis Robertson (R3) is a divorced father of two teenage children who lives in South Central Pennsylvania. His day-to-day life centers on his children and teaching them about responsible living. He earns a living as a computer systems consultant.

Louis has experienced medical challenges since he was a teenager. After his first liver transplant in 1993, his perspective on life became more focused and his appreciation for the little treasures life grants increased. When he learned he needed a second liver transplant, his focus moved to preparing his family and children for a future without him. He now is a candidate for a third liver transplant and lives his life watching for life lessons he can pass on to his children.

 

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The Black Watch Tartan & Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Black Watch Tartan & Targe, Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






brand new lease on life
back in the memoir saddle
where do I begin?


ancestors calling
haunting photos of Georgia —
let’s start with the Scots


family line(age),
saturated memories;
everything passed down.






Georgia’s Scottish Highlanders: Memoir Calls Again


Life circumstances have bestowed upon me the gift of time. I called Mom last weekend and we began talking ancestry again (one of our favorite topics). I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting Georgia this summer, but the seed has been planted. I’ve renewed the research catalogue we use for the family tree. And have begun going back through the photographs taken over the last two summers in Georgia and South Carolina.

History excites me; I love the ghosts of the past. Especially if they are connected to the history of our family. Mom has (almost) traced our ancestry back to the Scottish Highlanders in Darien, Georgia (Irish side of family, perhaps Scots-Irish). When we were at John Wesley’s place (English clergyman and founder of Methodism) on St. Simons Island, we read several accounts in old ledgers that led us to believe a member of our family was a Scottish Highlander. The search goes on for that one definitive piece of recorded evidence to back it up.

The Highlanders were known for their battle skills and the British recruited them to help settle the Colonies. Scottish troops serving in the British Army were sent to Georgia in 1736 to set up a new outpost. Under the leadership of General James Oglethorpe, these men established the settlement of Darien and a sawmill along the Altamaha River.

Mom, Liz, and I visited the buzzing wildness of Fort King George last summer. We braved the dripping humidity to walk through one of the ancient cemeteries at the edge of Darien, and the perimeter of a tabby building, now a historic site, that was one of the first black churches in the area (at the time many people in Darien were against slavery). It’s a sleepy, quiet river town. And boy, was it hot there last July!


Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Warrior Shield: History of the Targe


We had driven to Darien after our stay on beautiful St. Simons Island and a visit to Fort Frederica. St. Simons played a pivotal role in the struggle for empire between the competing colonial interests of England and Spain. Georgia’s fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on the Island. Fort Frederica’s troops defeated the Spanish, ensuring Georgia’s future as a British colony. Today, the archeological remnants of Frederica are protected by the National Park Service.

While Liz was out taking video of a British reenactment at Fort Frederica (complete with musket fire), Mom and I, sweat-covered and tired, slipped into the historical area where it was cool and checked out the books and exhibits. I was immediately drawn to the glass case with what looked like a life-sized mandala shield that turned out to be a targe.

One of our ancestors may have worn The Black Watch Tartan (plaid fabric) authorized for use by the Scottish troops serving in the British Army. Or maybe they carried a targe. I did find a link to the history of the targe written by a man who is still constructing them by hand — John Stewart, The Targeman. According to his site, the targe dates back to the 16th Century and was once the Scottish Highlander’s first line of defense. I was fascinated by the details in these excerpts:


Construction —
Targes are round shields between 18″ and 21″ (45–55 cm) in diameter with an inside formed from two very thin layers of flat wooden boards, the grain of each layer at right angles to the other. Targes were fixed together with small wooden pegs, forming plywood. The front was covered with a tough cowhide that was fixed to the wood with many brass, or in some cases, silver, nails. Sometimes brass plates were also fixed to the face for strength and decoration.

Some targes had center bosses of brass, and a few of these could accept a long steel spike which screwed into a small “puddle” of lead which was fixed to the wood, under the boss. When not in use, the spike could be unscrewed and placed in a sheath on the back of the targe.


Materials —
Most targes had their back covered with cow and goat, and 80% of original targes still show straw, crude wool and other stuffing material beneath their ruined skins. Some targes, usually those actually used in battle, had their backs covered in a piece of red cloth taken from the uniform of a government soldier (a “Redcoat”) that the owner had killed in battle.


Design —
The face of a targe was often decorated with embossed Celtic style patterns. Typically two general patterns were used – concentric circles, or a centre boss with subsidiary bosses around this. An exception is the targe in Perth Museum in Scotland which is of a star design (see photo at his site). Although some targe designs appear to have been more popular than others, there is very little to indicate that there ever were “clan” designs.


The targe reminds me of a protective mandala — a warrior shield. Yet I had to wonder how much protection it actually provided in times of war. The Targeman answered that question, too. He mentioned that after the disastrous defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the carrying of the targe would have been banned, and many may have been destroyed or put to other uses.


Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Scottish Highlander Targe, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Epilogue


It gave me an eerie feeling knowing I was walking the same ground my ancestors had centuries before. It’s not that all of this historical detail will make it into a memoir — it’s terra firma, a place to stand. The composting of past experience lays the ground for the person I have become. What if an ancestor’s Black Watch Tartan and Targe, in some strange way, blazed the way for the mandala practice last year? And the circle archetype must hold both war and peace.



Resources & Information:



-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, March 5th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), Coloring Mandalas, W. H. Murray – Providence Moves Too

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Summer Tea Rose, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Summer Tea Rose, from our summer garden, forms a perfect natural mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I try to end the year with a Gratitude List. I find it a good practice to honor having lived another year. And to equally honor the people, places, and sentient beings who make life rich and worth living.

Last year, I used the ABC’s as a format for a 2007 Gratitude List and liked that structure, so I’m going to continue with it this year. I kept it simple, and I’m sure have only touched the surface. If I’ve forgotten anything or anyone, please know you are in my heart.

What are you grateful for? For many, 2008 was a hard year financially, emotionally, and physically. I find that a belief in something bigger than me, and faith, keep me going in the down times. I want to try to remember to live one day at a time.

On the 2nd day of 2009, it is sunny, blue, clear, and I woke up to exactly 0 degree temperatures, a perfect circle — the best of winter in Minnesota. Winter is all whites, blacks, blues and grays and makes me feel alive. And, for some reason, Winter always reminds me of the color of Spring.



_____________________________________________



A – Afterglow – making Art, making love, walking in the sun, glistening humidity on the face of a July Savannah day


B – Building & Blooming – a writing life, a life together, a community, a garden, a studio space, a spiritual foundation


C – Chaco, Cravings, Creating – creating anything: a photograph, a piece of writing, a mandala, a clay set of Runes, a painting, a community, a blog. Chaco — I’m so grateful he is alive to take us into the New Year, our little miracle. Cravings – what do you crave? That’s where your passions lie.


D – Death & Dying – the threat of death wakes us up; the death of dry summer flowers makes way for next year’s Spring blooms; the death of one career makes space for the life of another; the death of a loved one or pet leaves us grieving, sad, yet appreciative at the miracle of one more day.


E – Eating! – food, food, food, all kinds of food. Don’t like to cook but love to try new foods and savor the old Family Recipes.


F – Friends & Family & Fathers – circles of closeness, moving out from center. Different levels of intimacy, all important to a thriving life. It would be lonely without family and friends. Fathers — I have had quite a few. I’m thankful for what they have each brought to my life, and the chance to rebuild broken bridges.


G – Gratitude – humble gratitude for others, those who came before us, those who run parallel, the children of the future, all teach me perspective


H – Humility & Home – it’s a gift to be alive. Humility helps me remember — Do not waste this precious life. Home is the place that holds history, the place I feel safe.


I – Introspection — most comfortable in the cave of Bear, what I learn there can make me a wiser, better person when I go back out into the world


J – J. & January – I’m grateful my brother walks with us into another year after spending time last summer in the ICU. It’s always scary when family members are gravely ill. January offers the promise of a New Year.


K – Kindred Spirits – those who travel beside us. They change faces from time to time, but that is to be expected. Endings lead to new beginnings.


L – Love & Liz – sappy, I know, but love is a wondrous thing. It heals many wounds. Was it in Bucket List where the narrator said, “We are not the things that love us; we are the things we love.” Giving is better than receiving.  Love lost brings the opportunity to love again. You never know when you will fall in love.


M – Mothers & Grandmothers – mothers continue to provide much of the nurturing in this world. My mother is my biggest fan and offers loving support to me in this crazy writing life. Thanks for traveling with me and continuing to answer my endless questions about family history. Thanks for believing in me. And for instilling into your children permission to follow their dreams. Thanks to my Grandmothers who walk with me every day.


N – Noses – medium, broad, ski-jump, upturned, and small. Noses hold glasses close to the eyes. Smells are the best connectors to memories. Think of your favorite smells. A keen sense of smell leads to a keen sense of detail.


O – Optimism – I tend to see the glass half-full. I am of the belief that setting positive intention creates cairns that guide through the tough times. Right or wrong, it helps me through sadness and grief and is the philosophy I live by.


P – Passion & Peace – do they go hand in hand? Maybe not. It’s hard to believe the things people do to each other out of passion. It makes it hard to keep the peace. Still, I believe it is possible.


Q – Quagmire – one of my favorite words. noun:  a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot. What would life be without the uncertainty of sinking quagmires that eventually lead back to solid ground.


R – red Ravine – so grateful for the community who visits here. And for the creative practice that has developed around red Ravine. Every day offers new surprises. Thanks for dropping by, for what you have given to creating this space.


S – Summer — the longer I live in a Winter climate, the more I appreciate Summer and the Southern roots I grew up with. When I lived there as a child (and now when I visit) I never stop sweating!


T – Teachers & Time – the gift of time. Every moment is a gift. The next could be our last breath. Or something could happen that changes our lives forever. There is no way to prepare except to honor each moment. Teachers, mentors who are wiser than I am. If only I would remember to keep listening.


U – Underwear – it’s a simple thing, isn’t it, underwear? Some people don’t wear it but I can’t imagine not having it. Cotton, all cotton, please, and I only wear Jockeys For Her. More expensive but they last longer. So worth it!


V – Vacations – oh, how I long for another vacation where I sit on a beach somewhere and do nothing. No writing, no thinking, no work, no nothing. Simply being still and silent and listening to the ocean, Zen heartbeat of the Universe.


W – Writing & Art Buddies – they take many forms. Writing Practice groups, community on red Ravine, writing retreat friends, local writers, regional writers, artists who inspire, writers and poets who have written books that changed the world. It’s too lonely to try to do this alone.


X – X-Treme Living – life goes on with or without us. It can be an extreme act of grace to make it through another day.


Y – ybonesy – I couldn’t do this without her. The creative collaboration of red Ravine has led down many fruitful, winding roads. And it all started that day in Taos after a writing retreat with Natalie Goldberg. I have so much gratitude for Natalie who taught me about the practice of writing and helped me believe in myself.


Z – Zest for Life – passion and doing what we love keep us from becoming complacent. Please, don’t let me take life for granted. (Plus, Zest is a fun word to say!)




Raindrops On Roses, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved   Rose Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Rose Mandala, Raindrops On Roses, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Friday, January 2nd, 2009

-related posts and to read more about the practice of Gratitude:  Feelin’ Down For The Holidays? Make A Gratitude List, The ABC’s Of A Prosperous 2008 – Gratitude, I Am Grateful For The Alphabet 😉

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Splash Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Splash Fire (Dreamscape), Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Winter Solstice is peaking in the Great White North. The darkness of winter reflects off the cold blue snow. Yesterday we had blizzard conditions and the cottage sits behind a wall of white. I wanted to get up and write in the shadows, calling upon dreams I wish to bring into the light.

Mr. StripeyPants sits beside me on the couch, trying to keep warm. Kiev and Liz are still asleep. Chaco, bless his heart, is spending the weekend in an animal hospital. He declined quickly this week and, after two visits to our vet, we had to make the hard decision to put him in emergency care over the weekend.

The doctor called last night to say he is steadily improving. At 12 years old, he is experiencing the beginnings of kidney failure. We are not sure how long we’ll have with him. Quite a few tears were shed this week. Into the fire it all goes. I can release the grief and pain. I don’t have to carry the burden.

Winter Solstice in Minnesota hit her highpoint around 6 a.m CST. From that moment on, each day takes us more into the light. The Universal Time for Winter Solstice in 2008 is 12 21 12:03:34 UT. In the Midwest, we have to subtract 6 hours to arrive at the accurate time zone. (To learn more about Solstices and how to translate time for your part of the world visit the links and comments in Solstice Fire In Winter or Winter Solstice — Making Light Of The Dark.)

Around Noon we will head over to our friends’ home for a Winter Solstice celebration. They usually use the dried and cut Yule tree from last year’s season as kindling to start the fire. On the longest night of the year, we’ll draw on the cave-like energy of Bear, Spirit Guardian of the North.



Bear is feminine reflective energy. She is known across many cultures as a symbol for divinity and healing, and a powerful totem. According to the Animal Spirits cards, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, the Ainu people of the northern islands of Japan believed the Bear was a mountain god. In India, bears are believed to prevent disease and the cave symbolizes the cave of  Brahma. And among the Finno-Ugric peoples, the bear was the god of heaven.

Many Native American peoples regard Bear as a Spirit helper. Here is an excerpt from the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson:


The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection. It lies in the West on the great Medicine Wheel of Life. Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree. In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, to digest the year’s experience. It is said that our goals reside in the West also. To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary.

To become like Bear and enter the safety of the womb-like cave, we must attune ourselves to the energies of the Eternal Mother, and receive nourishment from the placenta of the Great Void. The Great Void is the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities. If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us. Each and every being has the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know.

     -from the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson

 

Bear is the West, the intuitive side, the right brain. Bear invites us to calm the chatter and enter the silence. To hibernate, Bear travels to the Cave, seeks answers while dreaming, and is reborn in the Spring. In the Dream World, our Ancestors sit in council and advise us about alternative pathways leading to our goals. They open doors to inner-knowing where “the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of Eternity.”

My Grandmother Elise’s birthday is on Winter Solstice. And I often think of her this time of year and call her Spirit into the Circle; I can feel her looking down on us. Solstice is a time of release, a time to consider what to leave behind in the dark, what seeds we wish to plant that may mature with the light of Spring.


Happy Winter Solstice to all. The dark New Moon signifies the beginning of a new cycle that will come to fruition at the next Full Moon. May you celebrate with open hearts. Merry meet, Merry part, and Merry meet again.




     Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.    Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bear Breathing Fire, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Winter Solstice, Sunday, December 21st, 2008

-related to posts: 8 Minutes, and 10 Things I Learned Last Weekend (Solstice x Number)

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Night Flower Faces The Sun, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Night Flower Faces The Sun, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



ONE: The 8th Stage of the Great Round, Functioning Ego, allows you to stand on your own two feet, reach out, and engage the Universe, much like a flower turns to face the sun. Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Rainbow Magic pens that change & erase color.




5-Pointed Star, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

5-Pointed Star, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



TWO: In the rising star of Stage 8, others begin to take notice of skills, abilities, and dedication to your craft. The 5-poined star mandala has a firm foundation, arms outstretched, head held high. Medium: Reeves Water Colour Pencils.



Laws Of Nature, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Laws Of Nature, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



THREE: During Stage 8, you take life by the hand and learn to manage the many circles spinning around you. Whether a complex project, people working together in the spirit of cooperation, or the waxing phases of the Moon, you are learning to work in harmony with Nature. Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.




Thunderbird, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Thunderbird, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



FOUR: In this Native American mandala, the static cross sprouts wings and becomes a spinning Thunderbird form, ancient symbol of the Sun. Archaeological evidence of this shape on ornaments dates from the Neolithic period. Medium: Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.





August Mandalas — Stage 8 – Functioning Ego


Whether starting your own business, remodeling your home, or managing interpersonal issues as a community leader, Functioning Ego is about taking Action. A time of doing, not being, Stage 8 becomes activated when you take the initiative to bring an inspiration into reality, and really kicks in when you are engrossed in the challenging tasks required to reach your goals.

These mandalas are from the 8th month of a year-long mandala practice that began with the post Coloring Mandalas . Early this year, I made the decision 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 8 – Functioning Ego are:

  • ability to work comfortably in group settings, organizations, or alone, whichever is needed to accomplish your goals
  • inspiration becomes reality through great effort, and takes on a form that is seen and appreciated by others
  • you are actively engaged toward personal goals, living life on life’s terms, using the imagination to the fullest to create new and wondrous things
  • on the spiritual level, healing takes place through finding ways of sharing wisdom gently and respectfully with others, in ways they can understand



I’m currently working on the tail end of October’s mandalas, along with a painting in the studio. The textures and colors are kind of wild on the canvas, so I thought I’d continue to use the mandalas to talk about color. Some time ago, when I was researching information on Providence, I ran into Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Theory of Colours (original German title, Zur Farbenlehre).


Goethe's Colour Wheel, 1809, image Public Domain

Goethe, originator of the concept of World Literature (Weltliteratur), took great interest in the literatures of England, France, Italy, classical Greece, and Persia, and wrote what is considered a high point of world literature, the two-part drama Faust. Theory of Colours was published in 1810 and Wassily Kandinsky called it, “one of the most important works.”

The last major color breakthrough had been in 1660 with Sir Isaac Newton whose work in optics led to his creation of the color wheel. For Newton all the colors existed within white light. But Goethe’s Colour Wheel arose from the interaction of light and dark, and the psychological effects of color. Goethe didn’t see darkness as an absence of light, but polar opposite and interacting with light. Colour resulted from the interaction of light and shadow.


He wrote:

Yellow is a light which has been dampened by darkness; Blue is a darkness weakened by the light. Light is the simplest most undivided most homogenous being that we know. Confronting it is the darkness.

–Letter to Jacobi


Goethe's Triangle, image for educational purposes, from Color Mixing and Goethe's Triangle (csbrownedu)

Goethe wanted to uncover color’s secrets and investigated whether rules could be used to govern the artistic use of color. He created a Colour Wheel but later found his ideas were best expressed within an equilateral triangle. In Goethe’s original triangle, the three primaries red, yellow, and blue, are arranged at the vertices of the triangle. He chose the primaries based as much on their emotional content as on their physical characteristics.

To Goethe it was important to understand human reaction to color, and his research marks the beginning of modern color psychology. He believed that his triangle was a diagram of the human mind and linked each color with certain emotions. Blue evoked a quiet mood, while red was festive and imaginative. The emotional aspect of the arrangement of the triangle reflects Goethe’s belief that the emotional content of each color be taken into account by artists.

Goethe’s theories of color and emotional response, once considered radical, are commonplace in today’s world. Over the course of the year, I am learning about my own color preferences in relationship to the circle. Perhaps color observations about our work say as much about us emotionally, as they do our art.



-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, October 30th, 2008

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Dragon Fight – June Mandalas, Winding Down – July 4th Mandalas, Squaring The Circle — July Mandalas (Chakras & Color), and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Reflection Of Things To Come, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Reflection Of Things To Come, performance & installation art piece, b&w photo from sketchbook & journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Providence
1382, “foresight, prudent anticipation,” from O.Fr. providence (12c.), from L. providentia “foresight, precaution,” from providentem (nom. providens), prp. of providere (see provide). Providence (usually capitalized) “God as beneficient caretaker,” first recorded 1602.




Old Journals

I stumbled on a lost box of old journals in the studio last week. I thumbed through one and tossed it aside. It was half-full of incoherent thoughts. On the cover of another was a painting by the Zen monk, Ryōkan who lived most of his life as a hermit. I remembered the cover, but not what was inside. I had bought the blank journal at Orr Books on one of my monthly trips into Uptown.

I used to spend a whole day walking the pavement, visiting bookstores, buying art materials, taking myself to dinner at The Lotus. Dinner was the icing on the cake — beef lo mein, iced tea, fresh spring rolls, and a smorgasbord of books spread out on the table around me. Delicious.

Orr Books, Borders, and The Lotus are gone. Uptown is a shell of its former self. What used to be trendy has moved on. Or maybe it was me.



Corners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I sat down in my rocking chair and opened the cover of the journal. On the first page was a black and white glossy I’d printed of an art performance collaboration with Jennifer. That was followed by a color drawing of a mandala with Gaelic names and symbols, the Celtic Wheel of Seasons. Samhain (pronounced ‘sɑːwɪn) or Day of the Dead, has morphed into Halloween. It is the beginning of the seasonal calendar, the first High Holiday of the Celtic New Year.

The drawings reminded me of my old sketchbooks from art school. But that was long before. The journal I held in my hands was from the year 2001 — the first year I traveled to Taos, New Mexico to take a weeklong workshop with Natalie Goldberg. I had a corporate job back then, and big dreams. After 9 years, I was working hard emotionally to let myself leave. I wanted to jump off into a life structured around writing and art.

How high was the cliff? I was petrified.



Ryokan By Hand (Calligraphy), Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan By Hand (Calligraphy), Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan By Hand (Calligraphy), Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Providence

The effort came in learning how to get out of my own way; I used every tool, rope, and carabiner in my arsenal. The Universe seemed to conspire in my favor. After two years of self-imposed isolation, I drove 1200 miles to Montana and hung out with my old friends in the Bitterroot Mountains for a week. I was in a gay bowling league in Minneapolis that year and met tons of new friends.

The last night of the Strike Pool, my name was called. All I had to do was bowl a strike on the spot, and I would win the kitty. Every eye in the place was on me.

Something must have guided my wrist. The pins fell in slow motion like the parting of the Red Sea. I left with pockets stuffed — over a thousand dollars in $1’s, $10’s, $20’s, and $5’s; a buff friend walked me to my car. The next day, I went down to the bank and exchanged the stack of green for a money order made out to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. That’s the only way I could afford to go on my first writing retreat sitting under Taos Mountain.



Journal Entry -  Thoreau, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Journal Entry -  Thoreau, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Journal Entry -  Thoreau, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



There were other things in the journal/sketchbook that reminded me of how hard I worked back then, how hungry I was, how much I wanted to live an abundant life around writing and art. I became fearless and put myself out there in strange and unusual ways. There were four pages on the stages of Alchemy, drawings from Prima Materia to Solutio, starting at the Full Moon on 5/7/1.

On a page marked June 9th was a Medicine Shield, I think it was a Butterfly spread. There was a page of drawings on the Ancient Tree Alphabet and its relationship to the Runes. “What Is community?” was written at the top of another page, followed by writing exploration, ideas, and meanderings.

I had forgotten I had taken an Enneagram workshop that year (the Ego forms around 1 of 9 enneagrams). There are positive aspects to each identity, but the False Cores of the Enneagram are harmful, learned belief systems, Monkey Mind mantras, that when studied, help answer the question of why we feel separate and alone, rather than part of a larger whole.

With Providence we are aligned with the Universe; whereas the separation of Ego causes us anxiety, insecurity, and pain. The Enneagram types and False Cores were listed in the journal this order (turns out I’m a Four) with notes that followed on ways to turn the tide:


  1. Perfectionist – False Core: Something is wrong with me
  2. Helper – False Core: I am worthless
  3. Performer – False Core: I have an inability to do
  4. Romantic – False Core: I am inadequate
  5. Observer – False Core: I am nothing; I don’t exist
  6. Loyalist – False Core: I am alone
  7. Epicure – False Core: I am incomplete
  8. Boss – False Core: I am powerless
  9. Mediator – False Core: I am loveless




Wilderness & Thoreau

My favorite journal spread was a rough drawing of 10 Mile Canyon in the Pintler Mountains of Montana. I had taken a once-in-a-lifetime pack trip with a friend, 2 dogs, and 4 llamas that we carted in the back of her Toyota pickup. I had never saddled a llama before or even been that close to one. Their names were underlined in my journal with the following notes:

  • Crow – for the Crow Reservation where she adopted him, part coyote, she called him “Crazy Indian Dog”
  • Camas – from the purple flower, like a gentle lap dog
  • Rumpel – Stiltskin – The King, The Old Man – he was 15 years old and all white
  • Chaco – for Chaco Canyon in New Mexico – he was feisty and black
  • Willie – the friendliest, roams free, he was brown, she called him William III
  • 10-Mile – for 10 Mile Canyon – the lead and the youngest with a white stripe, very stubborn


I never would have remembered these details without writing them in my journal by the fire (it reminds me why it’s important for a writer to take good notes):

The glacial Montana lakes we passed that trip were not named. There was a Snow Cave at 9000 feet. We saw a pair of migrating Sandhill Cranes on the hike in. Llamas do spit but it’s okay; it’s only cud, regurgitated grass or hay. And they only spit if they are irritated. The moon rose on Friday, July 5th, 2001 at 11:45, one day past full. The wind was constant, keeping the mosquitoes away. Until later that night, when the tent zipper broke and we spent the buzzing night with our heads covered.


The journal was so alive. Did I really go on a llama pack trip in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness? Drive twice cross-country by myself, join a bowling league, win $1000 on a single strike, attend a writing retreat on the edge of Taos desert with 48 complete strangers, all in one year? When did I stop sketching and drawing? Have I become complacent? Lazy?



Journal Entry -  Thoreau, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan By Hand (Calligraphy), Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I don’t know if I’m supposed to be laying low, slipping inside like the turtle way I feel. Or force myself to get back out there, take the next step, walk hard in the world again. It’s alright to rest, reflect, fill the well. But that journal woke me up — nothing comes easy. Nothing comes without hard work and risk. In 2001 I was working my ass off. The Universe lined up beside and behind me, nudging me along.

It’s kind of like those few lines from Natalie about the angels cheering her on. Or the way W. H. Murray and Goethe write of Providence. Or these lines in scratchy block print from the first few pages of my journal, penned by Henry David Thoreau:


I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be explained, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

In proportion, as he simplifies his life the laws of the Universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Journal/Sketchbook Entry, March 18th, 2001
Near the Spring Equinox
Time of Crane Migration Through Nebraska




Providence Revisited

Do you believe in Providence? Not magic or miracles. But that if you make positive effort with Great Determination, the Earth and Sky, a Higher Power, will help you along? Do you believe in Fate? Or do you call it Faith?

Providence extends to the neighborhood, the state, the region, the country, the world. If the time is right, the old systems will crash to the ground, making way for the new. The right person will come into power, into the place they need to be. Change is not always positive. But it may be necessary.

Providence – is it fate or faith? Neither or both? Usually when it’s time to move on, challenging personal opportunities present themselves. Do we bite? Show a willingness to sink into the gristle? Or ignore the signs and keep living the status quo. Every day, we are presented with the chance to make a new choice.

If we’ve built castles in the air, then those are our dreams. The time is not lost. With effort, and practice, structure creates a solid foundation. What once seemed impossible is now routine. Am I living old dreams? Maybe it’s time to replace them with something new.



Journal Entry -  Thoreau, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan By Hand (Calligraphy), Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ryokan Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Journal Entry – Thoreau, Ryōkan By Hand, Ryōkan Journal, Corners, from 2001 sketchbook & journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2008, all photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, October 16th, 2008

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CrossWings, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

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.

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.

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.




Crusaders Shield, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

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, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

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:


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

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Dragon Fight – June Mandalas, Winding Down – July 4th Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Befriending The Dragon, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Befriending The Dragon, hand-drawn mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



ONE: Hand-drawn mandala incorporating the internal conflict and fight of the Dragon. Started as a blank circle, drawn with a black Sharpie, and colored with Crayola markers, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, and Reeves Water Colour Pencils.




Eye Of The Beholder II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Eye Of The Beholder II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



TWO: The eye at the center of this mandala signifies the Ego, the part of you that you call “I.” The birth or rebirth of Ego happens many times during your life as the understanding of your relationship to yourself, and others, changes.




Eschers Dragons, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Escher’s Dragons, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



THREE: Dragon Fight brings about polarization of opposites: dark and light, male and female, angel and devil. Increased inner conflict creates energy that can be channeled into expansion of consciousness. The drawing is based on M.C. Escher.




Mother Earth, Father Sky, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mother Earth, Father Sky, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



FOUR: A new viewpoint emerges when you endure the tension of opposites during conflict resolution in Stage 6. Opposites are incorporated into one another as Mother Earth, Father Sky. Or the white and black of the Yin Yang symbol. Solutions to conflict bring something entirely new to the situation, something you may not have thought of prior to that moment.




Animal Spirit Guides, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Animal Spirit Guides, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



FIVE: Dragon Fight is experienced during adolescence and other transitional periods as a new phase in your life. Tribal peoples heighten the normal fear and stress of young people to intensify their initiation into adulthood. Initiates are given secret teachings about the animals that serve the tribe as helpers and guides to the Spirit World. This mandala design was inspired by designs on the creation of ancient pottery and based on an illustration by Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess.





June Mandalas — Stage 6 – Dragon Fight


I bet you thought I’d never get June’s mandalas posted. Here’s how it goes — I get the mandalas done, but then need to work them into the energy and timing for the posts; it’s time to publish June’s mandalas!

The theme for the 6th Stage of The Great Round is Dragon Fight. We began Coloring Mandalas as a practice in January, working with the archetypal circle, and following the twelve passages of Joan Kellogg’s The Great Round.  June’s mandalas are colored and drawn with Crayola markers, Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels, Reeve’s Water Colour Pencils, and a black Ultra Fine Point Sharpie (Sharpies are my favorite writing and drawing utensils).



      Totems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Synthesis, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Dragon Fight takes you face to face with your own internal demons. When you are young, Dragon Fight plays out in adolescent conflicts and helps you separate from your parents, or the tribe or community in which you grew up. You find yourself wanting to break out of traditions; tension increases, issues are polarized, until a new psychological perspective is generated.

As adults, transitions in midlife can bring you around again to the stage of Dragon Fight. On the spiritual level, the 6th Stage is concerned with working through contradictions in belief systems, until your own spiritual footprint emerges.



Eye Of The Beholder (Dragon Close Up), Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, the healing benefits of The Great Round: Stage 6 — Dragon Fight are:

  • learning how to confront self-doubt
  • facing temptations to misuse power
  • learning to incorporate and synthesize both sides of a conflict
  • learning the value of standing independent from tribe or community
  • working through contradictions between religious dogma and personal spiritual experience


With Dragon Fight behind me, Stage 7 falls at High Summer, in the month of my birth. I’ll be traveling over much of July and have a few mandalas left to color for the next stage. Maybe I’ll create a few of my own while I’m on the road.



        Swoop!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Avocado, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Polka Dot Curve, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, July 14th, 2008

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February Mandalas, Labyrinth — March Mandalas, Beginnings — April Mandalas, Target — May Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



At Diamonds they say, “Come for the caffeine, stay for the camaraderie.” Diamonds Coffee Shoppe — Your Atomic Coffee Stop — is located in the Arts District of Northeast Minneapolis. It’s a great place to write. To Dawn and Lucy, it’s not just coffee, it’s a philosophy.

Three of us were there last Wednesday evening to write and do art. It was our weekly creative project meeting, part of our dedication to our practice. Our small group of four alternate between the studio in the Casket Arts Building and Diamonds a few blocks away.

Last week the Pop-A-Lock guys were there; 8 of them formed a circle in the hall next to us (across from the vault), and had their business meeting. As fate would have it, one of them had helped me change a flat tire a month ago over in Brooklyn Park. The world gets smaller every day.



Diamonds In Primary Colors, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

Diamonds Coffee Shoppe
1618 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 789-5282

Hours:
Mon through Thurs – 6 AM to 10 PM
Fridays 6 AM to 10 PM
Saturday 7 AM to 10 PM
Sunday 8 AM to 10PM




 

There were three things on my mind tonight. The first was an end of week meeting with my Gemini friend ybonesy. All went well; we are right on track. The second is Diamonds. I downloaded the photos I took last Wednesday. Maybe there will be a Fotoblog to follow. The third?

Summer Solstice. Liz and I are going to a Solstice celebration tomorrow night at a friend’s house. Fire and water. In Minneapolis, the longest day of the year passed a few hours ago at 5:59pm. When is Solstice in your part of the world?

Below are some links that might help. I was looking at archived photographs of the same date last year; the peonies were well on their way. This year the ants have opened only three blooms. Spring is late in coming. I welcome the light.

Time for Summer. Have a diamonds and light Solstice.



HELPFUL TIME LINKS FOR SOLSTICES & EQUINOXES



  • Times listed for Winter & Summer Solstices (and the Equinoxes) beginning in 1900:

Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth: Seasons From 1900 To 2099 (LINK)

In the Midwest, we have to subtract 6 hours from UT to get Central Standard time (and 5 for Daylight Saving time (LINK). See also Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth – Special Projects (LINK)


  • Here’s how to translate UT time to our time, wherever we are:

Earth & Sky: How Do I Translate Universal Time To My Time? (LINK)


  • Here’s a final link to different systems of time:

U.S. Navy – Systems of Time (LINK)




Diamonds At Dusk, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




-posted on red Ravine, Friday, June 20th, Summer Solstice 2008

-related to posts: 8 Minutes, Winter Solstice – Making Light Of The Dark, Solstice Fire In Winter, 15 Hours, 36 Minutes Of Light

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Mandala Shield, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mandala Shield, hand-drawn mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




ONE: Hand-drawn mandala, setting pie-shaped boundaries. Made with Crayola markers, glitter glue, and Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels; started as an empty circle.




Celtic Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Celtic Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

TWO: Celtic mandala set up much like a castle and moat, with mazelike bands of designs protecting tender, leafy vines at the center. When emotions intensify, personal habits and rituals help you feel safe.




Protection, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Protection, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

THREE: Perceptions can make you feel sensitive and vulnerable, open to criticism from others (real or imagined). Mandalas during Stage 5 are about vigilance, protection and defense. The walls don’t have to be heavy – your fortress can be a connected ring of flowers.




Hildegard Of Bingen's Vision, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Hildegard Of Bingen’s Vision, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

FOUR: Mystics transcend the emotional intensity of Stage 5 by using the Target mandala to communicate insights and experiences. This mandala represents the 9 circles of angels and humans in Hildegard of Bingen’s Vision. The empty circle at the center is the mystery of the center where beauty is born.




Circle Boundaries, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Circle Boundaries, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

FIVE: Ringed mandala used to explore feelings. The inner circle is filled with things you fear most. The ring around that is a color that represents courage. The second circle contains mentors, guides, teachers (living or dead). The third, negative thoughts that arise from fear. The fourth, positive behaviors that help manage fear. The fifth circle is filled with positive affirmations.




May Mandalas — Stage 5 – Target

May is a turbulent time in Minnesota. It’s tornado season; the weather is unpredictable. Moods in the month of May seem to follow the seasons. The theme for the 5th Stage of The Great Round is similar to Frog Medicine — protection — setting and keeping good boundaries. It is a Catch-22 that strong boundaries allow us to feel safe when exposing our vulnerabilities. I found it difficult, and comforting, to work on Stage 5.

It was Carl Jung who introduced modern Westerners to the psychological significance of mandalas. He believed we all strive to live out our own unique potential, to experience wholeness.  We began Coloring Mandalas as a practice in January, working with the archetypal circle, and following the twelve passages of Joan Kellogg’s The Great Round.

Target, the 5th cycle of The Great Round, begins after age two, when you discover yourself as separate from your caregivers, and go after what you want. Sometimes seeking creates conflict, and can lead to disappointment or frustration.

In adulthood, we set and seek personal, creative, and career goals. We may run into resistance from others, feel tired and vulnerable. In Stage 5 we explore ways to set healthy personal boundaries, which allows us to feel safe when we take risks or are in situations where we are emotionally vulnerable.

Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Continue, Continue, Continue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

 

May’s mandalas are drawn with Crayola markers, glitter glue, and Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels. I find drawing and coloring mandalas fun and relaxing. But there are some artists who consider coloring a serious business. Last weekend, in On The Road, Jason Davis profiled Minnesota Artists. I was delighted to witness the work of Don Marco from Duluth, Minnesota who has been coloring in his Fine Art since the late 1960’s.

In an act of synchronicity that Jung would have loved, about a year ago, a 24-yr-old named Christina Nelson from Superior, Wisconsin decided to try making art with crayons. She thought she was the only one using the medium. Then she met Don Marco working only a few miles away in Duluth; he became her mentor. Now she goes under the name Tiona Marco.

According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, the healing benefits of The Great Round: Stage 5 — Target are:

  • learning to ritualize behaviors of self-care and self-protection
  • realizing and appreciating daily rituals and routines
  • knowing how to set good boundaries with others
  • knowing your limitations and working within them
  • cultivating the ability to exceed and transcend limits when needed


The high humidity and blue skies, with a backdrop of billowing, dense gray clouds tell me we are well into June. And I’ve already begun Stage 6.



Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Sacred Circles, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, June 9th, 2008

-related to posts: The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February Mandalas, Labyrinth — March Mandalas, Beginnings — April Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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The Color Of Flow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.       






SunWheel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Eye To Eye, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 






Mother, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




April draws to a close in a few hours. Though it snowed last Saturday, the light of April’s last day is clear and blue. The front yard is bursting with new life:  erratic shoots of thick, green grass, day lilies skyrocketing out of tender wet ground, red-stemmed dogwood buds, one purple bloom in the rock garden on the hill.

We began Coloring Mandalas as a practice in January, following the twelve passages of The Great Round. The initial circulation of The Great Round coincides with early childhood, and physical development. Thereafter, the passages focus on spiritual exploration and maturation, awareness of one’s center, and seeking balance and harmony through working with the archetypal circle.



   Seven, dome mandala of the Lake Harriet Community sanctuary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Seven, dome mandala of the Lake Harriet Community sanctuary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Seven, dome mandala of the Lake Harriet Community sanctuary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Beginnings, the fourth cycle of The Great Round, opens prior to the age of two, when a mutual bond is formed between baby and mother. The child develops trust; the mother takes pleasure in nurturing. Later, as adults, we learn to trust and nurture our own creative energy through avenues such as writing, music, and art.

In Stage Four we explore ways to quell the self-doubt and insecurity (Monkey Mind) that bubble to the surface when we create. On a spiritual level, we learn to nurture ourselves, to feel compassion (for ourselves and others); we learn the importance of giving service from the heart.


The April mandalas are drawn with Crayola markers, colored pencils, and Uniball gel pens. Liz’s mandalas are all hand-drawn. But April was the first time in The Great Round that I drew one of my own (from a blank circle with a dot at the center). The simple design is found on the walls of a birthing chamber in an ancient palace on the island of Crete (archeologists suggest it may represent the cervix). The dot becomes the beginning point of our own design, reflecting something we may be ready to birth.



The Color Of Flow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.The Color Of Flow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.The Color Of Flow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, the healing benefits of The Great Round: Stage 4 — Beginnings are:

  • learning to contain and focus energy
  • deepening and nurturing the relationship with the inner self
  • understanding the value of service to others
  • developing patience and a belief in the process
  • knowing something new will be created and produced even though its form can not yet be seen


ONE: The first mandala (top of the page) was drawn by hand, unplanned and fluid, beginning with a circle and a dot. It is based on an illustration by Marija Gimbutas in The Language of the Goddess, where she illustrates a circle and dot found in a birthing chamber on the island of Crete.

TWO: The second mandala represents a flower or the sun. The center of the template started as empty white space. Everything within the blue center was added in the process of drawing and coloring. Beginnings are a time to contain and focus, to hold our projects and creations close to center, so they can develop. Talking, explaining, discussing, can dissipate valuable energy. Silence holds the space.

THREE: The third mandala draws from the heart chakra. Holding focused energy deepens the relationship to the self, intensifying and expanding the heart. Sustained effort toward nurturing our insides, allows more room outside to see the way clear for unconditional love — a generous love dedicated to serving others.

FOUR: In Beginnings, we learn to cherish the new, to care for what is young and tender. After Winter’s heavy runoff, we wait a few weeks before we rake and scrape the earth, protecting tender shoots of Spring grass. Be gentle with the self. Make room for and nurture your creative ideas, so they have room to come to fruition.

 


  Trimotto, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Signs Of Spring, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Sliver, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Find The Mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Trimotto, Signs Of Spring, Sliver, Find The Mandala, hand-drawn labyrinths created by Liz, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The four mandalas above are hand-drawn by Liz, created for The Great Round – Stage 4. She agreed to let me photograph them from her sketchbook and post them with the April mandalas.

Mandalas have been used in Christian churches, in Eastern and Western traditions, by mystics and ancient peoples all over the world. Like labyrinths, mandalas cross all cultures, and represent Spirit coming into matter.

Spring teaches us about new beginnings. About trusting the process of movement — through Winter’s deadening hibernation, to the rebirth and new growth of Spring. We learn to trust ourselves. To know that what appear to be chaos and death, will be followed by renewal and prosperity.


    

Centering, dome mandala of the Lake Harriet Community sanctuary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

-related to posts:  The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February MandalasLabyrinth — March Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Swirl, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Swirl II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved






Eye Of God, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Eye Of God II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Dust Devil, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Celtic Cross, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’m cutting it close on the March mandalas! In a few hours, it will be April. Though you would not know it by the 9 inches of blizzard outside the window. The Great Round: Stage Three mandalas follow one of my favorite forms — the labyrinth.

These have been the most fun for me yet. And to my delight, Liz began hand-drawing her own mandalas in March. She has a natural sense of design and color, and creates intricate patterns with line detail more delicate than the templates.

Again, I used Crayola markers and colored pencils. Liz used Fimo modeling clay (for the snake), Uniball gel pens, glitter glue, and Crayola markers. The Stage 3 mandalas are about exploring the body and its surroundings, and organizing the information into a map of reality.


According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, The healing benefits of the labyrinth as mandala are:

  • creating flexibility & openness in healing old wounds
  • communicating with the Ancestors
  • contacting animal Spirit Guides
  • encouraging active searching & exploring that is not goal-directed
  • translating information from the ego into symbolic language that communicates messages from the unconscious to the Self


FIRST PAIR:  The first mandala pair is designed after M.C. Escher. They are the same mandala, photographed from different angles. The challenge of Stage 3 is to show up and keep walking, even if you don’t know final outcomes and goals.

SECOND PAIR:  The second mandala pair is also the same mandala, shot from different angles. The center rings were added in the process of coloring (the center space on the template is empty white space). Stage 3, the Labyrinth, includes experiences of divergent realities and nonordinary states of consciousness. Shamans cultivate their abilities to move in and out of this stage at will.

THIRD PAIR:  The two mandalas in the 3rd pair are different templates, the Spiral and the Celtic Cross, often designed and used by medieval Irish monks. In the Celtic knot, what appears to be a single endless meander is actually two separate pathways, crossing many times but never joining each other.



Spring Dance, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Chromosoma, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Diptyph, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Turtle Bread, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Spring Dance, Chromosoma, Diptych, Turtle Bread, hand-drawn labyrinths created by Liz, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


The four mandalas above are the beautiful hand-drawn labyrinths that Liz created for The Great Round – Stage 3. She agreed to let me photograph them from her sketchbook and post them with the March mandalas. The coiled snake below is 3-D, made out of clay. You can see names, titles, and more about each one if you click on the image.

Mandalas have been used in Christian churches in the form of stained glass windows and labyrinths since the 12th century, and their centers are often occupied by a mystic rose representing Spirit coming into matter. Walking the labyrinth is a metaphysical pilgrimage, and many travel to Chartres Cathedral in France to walk and meditate on the medieval labyrinth there. The grass labyrinth I walked last year at Sisters of Carondelet in St. Paul is based on the Chartres design. More mandalas to come in April!



Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Snakey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Monday, March 31st, 2008

-related to posts:  Coloring Mandalas, The Void – January Mandalas, Bliss — February Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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The Sky, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Stars, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






Possibilities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Mother Goddess, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The World, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The World II, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





These are our February mandalas for The Great Round: Stage Two – Bliss. Again, we used Crayola markers and colored pencils. The feel of coloring the Stage 2 mandalas was very different than The Void mandalas of January. I pay attention to the colors I am drawn to when I sit down with the circles. My body responds to color.

According to the book Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher:

Color is produced by waves of electromagnetic energy perceived by cells in your eyes, your skin, and your bones. Reds have the longest wavelengths and transmit the least energy. Violets have the shortest wavelengths and the most energy. Red is stimulating, blue causes relaxation. Color is simple, direct, and measurable in the natural world.

Color is a way in to your personal life story. Wearing colors we associate with a specific memory, or another time in our lives, layers our experience. Color is universally physiological, personal, and cultural. If I start to make a list of the colors I have used in the last few months, patterns start to emerge.

I wanted to get these up before February ends. Of course, it’s a Leap year, so there’s one more day of February in 2008! Stay tuned for Stage 3 of The Great Round in March.


FIRST PAIR:  The first two are the same template, Sky & Stars. One is completed, one in progress. We are shaped by our choices. The challenge of Stage 2 is to focus on only one choice, and take it as far as you can.

SECOND PAIR:  The first template of the 2nd pair is about living a life pregnant with possibilities. The second is based on an illustration by archaeologist and archaeomythologist, Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess. It is about the mystery of memories of birth (and before). The regenerative powers of the Great Mother were worshipped by many of the Ancients.

THIRD PAIR:  The two mandalas in the 3rd pair are the same template, Earth, the universal womb. The first is Liz’s in colored pencil; the second I did in marker. I enjoy seeing the same templates, side by side – same lines, different colors.


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, February 28th, 2008

-related to posts, Coloring Mandalas, The Void – January Mandalas, and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The Void - Three, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Clear Light, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






The Void - One, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Void - Two, coloring mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   



We finished up our January mandalas for The Great Round: Stage One – The Void. We used Crayola markers and colored pencils with names like Tomato Red, Inchworm Green, Pinky Pink, Little Boy Blue, Small Potatoes, Sunwave Yellow, Green Sprout, Coral Orange, Gnarly Purple, Pipeline Green, Black Shades, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, and Hang Ten Purple. We each chose two of the three templates to color.


FIRST PAIR:  The first two are the same template. What makes them appear different are our individual color choices. The patterns that emerge with color show up more when posted side by side.

SECOND PAIR:  The top mandala in this pair is another Stage 1 template. I was drawn to the organic shapes and bodies. The second in this pair is Stage 0 (zero) – Clear Light. Stage 0, the empty circle, represents wholeness. It is a place to focus, to meditate, before choosing colors and templates.

THIRD PAIR:  The last two are the Stage 1 mandalas Liz chose, side by side. Mine are the second and third as you scroll down the page.


Color, color, color. We had a lot of fun with these exercises. The weekend is nearly over. Temperatures have warmed up. Day by day, spring is on the way.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, January 27th, 2008

-related to posts, Coloring Mandalas and WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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Mandala Coloring (Beginner's Mind), Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Coloring Mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Bliss, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.    The Roundness Of Fire, Minnepolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved    The Void, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Coloring Mandalas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Coloring Mandalas, A Few Snapshots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Relaxing Saturday winter night. Liz and I are coloring mandalas and watching a documentary on Beat Generation poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Liz bought a book on Coloring Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher. It contains 48 sacred circle designs for a means of entering the Circle of Life.

There are many ways to approach mandalas. We’ve decided to follow the structure of the mandalas of The Great Round, as identified by American art therapist, Joan Kellogg. There are 12 mandala forms associated with each stage of The Great Round. We’re starting with Stage 1, the Void, in January. Stage 2, Bliss, in February. Stage 3, Labyrinth, in March. Well, you get the idea.


Here’s an excerpt from the book about creating mandalas:


Creating a mandala begins with drawing a circle. It can be as simple as the circle a child draws or as complex as the sacred images created by Tibetan monks. Mandalas arise from the compelling human need to know our own inner reality, to align this knowing with our body’s wisdom, and to awaken in ourselves a sense of being in harmony with the Universe.

As Lama Nubpa Chodak Gyatso has explained, mandalas are “manifestations of the lucid radiance of being.” The word mandala, from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, translates as “sacred circle.” In Tibetan the term for mandala is kyil-kor, which means “center and circumference.” In the Eastern tradition mandalas also suggest a complete cycle, such as the rituals that comprise a liturgical year.

-from Coloring Mandalas, For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression by Susanne F. Fincher, Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2000

The word mandala also translates as “cycle,” as in a prayer cycle or a song cycle built around a single theme. A Labyrinth is a mandala. So is a Medicine Wheel, the 12 hexagrams of the I Ching, and the Buddhist concept of emptiness. What does the circle mean to you. Is it openness? Emptiness? Is it inviting, full, safe? Or scary, as in the empty circle of the Void.

As the Full Wolf Moon fades and we head into the next New Moon, it is a good time to begin something new. The New Moon symbolizes new beginnings. At the New Moon, you plant the seeds of what you want to come to fruition at the Full Moon. And then, start all over again. The Ouroboros. Yes, the Ouroboros is a mandala, too.

It’s time for me to start coloring. The show on Ferlinghetti is over. We’ve moved on to a PBS show on cheetahs. It’s fitting to be meditating on mandalas while listening to Lawrence read at City Lights Bookstore. I’ll keep you posted as we progress with our mandalas. We’d love to hear anything you’d like to share about your own experiences with these sacred circles.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, January 26th, 2008

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – CIRCLES

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