Mandala Magic–The Surprises New Parents Katy and Al Discovered in Their Mandalas

We wanted to share some of the drawings that were sent in to us this month when we put out a call for mandalas on the theme of “What is important to you and what keeps you strong.”

The many colors and array of art supplies Katy and Al had to choose from

Mandalas By New Parents Katy and Al
We start out with the mandalas that new parents Katy and Al made.  What makes their drawings so compelling is that, even though they did not look at each other’s mandalas until they were done, and they had a large array of supplies to choose from, their mandalas have so many striking similarities.

Katy’s Mandala
Al’s Mandala

Surprising Commonalities
For example, they both have a bright yellow shape at the center, they both have concentric circles that radiate around this core, and they both included a layer in which the letter Z is repeated (more visible in Katy’s than in Al’s).

Although that may not seem exceptional, no one else who submitted mandalas included a string of repeated letters, let alone a ring of them made by the letter Z.  (Also we have probably never witnessed that in the hundreds of thousands of mandalas we have been privileged to see).

The Collective Unconscious At Work
These similarities are so fascinating because they reveal the collective unconscious—that data base of symbols, myths, and visual imagery from which we as humans all seem to draw.  And obviously Katy and Al are both sharing a very important experience—a baby!–so it’s no surprise that their images have a singular central focus.  And it is encouraging that it is a bright color that radiates outward.

Differences Show Their Unique Experiences
The differences in their mandalas are also compelling.  You can see the light touch in Katy’s and the intensity in Al’s.  Also, when they explained their mandalas, they both had very different meanings attached to their symbols.  For example, the Z’s in Katy’s represented the importance of sleep in her life whereas those in Als’ represented the insignia on Russian tanks to express his distress with the war in Ukraine.

Other Mandalas
We’ve included some of the other mandalas here as a basis of comparison.  It’s so interesting to see, again, similarities that emerge in all of the images but then the unique way that each person expressed what was important to them.

Jenny’s Mandala

Specific and Personal Symbols
For example, Jenny and Angie, Rebecca’s sister and sister-in-law, exhibited a similar phenomena——completely absorbed in the task and oblivious to each other but when they looked at their respective images they realized they had included similar symbols, hearts and trees and elements in nature, but that Jenny’s symbols represented specific people and activities and the scene she made was of a real place in the world.

Angie’s Mandala

Universal Symbols
On the other hand, Angie’s symbols were not specific to particular people or places.  Her’s was more universal and gravitated around her desire for peace in the world, almost like the center of a clock with the hours capturing different concepts like nature, beauty,  travel, and love.

Fo’s Mandala centered around family, most importantly his wife and kids, and the places that ground him in his life.

Similar Themes Reappear
Not surprisingly, these themes emerge in many mandalas, just represented in different ways.As you can see, they are all so completely unique and yet they speak to the people, places, and things that matter most to each person.

How People Treat the Circle
It is always interesting to see how people treat the circle–are they contained within the image (like in Alvaro’s below) or seem to suggest something that continues before and after, like the road that goes through the upper part of Fo’s (on the left) or the sky in Angie’s piece or the landscape in the background of Jenny’s drawing.

Julia’s Mandala with Whisky and Pari the cat at the base, music, orchids for Alvaro, love and tears for the world, and fire of the sun on the outside.
Alvaro’s Mandala of his hand, overlaid by Julia’s hand and their dog Whisky’s paw

We can also observe whether the symbols are contained like Alvaro’s or if they go out beyond the circle like in Julia’s Mandala.

The Magic of Mandalas
As these lovely examples illustrate, the richness of mandalas in that they capture universal concepts that we all recognize and share but they do in a way that is completely unique.   We immediately relate to the fundamental values and at the same time we get glimpse of and a chance to appreciate the particularity of each individual artist.

Thank you again for contributing your wonderful mandalas.

Warmly, Rebecca and Gioia