Joan Ann Lansberry's Mandala Process

How will each new one evolve? It is the JOY OF DISCOVERY!

"Thoughts on Mandala Creation"

My first mandala, 1996

The first mandala I ever created was in 1996, using DPaint, an old drawing program. Since then, off and on through the years I've returned to this art form. I've always started with the whole square (or circle), and work each addition as an evolutionary process. That's the joy of creating them, to watch them as they evolve. I never know when I begin, just what the finished product will look like. It becomes the joy of discovery. I hope my viewers find each of them unique in their approach at the moment of creation.

Noting the meditative process of mandala creation as a way to create order in our lives, I wrote this poem some years later:

Some Call It Art

The juxtaposition point
isn't where you think it is.
It's that fine sense point
that needs refining.
A surer edge,
a crisper clarity,
a more balanced symmetry,
WE would be balanced,
send our parts to the four
corners of the earth
with such fine evenness.
WE would do this,
and make of our lives,
an art.
And thus, through the ages,  
ancient wise ones
have painted,
drawn in sand,
and etched in crystal
symbolic blue prints
for life.
Some call it art.

JAL, 8 - 22 - 01

A couple of years later, I had an opportunity to test mandala creation's balancing quality. I created the following mandala to deal with an event that made me very angry:


(Click on picture to see full size)

Making the mandala was a wonderfully cathartic experience, for I made something beautiful out of something that was painful.

There is a deep reason why the making of mandalas is so satisfying. It is Ma'at bringing forth order out of chaos. Ma'at is an Egyptian concept which "expresses all notions of equilibrium and poise." as Lucie Lamy explains in _Egyptian Mysteries_, page 17.

A mandala site further elaborates on this:
"The mandala is a template for the mind, a state of peace and order, a resolution to the chaos within. In Jung's words, 'The severe pattern imposed by a circular [or quadra-symmetrical] image of this kind compensates the disorder and confusion of the psychic state-- namely, through the construction of a central point to which everything is related.'
(p.4, Jung, C.G. Mandala Symbolism. Translated by R.F.C. Hull. Bollingen Series/Princeton, 1959)
" ('Quadra-symmetrical' is my addition, as mandalas need not possess circular elements.)

When I drew an ankh holding Ma'at feather based on one at the Ramesseum, photo by Hans Kontkanen, I could not leave it that plain:

Although I am not aware that the ancient Egyptians ever created mandalas, I wanted to use Egyptian themes in the creation of a mandala:

Ma'at Mandala

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