Mandala Monday – Interpreting Mandalas Within Astrology – Guest Post by Marissa Moonwhisper

Author: Marissa Moonwhisper

“Mandala” is a Sanskrit term meaning “sacred circle.” The balance, harmony and cohesion of a circular symbol is consistent with many forms of Eastern beliefs about universal energy (Chi) or the dynamic flow of Yin and Yang in holding opposite forces together for a complete whole. In many Tibetan monasteries, sand mandalas are used to prepare a space for sacred rituals as a form of centering and focus.

Modern Art Therapy uses mandala drawing as a means of helping a person more deeply understand the emotions, thoughts and sensations of their life or particularly challenging experiences in the past or present. It is within this healing and understanding function of raising self-awareness that mandala astrology is a developing art.

Reading Mandalas As Life Cycle Awareness

The circular form of a mandala represents the cycles or seasons of a person’s life, from birth through youth, maturity and onto death. They are representative, and can show the “life cycle” of a certain relationship, career or experience, indicating time for a change. When facing the upright drawing, the cycle begins at the bottom, just to the left of lowest point of the circle, and continues clockwise around the cycle.

The other major division of the mandala comes from separating the top half of the circle and the bottom half of the circle. As another level of reading, looking at the elements in the upper half bring understanding about external traits, feelings and thoughts. Meanwhile, the lower half describes the usually unexpressed, inner feelings and thoughts a person is experiencing.

Components of A Mandala

Interpreting a mandala that is spontaneously drawn by a person hoping to explore their inner world focuses on several key components, reflecting other aspects of astrological interpretation.

Color–the primary aspect of a mandala,is usually reflective of deep internal as well as external emotions. Individual colors as well as the overlapping use of colors can speak to a conflicted, unbalanced circumstance or a growing harmony among a person’s different aspects of life.

Numerology–though different in mandalas than in its own art, mandalas use the common universal interpretations of numbers (zero as wholeness, two as balance, etc.). By counting and assessing the numbers of a certain shape (loop, square) or the quantity of colors used in the drawing, a mandala reader can address the intensity or importance of each symbol.

Shapes or objects–identifying what feelings or thoughts a person associates with shapes that appear in the mandala in certain season, or if a certain figure has preeminent position in one area of the mandala, these offer insight into the value or challenge of that season.

Placement–with the life cycle positioning of a mandala, where each of the above elements fall within the circle help indicate their function in that period of a person’s life.

Mandala astrology is an art that needs more students to develop and cultivate its rich aspects for individual self-awareness and personal healing journeys. The few who already utilize mandalas have found a great comfort and harmony that can be achieved by drawing and interpreting the sacred circles.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/art-and-entertainment-articles/interpreting-mandalas-within-astrology-1846633.html

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Mandala Monday – Meditating on a Mandala – Guest Post by Epouna

Meditation has been used since ancient times to reduce stress, find one’s center, calm the mind and soothe the soul. Contrary to what you may think, not all meditation is spiritual, just as many individuals use it for personal use. Regardless of your reasoning or goals you hope to achieve, your personal journey can be significantly enhanced by using a mandala.

Sanskrit, for the English word circle, the mandala has been introduced to the population through Buddhist and Hindu religions. When you choose a mandala for meditation purposes, it is important to be aware that each one is very different. They offer their individual symbolism and quite often, a deity is housed in the center.

When you gaze at a mandala during meditation and follow one point to another your mind and body naturally become intertwined. When you are able to become one with the mandala, you have entered into a quasi state as you are captivated by the mandala’s design.

Choosing the right mandala is imperative for your journey. Although Tibetan Monks sweep their sand mandalas up and take them to a nearby body of water so they can finalize their circle of life, your actions don’t need to be as extreme to be effective. In fact, there are coloring pages which are available online that can be downloaded or you can simply draw your own if you’re feeling creative.

(See the post, 10 Links to Free Mandala Coloring Pages for sources of coloring images)

If you want a more traditional mandala, you will find them primarily made from silk, thangka or sand but contemporary versions are available in the form of photographs, paintings, fiber arts and even sculptures.

When you prepare to meditate, it is important that you are able to find yourself in a comfortable position, somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted with your mandala placed across from you at eye level. Some find it helpful to create an altar for their mandala, adding objects that are symbolic of peace, grace, purity and spirituality.

When you begin to meditate, you will start at the entry point which is always the mandala’s outer ring. According to Tibetan tradition, it is this part of the mandala that essentially purifies you so that you are able to continue on with your journey. As you concentrate on the various colors, shapes and lines, the path gradually leads you toward the center. Quite often, you will reach a dead end on your journey, this is to be expected. A mandala takes you on a path to enlightenment so there are times you need to reverse your path to get closer to the center.

 

Mandalas of Deep Trust, No. 8

Mandalas of Deep Trust, No. 8
© Atmara Rebecca Cloe

As you make your journey inhale and exhale slowly through the nose, concentrating on your body’s rhythm. You will find that as you become one with the wisdom of the universe, your body’s rhythm will begin to match the design of the mandala.

Mandalas from the Heart of Peace, No. 1

Mandalas from the Heart of Peace, No. 1
© Atmara Rebecca Cloe

It is recommended to partake on this journey to enlightenment for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. You will likely feel energized as well as quite surprised at just how powerful this sacred object actually is. As you release the stresses of the outside world, you will become quiet, calm, still and tranquil.

Article by Epouna
www.meaningofmandalas.com

Images from Wikimedia Commons and Atmara Rebecca Cloe

See all of Atmara’s Mandalas at Zazzle.com

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The Mandala Maker: A thought provoking film reviewed by Alex A. Kecskes

Reproduced by permission of http://accoladecompetition.org and Sam Borowski

by Alex A. Kecskes

A treat for the senses and an exemplary bit of short filmmaking; one can’t help but be mesmerized by The Mandala Maker. Directed by gifted auteur Sam Borowski, the film draws you in and continually rewards you with gifted storytelling and emotion-packed scenes. It’s little wonder Mandala has won several Accolade awards including an Award of Excellence for leading actor Courtney Hogan as well as Awards of Merit for short film and direction. Poignant and powerful, the film includes a superb performance by Hogan who plays a struggling artist dealing with guilt and depression over a tragically dark secret. The Mandala Maker underscores many of today’s societal problems as it follows Naomi’s journey through self-enlightenment. A journey facilitated through her exploration of Tibetan mandala paintings, circular designs that psychologists like Carl Jung admit possess healing powers.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Sam Borowski, who directed and co-wrote the script with Gregory Nissen. Sam candidly and openly revealed details and aspects of the film as well as filmmaking in general. I led with a question so many aspiring filmmakers are eager to ask.

Q: Why did you get into filmmaking?

A: To tell stories. I love the effect a great story can have on a person. My good friend Ben Chapman, who played the original Creature From the Black Lagoon, used to talk about the Golden Age of Hollywood, and how you could go into a movie theater and get lost in a movie and feel better. I also believe that movies can instill positive change in the world.

Q: What drove you to make this film?

A: The film represents the spiritual journey I’ve been following the past couple of years. I melded this journey with the concept of art-as-therapy espoused by my friend and co-writer, Gregory Nissen. The second part of the film represents someone very special to me.

Q: Your film deals with repressed feelings of a past trauma. Why did you choose sexual abuse as a topic?

A: I’ve personally seen how violence, not just sexual abuse, but different forms of violence, can affect a person’s life. I knew that a violent attack had to be part of the trauma that Naomi sought to heal. I felt that this was something many people, especially women, could relate to. I can’t tell you how many women have confided in me after seeing this film, recounting their most horrific and heinous abuses. Knowing that my film touched them enough for them to confide in me is worth more than any award. That’s my goal, to touch peoples’ lives like that.

Q: Why did you choose a mandala as a cathartic form of self-healing?

A: While I brought most of the personal details and the back story to this script, my co-writer, Gregory Nissen, suggested making a film about a girl who uses mandalas to get over a tough period in her life. Through research, I learned more about this wonderful therapeutic art form. I discovered that many psychologists find value in mandalas, in particular, the legendary Carl Jung.

Q: Was the film based on a person you knew who had suffered abuse of this kind?

A: The movie is loosely based on Robin Phipps, my associate producer, who also performed two songs in the film. While Robin’s story is not Naomi’s, there are many similarities, and she became the inspiration behind Naomi’s character.

Q: What lessons have you learned in making this film?

A: That a film is as good as the people you choose to work with. And that goes for actors, producers, director, everyone. It’s a concert, a symphony. Also, you can’t sweat the small stuff, and you have to learn it’s all small stuff until it has a dollar sign.

Q: Courtney’s performance was particularly engrossing. How did you go about casting the film? Did you have specific actors in mind?

A: I knew I wanted Daniel Roebuck, whose role as The Other Person is particularly crucial to the film. Dan is an extremely talented actor and we have collaborated many times before. And while I envisioned Robin in the key role, an injury kept her out and I turned to Courtney who came in literally at the 25th hour. She learned her part overnight and handled it wonderfully. We were blessed to have a wonderful cast, starting with Courtney, Danny and, of course, Tony-Winner Terrence Mann. Other fine performances came from Robert Pralgo (Mayor Charles Lockwood on The Vampire Diaries), Yangsom Brauen (Aeon Flux, Pandorum), Eric Stein (Big Brother 8 ) and Frank D’Amato’s who played Naomi’s boss.

Q: How difficult was it to obtain financing? Was this based on the strength of your previous work or on the script?

A: Both. You know the old saying: ‘You can make a bad film from a great script, but you can’t make a great film from a bad script.’ I was able to parlay my previous work and a quality script, which won a Best Short Screenplay Award at the 2009 SINY Film Festival, into a fair budget for this film. Now I’m directing a major feature comedy in Hollywood this March.

Q: How will winning Accolade Awards help you with your film and your career?

A: The Accolade Competition is patently different from others. Thomas Baker and his team really care about helping filmmakers get distribution. The fact that they also give out a Humanitarian Award and take a philanthropic approach to this competition, as well as shedding light on new artistic and creative talent, just strengthens what that statue stands for. Being cited for three Accolades, two Awards of Merit for Short Film and Direction and an Award of Excellence for Lead Actor (Courtney Hogan), is one of the key highlights during our Academy-Award qualifying run with The Mandala Maker. I believe others in the industry share my belief in just how prestigious that statue is and what it represents.

Q: Where is The Mandala Maker being shown now?

A: We’re doing several one-night screenings at movie theaters, art houses and other venues. We’ll also be playing in festivals, several prominent New York City museums, and setting up several weeklong runs in movie theaters throughout New York City and Los Angeles. If anyone wants to screen The Mandala Maker at their local theater or venue, they can contact me at cinematicheroes@aol.com or drop me a line on my imdb page at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680461/

Q: How do you promote your films? In particular, The Mandala Maker?

A: When you promote a film, you have to truly believe in it and get behind it. If you’re not passionate about the subject matter, about your story, and your film, why would other people be? There’s a great opportunity with short films to be theatrically released, even if the release is somewhat more creative and clever than with a feature film. For instance, we’re screening Mandala in private rooms at several prominent restaurants to a large, artistic paying crowd. People say I promoted Mandala ‘with rock-the-rafters enthusiasm.’ But, really, you have to promote all your films with that kind of enthusiasm. Even if you are making a film for commercial reasons, you still have to believe in the source material.

Q: What’s next for you? Any new projects?

A: I’ll be shooting principal photography on my new film, Night Club, in Hollywood in March. The film’s about a group of kids who take a job working the night shift in an old folks home to put themselves through USC. To amuse themselves, and some of the older folks, they decide to run their own nightclub at the home. They get a little help from one of the home’s residents, who unbeknownst to them, ran the hottest nightclub in Los Angeles. After that, I may acquire the rights to a Supernatural Book franchise, which some regard as the next Twilight. I also have a cerebral, superhero action franchise in development, Nigel Read. And I’ll be doing a feature, Rita of Cascia: The Impossible Dream, about the life of St. Rita of Cascia.

For more information, contact:

Sam Borowski
c/o
The Naoj Company
918 N. Wood Avenue
Linden, NJ 07036
908-587-0090, ext. 119
cinematicheroes@aol.com

Has anyone seen this film? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

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