Mandala Monday – Native American Mandalas Guest Post by Epouna

The mandala can symbolize a variety of things including a sacred circle, the creation of a journey and it can even be used for healing, depending on the user. Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle, it not only introduces you to your personal life’s circle but that of the universe as well. The great mandala can be found in various cultures, just as tribes throughout the planet make use of Native American mandalas in their own rituals.

While you may assume that the Tibetan mandala was the first variety ever created, the mandala from the Shaman in Native American culture is far more ancient. The center is the circle’s healing power while the four points of the circle are said to represent direction and form the sacred hoop. The Native American medicine wheel provides a good example of this.

The medicine wheel offers a link to the mind, just as any other type of mandala does. There are left, right, front, center and rear ?lobes? that act as sections as if corresponding to a map of the human brain. Each point on the medicine wheel and the great mandala correspond with specific points in the mind to provide senses of sacredness, belonging, hope and strength.

The Native American mandala is often referred to as Nagual or Tonal, the Circle of Existence for good reason. The center is meant to house the user’s superconscious mind while the outer circle houses the conscious, also known as the surface mind. This is followed by four additional circles which must be viewed before the center is reached. These four circles include unconscious (auto drive), subconscious (magical), subjective (databank) and editor and censor. It is all of these elements in your surface mind that handles your daily experiences.

You may be familiar with the dream catcher, a very popular form of Native American mandalas. These were originally created by the Ojibwa Tribe to ward off nightmares of their children by hanging them over their beds. The web would entangle the bad dreams throughout the night which would disappear before daylight. Just as the Native American mandala has four directional points, so can the dream catcher.

Sand paintings are another form of Native American mandalas. Constructed with precision, this free-form variety draws the user into its center. However, perfection is vital, if any flaws exist, the mandala can no longer be used. Once sand paintings have been appreciated, it is tradition that they are washed away in a body of water.

It is suggested that the dance shield associated with the Plains tribe’s is the ancestor to the Native American mandala. The dance shield has always been a sacred instrument used for protection, long life, survival and spiritual blessings.

The Circle of Life and Mother Earth are regarded with the highest level of respect by Native Americans, similar to many other cultures. The mandala can provide a clearness of the spirit when used in meditation as the center circle is focused on to help complete one’s journey

Article by Epouna

Images from Wikimedia Commons


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