To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Creativity Journeys #2 – The Fullness of Mandalas

Creativity Journeys – The Fullness of  Mandalas

Creativity Journeys are just that, a journey into an inward exploration to the depths and womb of creativity and an outward expression that gives birth to the flow of creation.

Each Creativity Journey blog post  is organized into six parts:
* The why, or big picture of creativity, what is our deep longing to connect with our creativity.
* A guided meditation to relax into a mind, body and heart space opening to creativity flow.
* Prompts for Dancing on Paper, mark making with words and images.
* Examples and how-to of mark making through the prompts.
* Examples of what was created from previous Creativity Journeys.
* Closing Poem or Prayer.

(Here are links to previous blogs about Creativity Journeys: an introduction to Creativity Journeys & Creativity Journey #1)  There are, and will be, many Creativity Journeys in these blog posts exploring mandalas. Search through previous posts using the word “mandala”.

This Creativity Journey is an exploration of mandalas. Mandalas are circular images embraced by the completeness of a circle. A full moon is a complete full circle. Today is the Full Moon, September 2nd. The moon is fully illuminated by the sun. It is a time of balance when the lights of the sun and moon are their brightest.


Full Moon Mandala – by me. Black paper and iridescent watercolor


Enso Mandala – by me. Black paper and iridescent watercolor


Full moon time is when life is strong in emotions, feelings and often dreams. It is a time for light to be shown on inner and intuitive vision. It is a time of completion and abundance. Gratitude for the fullness of life can be expressed in journal writing and creating a mandala. A mandala  circle represents fullness  and completeness of self.


Mandala 4 Directions & Spirals – by me

The word “mandala” comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “sacred circle”.  A mandala is an image that is enclosed in an actual or imagined circle.  There is usually a center point within this circle. The mandala shape is seen in nature from the largest spheres of planets and moons to much smaller flowers, snowflakes, shells, and to even smaller individual plant and animal cells. The circle is a shape of completeness and wholeness. It is a safe place to hold inner creative expression.


Zinnia -Queen Lime Red – from my garden

Mandalas have been made and used by humans for thousands of years in spiritual and healing traditions throughout the world. They are created with paint, sand stained glass and other artistic materials. First used in Western culture by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung as a means to completeness of the self, mandalas have been used for hundreds of years in many spiritual and healing traditions including American Indian healing, Hinduism and Buddhism. Jung created mandalas for his own, and his patient’s, psychological and spiritual growth.

Carl Jung’s own mandala – created in 1916


The journey of making mandalas is one of creative expression and personal insight.  One of our greatest longings is to express our creativity, to create something uniquely our own that embodies our creative energy and brings satisfaction, joy and healing in the process. This longing is coupled with a desire to know our deepest self through our creativity. Yet we often ignore these longings because we are too busy or don’t know what creative endeavor will tap into our soul and deeply enhance our lives.  How can meaning be found in our creations? Mandalas are a means to the discovery of meaning.  Today mandalas are used in many ways, from a means of relaxation to a deep dive into the knowing and growing of  self-awareness and completeness.

“The circular image represents the wholeness, or to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man…
With the help of these drawings I could observe my psychic transformations from day to day.
Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ‘Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.”

Carl Jung


Full Moon Mandala Meditation – 10 mintues, 35 seconds long


Prompts are nudges that offer suggestions on where to begin. They let creativity flow. Mark making becomes a dance on paper.

Often the blank paper used to write on, paint on, or draw on is the scary big unknown.  The first step is often the hardest.  That first mark made (word or stroke of brush) helps opens the flood gates and lets creativity flow.


Word Prompts – (More toward the end)
In the first Creativity Journey the suggested prompt word was “Promise”. Use that word again, or the word “Permission”.  The following words, in no particular order, are prompts for this and future journeys.












A mandala is an image within a circle.  Circles can be made in many ways.  A compass, plate, bowl, CD or any other circular object can create a circle on paper.


Circle Makers used to draw circles on paper.


Circles drawn on paper

A circle can also be drawn “free hand” or “free brush”. The wordensō” is a Japanese word meaning “circle”. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void. Creating a one stroke circle with a brush full of sumi ink is a type of Zen meditation.

Ensō book


Ensō mandalas – by me – watercolor on rice paper

Mandalas can be as minimalist as a one stroke ensō circle or much more detailed and precise.

Acorn and Oak Leaves  Mandala- Christina Torlina – pen and iridescent watercolors

The detail can be precise and exact as in Christine’s mandala below. This mandala is an honoring of the cycle and connection of the lives of oaks, caterpillars and birds. These caterpillars are necessary for adult birds to feed baby birds. No oak trees, no caterpillars, no birds. Details of each caterpillar is seen below. Names are recorded on the back.


Caterpillar Larva and Oak Leaf Mandala – Christine Torlina
markers, pens, colored pencils, watercolors


Caterpillar larva names


All mandalas work with the circle form.  There is no right or wrong way to create a mandala.  The process, not the finished image, is what is most important. Here are some recently created mandalas.

Bright colors & Spiral Mandala – Ann Brune – watercolors


Love, Beauty, Breath Warding Off Corona Virus – Kelly Larson – watercolors, pen


Birthing Stars & Love – Linda Massie – acrylic inks and oil pastels


Process of Celtic Spirals with circle drawn on already colored paper -by me- pen and watercolor


Leaves Eat Sunlight, Caterpillars Eat Leaves -by me – brown paper, white ink, iridescent watercolor



Link above to Video Showing Wet on Wet watercoloring. First clear water is added to areas, then watercolor paint added that bleeds into the wet area.


Yellow Spiral Mandala – by me –  already colored background paper, pilot parallel pen with purple water-soluble ink that bleeds, watercolors


The art materials used to create the two mandalas above and the one below.

Pilot Parallel Pen 3.8, eraser, round brush, pencil, brush for making lines, micron pen and Yarka watercolors.


Mandalas can offer insight into the mystery of our deep creativity. Most mandalas are created spontaneously with shapes, forms and colors emerging from a deep center of creativity.  Understanding creativity’s mystery through colors, shapes and forms brings meaning.   There are books that help with insights and understanding.  These are four books I wouldn’t be without. They help me understand the spontaneous marks made in my, and other’s, mandalas.

A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art and Science by Michael S. Schneider. This book explains the concepts of geometry  and sacred geometry from a math professor’s love of the shapes of creation.  Simply Color by Diantha Harris. Diantha is a friend, color expert and color healer. This book explains the power and energy of not only primary, secondary but also tertiary colors like turquoise. Most books on color don’t go into as much detail in a concise way like this one.  Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest by Alex Patterson. The hieroglyphs of the Southwest speak to me in a deep way. This book shows many ancient and universal shapes carved into stone. Sometimes the same forms appear  when making my mandala marks.  Signs of Life, The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them by Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist. This book explains the five universal shapes that often spontaneously arise when creating mandalas. Spirals are one  shape and often signify journey. The other shapes are circle, triangle, square and the equal sided cross.


WRITING PROMPT – back to the chosen word
Write before, during or after a mandala is created. Words added to  images is called “art journaling”. This mandala combines a mandala and words “promise” and “permission”.

Fierce Love Mandala – watercolor paper and watercolors – by me.

Writing can also be words alone. See examples below.

My usual way of journaling is to find a quiet spot and start with one of the pages from my Creativity Container folder. (Here’s a link to Creativity Container Folders)  I write the date on front or back and then begin writing. These writings with the word prompts “promise” and  “permission” inspired the painting of a seed sprouting into a flower. Attached is a small envelope with the word “Promise” and a seed from “Love in a Puff” a perfectly spherical black seed with a heart imprinted on the seed.

Seeds of Love-In-A-Puff (Cardiospermum halicacabum). Each one is 3/16th of an inch wide.





“Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…

say yes quickly”





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