To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Mandalas in the Prairie

The last Mandala Circle get together was about an hour outside St. Louis at the home and land of Christine Torlina and Gary Schimmelpfenig.  The ten acres of restored and loved prairie, wetland, pond, creek and woods are called “Earth Mirrors”.  It’s a mirror into the souls and long history of the land, and those who care and cared for it.

liatris-torches-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLiatris flowers -Blazing Star or Gayfeather – with the sun behind each stem, were torches that lead us on the prairie path.



purple-coneflower-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe beautiful and well known Echinacea Purpurea – Purple Coneflower – is one of the world’s most widely used medicinal plants with healing parts in root, stem, leaf and flower. It provides pollen to bees and other insects. Goldfinch birds love echinacea seeds. These birds will come from long and far for these seed treats.



mandala-sharing-prairie-circle-echinacai-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe mandala I created was inspired by Echinacea Purpurea – Purple Coneflower. I felt the history and energy of the land and the Native American honoring of the four directions.

flower-mandala-linda-massie-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLinda Massie too was inspired by Purple Coneflower and all the other life of the prairie.


prairie-woods-sky-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe energy of the sun and land was strong.



mandala-red-spiral-maryann-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe sun was intense and hot, not unusual for us at this time of year. MaryAnn Young’s mandala illustrated the heat of the day with the sky above and green growth below.


mandala-energy-maryann-young-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMaryAnn’s “energy” mandala inspired by the colors of the sky and clouds. MaryAnn uses only her fingers to push the thick watercolor paint from tubes. There is a texture of thick paint to her mandala surfaces.


baptisia-seeds-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLike all gardens there is a movement of time from new growth in spring, to flower, to seed.  These seed pods of the native Baptisia Australis – Wild Blue Indigo – were used, and can be used now,  by children as rattles with their raspy sound. The latin name comes from the Greek word “bapto” to dye, and “australis” meaning from the south, not Australia. This plant was used as a blue dye by Native Americans.



mandala-flowers-nora-prairie-circle-blog-creativity-for-the-soulNora’s first mandala was inspired by the prairie sky, clouds and flowers. Her black border marries the traditional lotus petals border of many East Indian mandalas with the American Indian or First Nations people’s Midwestern land.


mandala-nora-triangle-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogNora’s second mandala continued with a beautiful border and a misty triangle image. According to my favorite book about universal shapes – Signs of Life, by Angeles Arrien – a triangle “stands for goals, visions and dreams”.


prairie-dock-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogIf lines were drawn from the base of this Silphium Terebinthinaceum -Prairie Dock – plant to the tall thin stem tops, it would form a triangle.  The long straight flower stem raises one’s eyes to the heavens and land of goals, visions and dreams.





Andropogon Gerardii – Big Bluestem –  grass also reaches for the sky and the land of dreams, visions and goals. It turns bright purple, copper, red and gold in the fall.




rattlesnake-master-liatris-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogEryngium yuccifolium -Rattlesnake Master – has roots that run deep. Not just literally with deep roots like all prairie plants that created the rich soils of Middle America. It also has deep roots in history where it was used for shoes by Native peoples as far back as 8,000 years. A New York Times article tells how the many styles of shoes made from Rattlesnake Master were made throughout ancient times to 800 years ago,  when discarded ones were found in a cave in Missouri.




christine-butterfly-mandala-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe life of the prairie, woods, wetlands, pond and creek includes more than the plants. It is a living eco-system of plants, animals, soil, sky, rain, sun and all that make up this paradise. Christine, who lives here, knows the living system of all who are part of the land. Her first mandala shows some of the butterflies that live here and the energy of the four directions.




mandala-christine-feet-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogChristine and Gary  frequently walk the land here. In Christine’s mandala these tiny feet surrounded by sun, clouds, rain, sky, butterflies and more show the immensity of all that surrounds a land walker at Earth Mirrors.




joe-pye-weed-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogOn our walk we came across Eupatoriadelphus maculatus – Joe Pye Weed – which tends to like wet soil. At Earth Mirrors it grows near the creek and pond. It’s name comes from a Native American healer who brought knowledge of this plant’s healing properties to others.





benches-in-woods-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogAlso near the pond is the gathering area with wooden benches and fire pit. There is a circle of trees surrounding the cleared area, an embrace of a mandala circle. You feel an embrace of the trees when stepping into this sacred space.



mandala-blue-white-center-maryann-young-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe intensity of the sun, sky, clouds and a distant moon (that shown in the sky that night), is seen in MaryAnn Young’s mandala. It is one of the ways I remember this beautiful prairie walk and a deep experience of the land.





sunset-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWhen we came out of the cool house after creating our mandalas, we were greeted with a perfect sunset. The prairie flowers still shone in the fading light.






I was inspired to create a sunset mandala from my original photo with my favorite smart phone app. I love how the trees are in the center with the immense sky surrounding them.

Th app is called KALEIDAGRAM for IPhone and IOS and Android.  I’ll be sharing more about this amazing app soon.


P.S. – A Month For Mandalas coming in early October, more details soon.




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