I have been creating Medicine Wheels for over 30 years. This is my spiritual journey which has taught me both patience and endurance. I wanted to create my own sacred space that I could move anywhere. It was an intuitive subconscious act of creation. I worked for hours to make the first one; it was simple and it took me 3 years to perfect the design. I am still working on making the perfect design.
Now you may ask, what is a Medicine wheel? There is one right in the United States; the Hopi Medicine Wheel located in Bighorn County, Wyoming. There is also Stonehenge in Amesbury, Salisbury, UK. These two examples of Medicine Wheels are made from large stones that are placed in a circular design to create a sacred space for meditation, ceremonies and to commune with the creator. The word Medicine Wheel was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming. Traditionally a Medicine Wheel is a circle of stone that is positioned to align with the stars, at best guess. There are between 100 and 200 in Canada and the United States.
In Eastern cultures, the same principle is represented as a mandala which is used by the Buddhist and Hindu religious as a symbol for the universe. The Tibetan Thangka are beautiful mandalas that are painted on cotton or silk. They are symbolized as a circle enclosing a square; within resides a deity. They are used as an aid to meditation. Mandala means circle in Sanskrit. In Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism it is a stylized diagram of the universe based on a circle.
The Mandalas have been used throughout history for meditation in all cultures and is also called the wheel of life. It can take the forms of Yin and Yang or the Aztec calendar. These are just a few of the archetypes that come from the subconscious mind of man. (If you would like to study mandalas there is a wonderful book by Judith Cornell: Mandala, which is still in print).
But first, start by looking at the beautiful sand painting of the Tibetans and Navajos that are used in healing ceremonies as well as for meditation. Carl G. Jung rediscovered the Mandala in western culture and its use in healing in Psychiatry. In his book, The Secret of the Golden Flower, he called it,” the psychological expression of the totality of the self.”
It can be used as a therapeutic engine for concentration in which you can project yourself into your own mental world and see your thoughts as they take form. This can change and liberate you from mental distress. Your subconscious sees the world in symbols. M. C. Escher and Buckminster Fuller make extensive use of the Mandala art form. They used nature as a template and the Fibonacci Sequence as a guide which can generate an infinite variety of design forms; the building blocks of life. In the book Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt in 1932, Black Elk said,
As I have stated previously, the form of the circle has a centering effect on the mind. Mix this with art and you have a powerful meditation medium that takes the outward flowing of energies and turns them into a centering vortex of positive power. Painting, sculpturing and other forms of art are just a few ways to help you cope with stress in your life. It can create new neural pathways and connections in your brain and distract you from thinking about yourself. When I create art my hands are moved by a vision emanating from within myself.
C.G. Jung stated that: “For at least thirteen years I have kept quiet about the results of these methods in order to avoid any suggestions. I wanted to assure myself that these …Mandala… really are produced spontaneously and were not suggested to the patient by my own fantasy. I was then able to convince myself, through my own studies that Mandalas were drawn, painted, carved in stone and built at all times and in all parts of the world long before my patients discovered them. I have also seen to my satisfaction that Mandalas are dreamt and drawn by patients who were being treated by psychotherapists whom I had not trained. I view this as important and significant of the Mandala symbol, special precautions seemed to be necessary, seeing that this motif is one of the best examples of the universal operation of an archetype.”
But this archetype is spread throughout nature. The Pufferfish makes a beautiful symmetrical pattern. To me, this is amazing and beautiful. And it is is all for the ladies.
All life starts out as a circle, the closely packed cells that multiply and grow into a living being, plants, and galaxies. Math is the language of God and the Fibonacci Sequence is a pattern to manifest the beauty of nature.
For humans, the Mandala is an instrument for transcending the world of visually perceived phenomena. By first centering them and helping the mind to break reality into 3 main forms: center, symmetry, and cardinal points. The center of the eye is the pupil, cut an apple in half it is a mirror reflexion of itself and the cardinal points are north, south, east, and west.
There are some wonderful coloring books with Mandalas out there for you to use. Or you can make your own, using a plate or saucer that you can trace around. Some pencils, ruler, templates and you can draw your own.
I feel that Medicine wheels and Mandalas are a roadmap for my life. They are a gift of the universe and show the relationship that we have with the divine.