Nature Mandala

As the Easter weekend approaches we fully acknowledge Spring, new life and new beginnings.

Easter is about chocolate, rabbits, daffodils, primroses, celandines, swallows and swifts returning from the south . We are encouraged by a heavy wet winter lifting into a so far bright sunlight but this year will be remembered as a turbulent and emotional time for human kind with no exceptions.

My thoughts for this weekend would be that I would like to conduct some kind of purposeful, still reflection; something that has ceremony. Something that is deeply personal but can also have an albeit ephemeral legacy.

Mandala simply means circle in Sanskrit. Circles can be symbolic of wholeness and unity, oneness and new beginnings which feels apt at this time.

The process of creating a mandala, series of patterns or circles around a central circle or creating overall a circle can focus us in a mindful way. As we become absorbed with the process of making we can become aware of our inner selves; our internal voice and just being in the moment. For this reason it has been likened to a spiritual experience but as with all things attributing this to the process is a personal choice; creating circles is deeply satisfying as is the mission to find pieces.

Easter originates from the Anglo Saxon ‘eoster’ the root of our words ‘Easter and east. In old English it means ‘Dawn’ (para The Children’s Forest)

With all this juicy symbology there is so much scope for designing the mandala. Other great examples include linking the mandala to a five fold celtic knot: four circles that overlap to create a fifth circle in the centre or each circle could be aligned with North East South and West; the Seasons. (Info taken from this informative blog)

SETTING AN INTENTION

Yesterday I become preoccupied with the visual caught up in how to make the most perfect circle with pieces that are naturally odd. On reflection I realise that I got caught up in setting an unrealistic goal! I had started out by noticing sticks that looked like bones, feathers and white limestone rocks. Someone had had a fire in the woods which made me thoughtful about the impact we have but also the beauty of the charred sticks and the pile of ash. My train of thought was something like not fearing letting go and working with what I saw as endings. After an hour of tinkering and rearranging I gave up frustrated that I had not achieved my goal. Prior to coming out I had been reading a book on the work of environmental artist Chris Drury; I wanted to recreate something akin to his level of perfection! After giving up I found myself making marks with the burnt ends of sticks and what happened next was deeply satisfying. I found myself making marks on stones and logs and thinking how having an ankle injury running had forced me to slow right down and actually (after a lot of frustration again) there was a small glint of gratitude… On a personal level I was less troubled by the impact I was having than my previous design; it was easy and relaxing! These marks will be washed off with the next rain. Gratitude became my much needed intention!

This link explain practically and simply how to set an intention as opposed to a goal from someone more skilled than I at explaining mindfulness.

We can start by just noticing. Nature is full of pattern and circles. I found as much joy walking back from the wood along the pavement and seeing these beauties.

Collecting materials is mindful and purposeful process in itself. Enjoy seeing what nature affords in the way of loose parts. If you intend to pick Spring flowers make sure you leave 90% of what is there for nature they are important forage for our beloved pollinators.

If you cannot leave the house enjoy mark making and doodling; maybe incorporate some natural images into your design. My children love felt tips; they found some stone outside the back door this morning and my son did this… Salad can be arranged playfully on a plate.

I think the key to making a mandala however is not to over think it but just enjoy the simplicity of making. I constantly learn from watching children. In fact this is a lovely activity to do with children

Please let us know how you get on; we would love to hear from you.

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