DIY Mandala Gardens – Learn About Mandala Garden Design
What are Mandalas?
Mandalas are geometric designs made from repeating patterns. They have been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. The word “mandala” comes from the Sanskrit words “manthan” (meaning pattern) and “dalai” (meaning circle). These designs were first introduced into Hinduism by Sri Aurobindo in 1908.
The term “Mandala” was coined by Krishnamurti in 1943, but it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that they became popular among Westerners. In India, the mandalas are known as “Kundalini Chakra”.
According to Hindu mythology, Kundalini is a spiritual energy which flows through all living beings. When this energy reaches certain points in the body, it awakens dormant powers within the individual. These powers manifest themselves in various ways such as increased psychic abilities or healing abilities.
In order to harness these energies, devotees perform rituals called “yoga” or “dhyana”, which involves meditating upon a specific symbol known as a kundalini chakra. The most famous of these meditations is known as the “Sushumna meditation”, in which a devotee visualizes a straight blue line rising up the middle of the body from the base to the top of the head.
In tantric Buddhism, mandalas are seen as a way to reach enlightenment. The most famous mandala is known as the “Sri Yantra”, which was first depicted in the Shiva Sutras.
This mandala is a three-dimensional representation of a network of nodes which correspond to different sounds. When these sounds are processed by the mind, it leads to enlightenment.
In the western world, mandalas are seen as a way to focus the mind. By focusing on an unmoving object such as a mandala, it is possible to enter a state of “flow” in which there is no sense of time and the person is entirely focused on the activity.
This provides health benefits such as lowering the amount of stress hormones in the body.
How to make a mandala?
There are a few ways to make mandalas, each with their own pros and cons. The first step in making mandalas is drawing a circle. This can be done using a compass or by just drawing it by hand. If using a compass, it is important that the radius of the circle is exactly the radius of the circle. Otherwise, the finished mandala won’t be a perfect circle.
Once the circle is drawn, the artist will place a dot in the middle of the circle. This dot signifies the center of the mandala.
From here, it is up to the artist to decide what kind of shapes and patterns they want to include in their design. The biggest decision that needs to be made is what kind of shapes to use. Common shapes include squares, triangles, pentagons, hexagons and more. Some artists have created circles within the circle, creating a double-ringed circle.
It is also important to decide what colors to use in the design. The most common method is to choose one color for the center and a different color for everything else.
This creates a sort of contrast between the focus point of the mandala and the rest of the design.
Once the drawing process is over, it is time to fill in the mandala. This is a fairly simple process.
The biggest problem that people have at this point is uneven lines and sloppy artwork. It is important to remember to take one’s time and try to keep the lines as even and straight as possible.
While coloring, it is a good idea to experiment with various colors and styles. Each different color and style creates a different feel for the mandala.
Artists try to choose colors that feel right, convey a certain emotion and create an atmosphere.
When this is finished, the mandala is complete. It can be displayed in various ways such as hanging it on a wall or framing it and placing it on a table.
Others prefer to place the mandala on the ground in a place where people can see it with the purpose of spreading beauty and joy throughout the world.
Are you ready to make your own?
Using a compass to draw a circle is the easy part. Deciding what to put inside that circle is where artists usually struggle. It can be easy to think that including more lines or shapes will make the mandala more complex and eye-catching but that isn’t necessarily true. The most important detail is the center of the mandala, also known as the “bindu”. The bindu is a simple black dot that often has a white ring around it. Everything else in the mandala revolves around this dot. The goal of the bindu is to draw the eye in and make the viewer feel like they are being drawn into another world when they look at it.
The next most important detail is the lines coming off of the bindu. These lines should be as simple as possible while still looking good.
It is often helpful to draw a few circles around the bindu before deciding on a design for the lines. Some people decide to create flowers with lots of details while others prefer to keep things minimal and use very few lines.
After you have designed your bindu and chosen your style, it’s time to choose your colors. Some artists like to use the traditional colors of red, yellow, blue and green.
These colors represent the Hindu religion but using them doesn’t mean that you’re limited to drawing Hindu-inspired mandalas. These four colors can be mixed together in an almost infinite variety of shades so there’s plenty of room for creativity. For this tutorial, we’re going to use red, yellow, blue and green.
The first thing I like to do is draw the outline of my bindu. I usually make it disproportionately large compared to the rest of the design.
Don’t worry about being precise at this point since you can easily fix any mistakes you make with your pencil eraser.
Once you’ve drawn the bindu, pick a color to fill it in with. I like to choose a contrasting color so my bindu really stands out from the rest of the design.
Using the color you’ve chosen, start filling in the bindu until it’s completely covered. Don’t worry about the lines wrapping around the bindu yet, we’ll take care of those in a minute.
After filling in your bindu, pick another color and start filling in one of the lines surrounding it. I like to choose a color that fits well with the color I chose for the bindu.
After filling in one line, choose another and fill that one in as well. Continue doing this until you’ve filled in all the lines surrounding your bindu.
As you can see, I filled in the lines going clockwise around the bindu first, then I filled in the lines counterclockwise. You may choose a different method but it’s important to be consistent so your mandala looks balanced.
Once you’ve filled in all the lines, it should start to look something like this.
Choose a new color and pick any spot on the outside of your bindu.
Sources & references used in this article:
Rethinking the Right to the City: DIY Urbanism and Postcapitalist Possibilities by N Foster – Rethinking Marxism, 2020 – Taylor & Francis
“You feel like you’re part of something bigger”: exploring motivations for community garden participation in Melbourne, Australia by J Kingsley, E Foenander… – BMC public …, 2019 – bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com
Urban agriculture in the making or gardening as epistemology by M Granzow, KE Jones – Local Environment, 2020 – Taylor & Francis