Crystals and Mandala
stone mandala

The  Sanskrit definition of  the word Mandala  is simply circle or circular picture. Mandalas can  be expressions  of  universal archetypal symbols or symbols of a more personal nature. In Tibetan art,  mandalas are graphic   representations of the spiritual  universe. Circular design motifs appear in many cultures, both past and  present.  Mandala are used as  objects of power, devotion and meditative focus. Some  mandala are not  circular but the Circle is the most common form and  beginning point.

There are forms of Mandala where the power or energetic effect is considered innate to the geometric  form or correct and perfect depiction of the image form of the Mandala . There are Forms of mandala where the power and effect are considered to be derived from the intention and energy placed into the mandala by its creators and a third form is   those that are considered as tools of connection to a source of energy information and universal  spiritual essence. The symbolism and  energies expressed by the mandala is impressed on the subconscious mind of the meditator. If  used regularly in meditation, mandala can effect powerful, positive changes and growth in the user.

 Mandala can be  made as paintings, sculpture and carvings,  drawings and sand or powder work  as well as in mixed media . Some Tibetan Mandala are traditionally carved in Yak butter. Labyrinths, stone circles some petrogliphs and some  ancient stone paintings  and  may be considered related to the mandala. Mandala also may be recognized in nature as the forms of opening flowers, ripple patterns in water,  images seen in microphotography, crystalline and cellular structures and so forth.

Mandala and specific systems of mandala symbolism and design are found throughout the world.
 Mandalas can be created as a form of meditation or as an aid  to  a realization  ,for a devotional offering and dedication or as a way of  focussing energy for purposes like  prayer, affirmations ,  manifestation  or  healing or as part of a spiritual practice or for an altar piece.

Mandalas can be far more complex than most crystal  grids. The placement of the stones is usually done in  focused  meditation for both grids and mandala . Mandala are most often  gazed at  and meditated with, but like grids  are often created with intention and then  left  to continue the work of transmitting energy for a particular purpose,  or created to energize and focus intention  toward a particular goal such as healing or manifestation or  to assist with symbolic expression of spiritual essence or  spiritual connection   Some mandalas employ sacred geometry or are symbolic depiction of core lessons in the particular path , faith or tradition from which the elements are formed.

  Sand paintings, which are Mandala most known for their use in Tibet and Navaho traditions  and in India  can   be thought of as  a form of crystal  mandala as the sand is mostly  of rock and crystal origins. These forms of sand painted mandala are usually made under the strictest of control and focus according to traditions handed down in a sacred way for hundreds of years.  They are made from careful placement of colored sand  by hand , with small funnel like tools    and with feathers and quills  often being common tools.  After these are made and used or dedicated for the intended work and a period of meditation. The mandala  is  swept away and the sand is discarded in a sacred way  dispersing to the winds or into water being common methods .  Those examples of Navaho Sand painting which may be found on display have always been altered in a way to preserve the secret of their correct sacred  construction  .The Tibetan Forms are extremely complex  and traditionally one  has fully visualized and memorized the structure before  beginning to do the work.
A variation of sand mandalas  is sometimes made with a fixative or with glue to make a more permanent  mandala a similar mosaic type of mandala might be made with stone and crystal chips .

On occasions when you find it difficult to calm your mind for a traditional meditation
 a  mandala making  session may be  relaxing and healing.

Select a  number of your stones and crystals and  after taking a few deep breaths and relaxing, move the stones  around and form  them into patterns before  you. This is a form of active contemplation which can  be  as valuable as receptive meditations .  It is most traditional to begin in the center point and  move  from the center  outward most often in a clockwise circular direction .

You may  want to create  mandala  from   geometric  or traditional spiritual patterns.
 Many  simple crystal mandalas   are made  in formations identical to the most common crystal grids such as various star, wheel, compass, spiral  and spoke patterns  often with a simple single crystal center . Mandalas, whether in a geometric or  intuitive  free form with crystals or other media are most often done in a focused, intentional, dedicated , meditative or trance state.

Crystal mandala can be made entirely with crystals and stones or crystals and stones might be combined with painted, drawn or sculpted work .
You might select stones in accord with your purpose in creating the mandala such as those  associated with your birth sign and natal chart , with a Tarot  major arcana card , with healing purposes and spiritual traditions and with totem animals or magical or healing herbs or with Guides , Gods ,Angels , Deva ,Dream and archetypal symbolism may also inspire your intuitive mandala .

When making a crystal mandala one generally  begins with a focussed meditation and places stones either according to a standard pattern  or intuitively   . I often will take many of my stones and as a meditation place them intuitively  in spirals or other patterns as I breath deeply .

While there are many different symbolic traditions that can be used in mandala  one of the most traditional symbol sets and one considered to have innate power to effect realization is by using  Tattwa. These simple geometric symbols can be used in crystal meditation either by arranging crystals in these forms or by using stones that are shaped like these symbols  or by placing  stones on key points of a mandala graph comprised of these symbolic forms .
I had worked with these forms  in Tattwa based astrological mandala  developed by Michael Matthew's  of  Hayward about a decade ago and they were profoundly transformitive . Mr. Mathews does not seem to have a web site any more and I had heard that he was primarily doing other work now so I am unable to give you a contact point  for his work.

Tattwa is a Sanskrit word meaning energy. Tattwas are  five geometric symbols which represent the five universal energies.  Each Tattwas symbolizes unique energies with specific properties, potentials and frequencies. In varying combinations, these five energies make up the sum totality of everything in our physical and spiritual universe. These five basic symbols are combined to create symbols of many different kinds. One set of these can be found here   .
The symbols are the ovoid, the triangle, the half-moon, the circle, and the square.

These definitions are minimal and in no way represent the totality or the symbol.

Ovoid or ellipse represents  space, the void , the universe , the womb, the cosmic egg ,new life ,understanding , female or yin energy.

Triangle  represents Fire , passion,  meditate on this symbol  to intensify and clarify desire, creativity, prosperity, magnetism and  to develop the right brain .

Circle represents Air , thought, and is used  to enhance ones ability to visualize and discriminate. Meditation on circles activates the subconscious mind brings about greater ability to discriminate ,concentrate and communicate.

Moon represents Water ,  this symbol increases the ability to feel , meditation with this form can bring greater self reflection sensitivity and receptivity toward others.

Squares represent Earth, focus and determination , diversity , inner strength  enhances the ability to move from dreams to reality.
Those are the Tattwa which you might be familiar with from the Yantra and chakra symbols
there are other geometric forms and shapes of crystals that you can use in your mandala work .
These include  The Platonic solids:
Tetrahedron (4 triangular faces)  Fire,
Hexahedron or cube (6 square faces) Earth,
Octahedron (8 triangular faces) Air,
Dodecahedron (12 pentagonal faces) Ether and Prana
Isohedron (20 triangular faces) Water
Sphere   Void

This is just the barest introduction to mandala and to some of the shapes and structures which can be used to create them.
Some example of digital crystal mandala made from photographs of crystals can be seen at CRYSTAL MANDALA IMAGES 
and more are  at Art and mandala

Mandala forms are  designs  intended to symbolize the universe; a  sacred space that reminds a viewer of  the universe and the potential for  enlightenment. You may also design mandala to help with personal issues and awakening .
When creating crystal mandala you can  used the methods of  clearing ,energizing and focussing energy that you have learned to use in other work with crystals.

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Peggy Jentoft

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