Someone asked me recently if I mapped out my mandalas on the computer. How times have changed! No, I replied, in fact they emerge quite organically. These mandalas are highly detailed and call for intense focus, so my process is very much a meditation for me. Often there are periods of waiting and trusting that what is needing to come forward will show itself to me. I begin all my sessions in the studio by lighting candles on the altar; making an offering to the muses or spirit helpers that want to support me that day; and smudging myself, the work, and the studio. Having created this sacred space, I ask for guidance that I may be a vehicle for spirit to move through me. For personalized soul symbol mandalas, such as this one, I hold a vision of the person that I am creating it for and an intention for bringing forward those aspects of the soul that want to be acknowledged, celebrated, or healed. (see Shri Yantra Mandala post for more information on soul symbol mandalas)
My dear friend, Christina Rose, ask that I paint a mandala for her and gave no specific direction. She simply trusted in my vision. Of course, I wanted there to be a rose to be at the center. At first, I began work on a very different, peach rose but after wrestling with that for a time I realized it just wasn’t working. I let go of my resistance and was guided intuitively to go in a different direction. Over the years, I have come to see that this is part of my process. I start down one road, hit a bump, and turn in another direction. I’ve learned to trust this and know that in the end the work will be better for it.
I drew inspiration from the many aspects of what I know about Christina, her spiritual path, and what nourishes her soul. This is what I shared with her when I presented her with the mandala:
In the Christian tradition, the white rose is a symbol of the Virgin Mary. It represents reverence, purity, and humility. From an Eastern perspective, we might also call this egolessness.
Drawing from the indigenous medicine wheel:
In the North, the earth element: This represents your love of the earth. In the East, the air element: The dove represents your want for peace. In the South, the fire element: The hands and heart represent your love/passion for your partner and community. In the West, the water element: The fish represent your astrological sign, Pisces.
Inspired by the gold that is used in illuminated manuscripts, the gold creates a holy framework to hold each of your soul elements in a sacred manner.