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About
Mandalas
by Charles Gilchrist



Brief History

The word “Mandala,” is rooted in Sanskrit and literally means "Circle," which is the first enclosed archetype of Sacred Geometry. The single point at the center of the circle is called the "Bindu."

It has been suggested that meditational Mandalas were brought to Tibet by the wandering Guru Padma Sambava in the 8th century A.D. On the other hand, some people believe the practice of creating Mandalas was already happening in Tibet before Padma Sambava arrived. Never the less, the construction and meditation of spiritual Mandalas is an important aspect of Buddhism and Hinduism. Mandalas are to be found all over the orient and always used as a tool to facilitate contemplation and meditation. This process of experiencing Mandala, has the potential of moving the witness into his or her spiritual center. The contemplation of Sacred Geometry through the processes of studying or creating Mandalas (open-eyed meditation) can literally lead the student to enlightenment,

Even though Mandalas are generally thought to be an Eastern invention, it is hard to find a culture (past or present) that has not recognized the symbolic qualities and transcendental potentials of the circle and its various geometries. The circle is the first two dimensional archetype, a metaphysical doorway to God Mind and Oneness.

Black Elk

Long before that great teacher (Guru Padma Sambava) traveled to Tibet with the healing and centering concepts of Mandala, native American Shaman had already discovered that same healing power within the circle. Much of the symbolic geometry of Native American art and ritual is rooted in the balance of the circle and its natural division.... the four directions; North, South, East, and West. The famous Lakota Shaman "Black Elk," called the circle the "Sacred Hoop" (see "Black Elk Speaks" by John G. Neihardt - published by University of Nebraska Press).

Dr. C. G. Jung

The innovative Dr. Jung became aware of the transcendental possibilities of Mandala and used the concepts to help some of his patients into a deeper understanding of their psychological dilemmas (see "Mandala Symbolism" by C. G. Jung - published by Princeton University Press). Carl Jung's patients had no understanding of the Eastern tradition and yet, the transcendental qualities of the circle lead them into the world of psychological archetypes. Even though they were relatively unaware, they were still creating true Mandalas.

In the early 1980’s, I became seriously interested in the ancient tradition and began to create my own transcendental Mandalas. Now, multiple hundreds of Mandalas later, I am still fascinated.

East and West

The construction of Mandalas can be divided into two basic approaches (classical and free form):

In the first approach, the artist creates a Mandala based on a given form. This constructive process is equivalent to a musician playing a classical composition, recreating the music as it was written by a master. This is very much the Eastern tradition. Tibetan and Hindu sand paintings are obvious examples as are Native American sand paintings. Each Mandala has a given form and is reconstructed to very precise designs. One of the most famous Mandalas of the east is called the "Shri Yantra," (Fig. 1). The construction of this Mandala requires extreme discipline and knowledge. A small error in the initial layout will make the desired results impossible. I have been studying and constructing this Mandala for years.

Fig. 1

"Shri Yantra"
From "Tools For Tantra" by Harish Johari -
published by Destiny Books


In the west, a new form of Mandala is developing, much more in the tradition of jazz music. In jazz, the basic architecture of the music remains but the artist is freed to create personal, spontaneous variations related to the original foundation. Even the complex rigidity of the "Sri Yantra" can by played in this way.

I have thousands of hours of experience in both approaches but lean toward the Western approach. The squared circle is the basic foundation of Mandala. An example of this western aproach to the squared circle is seen below (Fig. 2). Another jazz-like Mandala: Metatron's Cube in Nature's First Pattern (Projective) (Fig.3).

Fig. 2

"Squared Concentric Circles"
an acrylic Mandala by Charles Gilchrist
See Gallery #5


Fig. 3

"Squared Concentric Circles"
an acrylic Mandala by Charles Gilchrist
See Gallery #13



Additional detailed information about Charles and his work:
click below


Introduction to Sacred Geometry
by Charles Gilchrist

Hands On Sacred Geometry
by Charles Gilchrist

The Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth:
Finger Labyrinths and Open-Eyed Meditation - by Charles Gilchrist

The Origin of Square:
Interview With The Artist - #4 - by Leslie Page

The Creative Process and The Four Corners Suite:
by Charles Gilchrist

Snow Flakes and Sacred Geometry:
Interview With The Artist - #10 - by Leslie Page

The Golden Mean Rectangle and The Phi Ratio:
Interview with The Artist - #11 - By Leslie Page

Esoteric Astrology and Sacred Geometry:
Interview With The Artist - #12 - by Leslie Page









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Copyright © 2009 by Charles Gilchrist
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