Coloring Your Mandala

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Mandalas are circular designs that can be created in many different ways. Mandalas can be shaped of clay, of leather, or of flowers. Mandalas need not be physical objects. They can be danced, dreamed, or imagined with your mind’s eye. Here is one way to go about creating a mandala.

Materials

Invest in top quality pencils, chalks, pastels, or paints. The extra cost is more than offset by their being easier to work with and giving more pleasing results. Select paper in a size and color you like. Paper can be loose or bound in a book or drawing pad.

Coloring your Mandala

Let your choice of colors for your mandala be instinctive. As you look at your box of chalks, your paints or pencils, pick the color that attracts your attention first. Try not to think much as you begin to fill in your mandala with color.

As you place color on your mandala, a dialogue commences between your eye, your hand, and your unconscious. One color on the mandala invites another, like a guest who asks to bring his friend to your party. Sometimes a color will seem to appear uninvited and introduce a surprising element. You may protest, “But this color does not go with what is here!” but the color must and will become part of the mandala—if you allow it to. Even if you do not, the feeling or idea symbolized by that color will find its way into the mandala some other way, so you may as well let the unexpected color come into your mandala. Once you have completed your mandala, you may want to learn more about the meanings of your colors by using the suggestions in “Interpreting Your Mandalas.”

Another approach to coloring your mandala can be to choose with care and thought the colors you want to work with. For example, you might choose all the colors you dislike, or colors associated with the season that is just beginning, or colors used in a religious or philosophical system which has meaning for you. Your mandala might be filled with red, yellow, and blue, the three colors representing aspects of the Christian Trinity, or yellow, red, black, and white, the four colors representing cardinal directions in the Native American medicine wheel, or the seven colors of the rainbow associated with chakras (nodal points of energy transformation in Eastern thought). You may use these colors intentionally in your mandala as a way to interact with and deepen your understanding of the concepts they represent.

There may be times when you do not want to add any color to your mandala. Simply drawing it in black and white will be satisfying. Or, if you are working with mandalas already drawn, as in a coloring book, simply meditating on the black and white form of a mandala can bring a sense of peace. If you choose to imagine it in different colors, this, too, is a way of coloring your mandala