In Sanskrit, an ancient language of India, the word mandala means circle, center, or sometimes sacred circle. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a design symbolizing the universe.” Carl Jung calls them "archetypes of wholeness."
Recently I was told by a practicing Buddhist who read a direct translation of sanskrit that the word mandala means "a cluster of blessings." This is my new favorite definition.
Mandalas are found throughout the world, in Native American cultures, India, Buddhism, Middle East, Asia, Australia, and Egypt. Many are also found in churches, such as the north and south stained-glass rose windows of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
They have been used mainly as a communication tool, to connect with God, the higher self, the inner self, the "source", or as I heard it said recently, "the more", that which is greater than ourselves.
Many people use them for meditation and contemplation; others use them for therapy and healing.
Carl Jung used them extensively with himself and his patients, who would create them as a means to connect with their sub-conscious and/or super-conscious; allowing them to work through their issues. Many psychologists, therapists, and cancer centers today use mandalas and coloring as forms of therapy.
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