I’ve always loved patterns and, being slightly OCD, it pleases me enormously to be able to create something that tends to involve a degree of symmetry.
I spend many hours walking in the wonderful countryside that surrounds me in Wensleydale, and I have always had the foraging instinct, so it comes naturally to pick up a feather here, a fir cone there, and so on. I particularly love being amongst trees.
The creation of a mandala using natural objects is the perfect way to put all these traits to good use! It gives a purpose to a walk, helps me to connect even more deeply with the landscape around me, allows my creativity to flow and my inner child to play.
I am in the middle of a series of seven mini-pilgrimages with one or two friends, and we are incorporating a mandala into each of our journeys. It’s the highlight of the journey. We prefer to find a spot about halfway through our walk, rather than leaving it to the end. As another friend put it, it’s a bit like walking into a labyrinth, communicating with your Higher Self at the mid-point, then returning outwards to complete the journey with a feeling of completion and fulfilment.
We tend to use just one light placed at the centre, and on a windy day we don’t even have that, but we always ensure there is something significant at the centre – a crystal, a bright flower, a personal object (or two . . .or three!). We use curved twigs for the outer circle, making it about the size of a bicycle wheel. We tend to divide the mandala into sections, like spokes, and then decorate it with the objects we’ve picked up on the way. Sometimes we’ve found something colourful (such as blue freshwater crayfish shells found by a pond), other times brown and green prevail.
Once we are happy with how our masterpiece looks, we perform a short ritual, sprinkling specially charged water around the mandala, chanting or drumming, perhaps inviting a specific deity to bestow blessings on our efforts, and end with a few minutes of silent contemplation as we thank the Earth for her gifts.
The final step is of course to ground ourselves with a flask of coffee and my homemade cake!
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