What is a mandala?

Mandalas have shown up in many forms across many cultures throughout history, in some cases with deep spiritual and even religious meanings. It’s important that we practice cultural appreciation not cultural appropriation, so to recognize that history we have excerpted from Wikipedia here:

A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe.[1] In common use, “mandala” has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T.[2][3] Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.[4] 

Western psychological interpretations

According to art therapist and mental health counselor Susanne F. Fincher, we owe the re-introduction of mandalas into modern Western thought to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst. In his pioneering exploration of the unconscious through his own art making, Jung observed the motif of the circle spontaneously appearing. The circle drawings reflected his inner state at that moment. Familiarity with the philosophical writings of India prompted Jung to adopt the word “mandala” to describe these circle drawings he and his patients made. In his autobiography, Jung wrote:

I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, … which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. … Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: … the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious.

— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 195–196.


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Can I play if I cannot draw?

Absolutely! If you can make a mark, you can create a mandala. We can also help you get started with free printable pdf templates of the Frames, found on our  Free Stuff page.

You can use drafting stencils and crafting templates to help you fill in your mandala.

Also available to enhance your art work, we have collage sheets for a reasonable price.

Check out our Etsy shop

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When creating the mandalas, do I only use the Sparks chosen?

There are two answers. One, you may choose to include all the Sparks chosen and add some more embellishments of your own, if you wish, or two, you can challenge yourself and use only the Sparks chosen.


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One, two or three Artistic Bits cards, how do I decide?

You do not have to predetermine the number of cards you wish to choose. As you draw and look at each card, you will have choices for artistic content and/or action. Stop when your intuition speaks up and you feel ready to create.


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What if I am Math-phobic?

We’ve got you covered. Free printable pdf reference sheet for use with 180 or 360 degree protractor. This quick guide will support your developing skills and save your brain power for the creative stuff.


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Do I need to know how to use a compass or  protractor?

No problem! Mandalas can be free form and hand drawn. Sections do not have to be regular in spacing, you can simply use a pencil and ruler to create your sections. This is a creative process and above all should be joyful, not stressful!


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Once I have drawn my set of Sparks, how do I remember which cards I had?

Make a note of the chosen Sparks, take a phone photo or use our free printable pdf Mandala Sparks Record Sheet. It is a useful tool as you create your own gallery of unique mandalas.


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How do I store and display all the mandalas I create?

Start a binder with your mandalas in page protectors. Place the completed Mandala Sparks Record Sheet alongside as a quick reference. Share your art with us on our Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/MandalaSparks

Don’t forget to #mandalasparks on Facebook and Instagram. Cannot wait to see your creations.


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How do I play with my friends and fellow art buddies?

Here are two ways to share this experience in group play: each artist can draw their own set of Sparks or you can choose one set of Sparks for the whole group and explore individual interpretation. It is very interesting to see how even the same art supplies and Sparks can produce such varied art with the added ingredient of the artist’s imagination.


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