Pagan Camp Mandala 2012
On the Sunday morning of Beltane Camp, some tired and groggy adults, along with a few sprightly children got together in the Grand Marquee to talk about Mandalas and to create one ourselves. Mandalas can be found in the natural and man made world, every where you look. From the iris of the eye, to a birds eye view of a tree, stone circles, flowers, plug holes, wheels and even the planets themselves. Life itself, starts with a circle, just think about the cells in our bodies. Our seasons, our lunar phases, menstrual cycles and our own life cycle all follow a cyclical pattern.
Mandala, means 'Wheel' in Sanskrit. They have many uses, and can be found in many different cultures. In Paganism, they can be seen in the wheel of the year, our symbols and magic circles. Even dancing the maypole is a form of mandala dance. In Christianity, they take the form of rose windows, in Native American spirituality, they come in the form of medicine wheels. Stonehenge is one of the oldest examples of a mandala, and Danebury ring could be seen as a wonderful Iron age mandala shaped hill fort.
In Tibet, monks create elaborate and intricate mandalas out of sand. The mandala is then blessed and left for the village to view. After a period of time, the mandala is swept up in a ceremony, and the sand is taken to the local river to bestow good fortune and blessings on the village.
We created our mandala out of bird seed. We blessed it and left the mandala on show. At the end of the day, everyone was asked to take a handful of seed and bless their living space and distribute the seeds around camp.
Mandalas like this are made and destroyed to represent the impermanence of life. They represent how delicate, intricate and amazing life is, in it's creation and existence. The deconstruction of the mandala represents how life ends, and the sands and seeds go on to bless and provide for the land and it's people.