Jung and Mandala
Mandala is a graphical representation of the center (the Self at Jung). It can appear in dreams and visions or it can be spontaneously created as a work of art. It is present in the cultural and religious representations.
Examples of mandala can be found in all the ancient cultures. We find it in Christianity under the form of frescos with animal images
representing apostles (and the zodiac). The astrologic zodiac and its versions are examples of mandala. Also, in the Indian spiritual practices we find fascinating examples of mandala, with symbols of the local pantheon.
Christian Mandala - click the picture to enlarge
In the yoga practices, mandala can be a support for meditation or an image that must be internalized through mental absorption. This image organizes the inner energies and forces of the practitioner and
puts them in relationship with his ego-consciousness.
Generally speaking a mandala is a geometrical form - a square or a circle - abstract and static, or a vivid image formed of objects and/or beings.
In our dreams, the mandala indicates the phenomenon of centering of the ego in relation with the psychic
wholeness. It is part of the
individuation process as described by Jung in his works.
In modern dreams mandala can be a sophisticated electronic device:
an electronic watch or a sophisticated circular machinery. Often the UFOs seen in the sky or in dreams are also mandalas.
Other mandala images can be circular fountains, parks and their
radial alleys, square market places, obelisks, buildings with a circular or square shape, lakes, rivers (radial water networks).
In the Jungian therapy, which includes the recognition and the conscious integration of the contents of the collective unconscious, the spontaneous drawing of mandalas is required.
Jungian Mandala - click the picture to enlarge
There are a lot of illustrations that testify this technique practiced by Jung himself.
Carl Jung about mandalas:
In 1938, I had the opportunity, in the monastery of Bhutia Busty, near Darjeeling, of talking with a Lamaic
rimpoche, Lingdam Gomchen by name, about the khilkor or mandala. He explained it as a dmigs-pa
(pronounced ''migpa"), a mental image which can be built up only by a fully instructed lama through the power of imagination. He said that no mandala is
like any other, they are all individually different. Also, he said, the mandalas to be found in monasteries and temples were of no particular significance because they were external
representations only. The true mandala is always an inner image, which is gradually built up through (active) imagination, at such times when psychic equilibrium is
disturbed or when a thought cannot be found and must be sought for, because it is not contained in holy doctrine. (Psychology and Alchemy, Princeton University Press, 1993, paragraph 123.)
It seems to me beyond question that these Eastern symbols originated in dreams and visions, and were not invented by some Mahayana church father. (Psychology and Alchemy, Paragraph 124.)
It is not without importance for us to appreciate the high value set upon the mandala, for it accords very well with the paramount significance of individual mandala symbols which
are characterized by the same qualities of a - so to speak - "metaphysical" nature. Unless everything deceives us, they signify nothing less than a specific centre of the personality
not to be identified with the ego. (Psychology and Alchemy, Paragraph 126.)
- About the mandalas drawn by Jung (related to the individuation process) click here
Further Resources (must-read):
- More about mandala may be found in Psychology and Alchemy, chapter 3 of part II, The Symbolism of the Mandala. You may purchase this book from Amazon.com:
- Jung has dedicated an entire book to the phenomenology of the UFO, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. Chapter two approaches the meaning of UFOs seen in dreams. You
may purchase this book from Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2BR6glN.