Mandala comes in delicious cakes that has bewitched the hearts of crafters. A single ball works up into a scarf, a shawl, or a toque. The colors wind from one color to the next, and back again. Because of this, each piece has a totally unique coloration depending on which color and pattern you’re combining! But where did we get the name for this fantastical yarn? To find out more about the name, and the circles that inspired us, read on!
According to the University of New Hampshire’s Health & Wellness site, a mandala means “sacred circle” in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an ancient language of India. If you’re a yoga fan, you’ve probably heard a few Sanskrit words in class! The ‘sacredness’ of the circle comes from its prevalence in nature. Circles are everywhere, once we start looking! As a result of this natural symbolism, the idea of the circle has spilled over into our speech. Sayings like ‘coming full circle’, and ‘the circle of life.’ We use circles to build community: ‘circle the wagons’, ‘inner circle’, ‘circle up’. Most importantly, the express the whole.
Furthermore, Merriam-Webster Dictionary suggests that mandalas feature “multiple projections of an image.” This repetition within the image is an important aspect of their meditative quality.
Mandalas are used in many spiritual traditions. The Mandala Project describes a Christian nun from the 12th century, who drew mandalas to explain her visions. Another example would be the patterns in the stained glass windows of churches and cathedrals. The drawings of the ancient Aztec calendar are circular, and were vital to their religion. And in Buddhism, mandalas are used for meditation. Many cultures use circles to express our inter-connectedness, making drawings, paintings, and sand art.
The influential psychiatrist Carl Jung used mandalas with his patients, and developed many theories based on this work. He came to believe that “a mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of the self.” By drawing in this format, people could reveal their values, important moments in their lives, and their struggles. Drawing and coloring them is popular today as a form of art therapy. In addition, observing mandalas can have similar effects when used during meditation. While perceiving the details of a particular drawing, you can reach a meditative state more easily and more deeply.
We’ve all felt the calm of crafting wash over us, once we’re in the groove of a pattern and we’re stitching away. To enhance this meditative quality, we’ve created a yarn that changes color in your hands. It surprises the crafter with a fresh perspective, and comes to life in different patterns in ways that keep us on our toes! One crafter shared with us: “the color patterns make sense so the changes don’t seem so abrupt and the colors, even the brights, are still soft and gentle.”
Try coloring a mandala today! Whether you want to draw your own, or color a pattern, you’ll reap the benefits of creative time. For example, the act of focusing on a circle can be centering. A quiet activity like coloring can be calming, and provide a gentle opportunity for introspection. Also, your choice of shapes and colors can increase self-awareness about how you’re feeling and what’s on your mind.
Art therapist & psychotherapist Carolyn Mehlomakulu offers suggestions for mandala-making and patterns to use.
If you’ve got a cake or two of Mandala waiting for inspiration, wait no longer!
If you’re a long-time Mandala fan, we’d love to hear your favorite colors, or see photos of a favorite Mandala project? And if you’re new to Mandala, let us know what you’re thinking of casting on first.
We’ll be spending a little quality time coloring this week, let us know if you will, too!