Tuesday, July 15, 2008
EXPLORING MANDALA SYMBOLOGY
Inner Landscape Mandala - (Reflection Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - shrubbery
Angeles Arrien is a cultural anthropologist who wrote a book in the early 90's called Signs of Life. She wondered if all cultures had common symbols in their art and what meanings were attributed to them. After seven years of study she discovered that five basic shapes appear in the art of all cultures: the circle, square, triangle, spiral and equidistant cross.
From this research Arrien developed a Preferential Shapes Test as a tool for self discovery. I first took this test in the mid '90's and found it spot-on. If you are interested in trying this yourself, this is what you do:
After drawing the above shapes on a piece of paper, rank them according to preference. Do not spend a lot of time thinking about the order.
At this time in my life my preference ranking is 1) square 2) triangle 3) spiral 4) equidistant cross 5) circle. I know my preferences are different now than they were10 years ago (as they should be). I do remember at that time the square was in last place. The rest I don't really remember.
This mandala started out being about using the square as the primary shape in my mandala, but then it morphed into the equidistant cross!
Don't worry. In the days to come I will explain more about what Arrien ascribes to
the ranking and meaning of these shapes.