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What is a mandala?


  • a circular figure representing the universe (in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism)
  • a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity (in Jungian psychology)

A few years back now, when I embarked on mosaicing my beloved long table, I stumbled into the use of circles (mandalas). I didn’t plan (at least I wasn’t conscious of the decision) to go down a path of circles, yet that is where I landed.

And now, I am absolutely hooked.

As I determined each circle size, the colours and pattern, I became more and more intrigued with the symbolism of mandalas and of course how the compilation of circles come together to create the overall beauty of the finished piece.

In the words of C.G. Jung, such events are not mere coincidences but what he called synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence.

Synchronicity, said Jung, ‘is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.’

The meaning of circles, the symbolism of mandalas in my design is something I don’t believe I consciously started but am now very conscious of.

Mosaics and mandalas provide meaning. Meaning is something we arrive at, in our own time.

The Magic of Mosaics

I started with creating a border; a frame for my mandala story.

This has become part of my signature design.

Then I pick colours. I am drawn to colours and patterns rather than it be a conscious decision. Although the more I do, the more I am able to articulate, therefore determine consciously why colours with patterns work.

I do however, spend many hours cutting tiles, placing them, picking them up again, cutting new tiles until I determine it is right.

This is personal, but I am learning that it’s art. It is part of the creative process and you can’t rush creativity.

The components of a mandala tell a story; then the combination of many mandalas tells a bigger story.

Apart from the finished product being a beautiful piece, in my case a beautiful table, it is a very pleasant experience sitting around it just looking at the patterns. Some you are drawn to, more than others!

This second pic is a round table, so I am framing a mandala story into a mandala shape.

Again, I frame the story with a border.

I created 2 similar round tables but placed the mandalas differently.

On one table I created more unique circles and on the other I overlapped the circles, which creates a 3-d effect.

The meaning of each mandala can be derived and different for each of us, and that is the beauty (excuse the pun).

It is the beauty contained within the beauty.

Let’s have a go.

Let’s create a story.

I have picked the red framed mandala with a sun or star as shown below:

The mandala components

The red border determines passion.

The six point object is referred to as a hexagram and is steeped in meaning (apparently). I didn’t have an affiliation with a hexagram but I do like the look and now the symbolism. A six-point star can mean love – life – loyalty – knowledge – wisdom – understanding.

Given it is surrounded by green (grass – earth) triangles (the power of 3, holy trinity, ancient wisdom, mystic-ness, an energetic gateway, the sacred feminine – masculine energies, resilience – as it is self supporting) and immersed in yellow (sun – energy); a story does unfold.

I had a friend come visit (first time to my place) a few weeks back. Almost as soon as she stepped out of her car she remarked ‘oh my … you are surrounded by triangles.’ I seriously had never really noticed but I knew when I first stepped foot onto my property, I had to have it, it ‘felt’ right.

The story of the hexagon mandala

To look at this mandala, is to see: a blue (calm) hexagon, depicting love, life, learning (knowledge), grounded and resilient, immersed in the glory of the sun’s energy and surrounded by passion.

What a story? What do you think?

Swing by for OPEN SHED on any Saturday and let’s chat about mosaics?


Experience the magic for yourself and enrol into the Magic of Mosaics: beginner workshop.


Bring your own table and create your own table top full of magical mandalas.

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