Exploring Mandalas

Jan 12, 2014
Om Mani Padme Hum (partial) 2010, acrylic on burlap by régine verougstraete

Om Mani Padme Hum (partial) 2010, acrylic on burlap by Régine Verougstraete

The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community. (MandalaProject)

You can “express yourself individually within a unified structure” during SPACE Arts Center’s Sacred Art workshops starting Thursday, January 23rd.

Gouache on paper, acrylic on fabric, and collages may be used to compose the “shapes, colors, lines, and symbols that create an overall impression of unity.” You’ll even have the aid of “Sacred Geometry.” The concept that God created the universe according to a geometric plan goes all the way back to ancient times and certain shapes and numbers were considered to have sacred and mystical meaning.

Plutarch wrote, “Plato said God geometrizes continually.”

Carl_Friedrich_GaussCarl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), the “Prince of Mathematicians,” stated it as “God arithmetizes.”

The workshop begins with gentle music and a short guided meditation before creating begins. The class is led by Belgian-born—and 19 years a Los Angeles resident—Régine Verougstraete. She says that she creates art work as a prayer, writing pages of mantras drawings to help integrate them within herself and mandalas as a mirror to her spiritual landscape.

“When I am in the flow, I don’t work with my head but directly from the heart. The head has judgments, expectations, fears. The heart is connected with who I truly Am. A clear heart is my best artistic tool.” (Excerpt from an interview about Régine’s channeling work at

Hildegard von Bingen, a Christian nun in the 12th century, created many beautiful mandalas to express her visions and beliefs.

Native American medicine wheel, Bighorn Range, Wyoming (details here)

Native American medicine wheel, Bighorn Range, Wyoming (details here)

In the Americas, Indians have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas. The circular Aztec calendar was both a timekeeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs. Both Navajo American Natives and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.

Monks making sand mandala at UCLA's Hammer Museum

Monks making sand mandala at UCLA’s Hammer Museum

In Asia, the Taoist “yin-yang” symbol represents opposition as well as interdependence. Tibetan mandalas are often highly intricate illustrations of religious significance that are used for meditation. (MandalaProject)

Sacred Art – Exploring Mandalas with Régine Verougstraete
Begins Thursday, Jan. 23rd, 7-9 p.m. (6-week series)
SPACE Arts Center, 1506 Mission St., South Pasadena 91030
Fee: $240; materials, $15 (register here) or call 626.441.4788

Sacred geometry information obtained at

Mandala (below) by Régine Verougstraete:

regine IMG_0164

Cultivating the Cosmic Tree by Hildgegard von Bingen

“Out of the original source of the true Love in whose knowledge the cosmic wheel rests, there shines forth an exceedingly precise order over all things. And this order which preserves and nourishes everything comes to light in a way that is ever new…”

Hildegard of Bingen





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