Wednesday, March 22, 2006


One of Carl Jung's mandalas

I’ve been drawn back to Carl Jung lately, and his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Maybe you can tell from my blog title that I connect with Jung (synchronicities ~ Synchronizing). I am fascinated by his exploration of the inner world and the idea of synchonicity, that there are no coincidences, and that a Greater Power is at work in our lives. I also love his focus on individuation and our "personal mythology," the ways we each develop our own story and the symbols we find that have significance in our lives, and the ways we connect with universal archetypes.

Mandalas were something Dr. Jung discovered in 1916 when he painted his first one. "Mandala" means "circle" in Sanskrit.

Jung wrote a lot about these "maps of the soul": "The goal of contemplating the processes depicted in the mandalas that the yogi shall become inwardly aware of the deity. Through contemplation, he recognizes himself as God again, and thus returns from the illusion of individual existence into the universal totality of the divine state." (from Concerning Mandala Symbolism. C. G. Jung.trans. from "Uber Mandalasymbolik,"Gestaltungen des Unbewussten (Zurich, 1950)

Another Jung mandala

Within a couple of years, he began to explore his psychological condition based on circular drawings he did in his notebook. He could see his self, his whole being, at work, coming to the surface in the mandala he drew and painted.

Exploring Web sites, I found this one for instructions for making mandala images with Adobe Photoshop. If you’re interested in playing with this, give it 30-60 minutes your first time, unless you’re proficient at Photoshop. It's a blast!

The one I did first to practice, from the Web site, using the painting "Yellow Sweater" done in 1919 by artist Amedeo Modigliani

The one I made froma photo of my Paul Klee painting

For me, who loves working with color, this is very therapeutic! And of course it will be different every time, even if you use the same photograph or painting to start with. I look forward to using this as a meditative practice now that I know the steps and can do it easily.

I don't seem to have a circle tool on my Photoshop, but I would have made this a circular mandala if I could. I guess that's like saying a "circular circle." Oh well.

Thank you, Ginnie, for all your help posting the photos! Blogger is just not cooperating these days, which is why I haven't posted since last Friday.


Ginnie said...

Oh my, Ruth! I will definitely have to try this for myself. Mandalas have been important to me for a long time and I have colored many, especially Native American ones. Very therapeutic indeed. But doing it in PhotoShop will be a new experience. I'll let you know what I come up with :)

Ruth said...

Great! I look forward to seeing what you choose to manipulate. It's all about color, and shapes too, so I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Sometime you'll have to show me your colorings too.

Rachel said...

Yes, I have been missing your blog! I am glad you're back! I really enjoyed those pictures, and the philosophy of Jung- I had never heard that before. You have definitely created a curiosity in me- and I'm going to have to find out more:) Thanks!

lesleyanne said...

very very cool mammas.
i love the second one you did.

Ruth said...

Rachel: Happy exploring! I encourage you to start with Memories, Dreams, Reflections, which is his autobiography, mostly about his inner journey. We need to talk in person! These snippets just aren't enough.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Les! I love the colors in that one too. Think you'll try it? In your spare time? :)

Anonymous said...

Color can create so many feelings and emotions. I want to go and explore this just to see what kinds of colors affect me in what ways.