“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
The beauty of ephemeral nature art is that it can teach us that not everything we value has to be material. Not everything we create has to be taken home or even returned to. The process of making art is fulfilling enough to be the focus at times. Creating ephemeral art teaches us about the impermanence of life and nature. More than an image seen with our eyes, ephemeral artwork is an actual moment in time.
Similar to a mandala symbol, a nature mandala is also an “integrated structure organized around a unifying center.” It is a circular and non-permanent symbol using patterns to represent the circle of life. They are made with organic materials found in nature.
In this experiential talk, we explored that with nature mandala. The invitation was to connect to the ground, feeling the grass and dew drops on the feet while we walked mindfully. The participants gathered leaves, flowers, twigs and seeds etc. to create their own mandalas. While there were some who had no idea how a mandala should look like and they created their own versions which was absolutely perfect in the moment.
3 Easy Steps to Making a Natural Mandala
- Step 1: Collect Your Materials.
- Step 2: Organize your Materials by Size.
- Step 3: Choose a center point and work your way out. This is open-ended and can evolve as you go.
Sharing stories and reading poetry while experiencing human connections and presence was the essence of this session.
Working with mandalas, nature and poems forms a huge part of my practice when I facilitate group sessions using Expressive Arts therapy.
Like Jung stated, “It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation.”
No wonder, I like many people have always been drawn to mandalas. In another session, I facilitated for the community of Umur Kharejiya of Bharauni sect was a beautiful exploration of self discovery and reflection. The participants reflected on our connection with the Earth with a nature mandala, explored and made space for the opposites or dualities in our lives.
When a mandala symbol is created with things found in nature it is meaningful, because it recognizes our connection to the earth and all its living things. Creating a nature mandala is a great time to help us slow down. This allows us the space and time to intentionally express gratitude for our earth and all its living things. The cyclical pattern helps us remember that everything is connected. The patterns of a nature mandala represent the cycles and rhythms we find in nature. This give us the chance to observe natural patterns like seasons, moon phases, the tides, and life and death.