Spiritual traditions are part of the human DNA. Despite all the good arguments coming from atheism, the presence of an invisible world has been a belief shared by human beings from the time they began walking on their two legs to discover the world.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, eastern spiritualties have won a clear popularity among people eager to lift the veil on religious mysteries. For the Theosophical movement, for example, Tibet, the Himalayas, and India were places where Spiritual Masters were supposed to live. The mystical center of the world and the mysterious subterranean city called Agartha were in the Himalayas. Buddhists and Hindus perpetuated advanced techniques of meditation and the development of inner powers. Meanwhile in the Western World, monotheistic religions continued to control the minds of Westerners by imposing religious dogmas, shaping a strong hierarchy of powers descending from God, to the Pope and Cardinals (Priests), then to Kings, and then the people. Monks kept a kind of independence vis-à-vis the religious establishment. Occult groups perpetuating Hermeticism, Theurgy, Kabbalah, and the Rose Cross tried for hundreds of years to keep the ancient Western Traditions alive. Some of these occult groups are still alive, and I have the privilege to be the head of two of them, the Aurum Solis and the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose Cross. Learning Western Philosophy and esoteric traditions helped me develop the ability to recognize hidden messages left by ancient initiates.
Speaking about messages, we are often thinking about ancient books, parchments, secret codes, etc. In fact, art and architecture have been a wonderful way to pass down such an ancient heritage coming from a time before the rise of monotheistic religions. Most of this heritage is often hidden in plain sight, and it is wonderful to still be able to decipher it. The main difference between Eastern and Western traditions has been this concealment of esoteric teachings. This is also one of the reasons why Buddhism and Hinduism have become so popular. One of the most obvious subjects that links spiritual practice and art has been mandalas, the most famous of which are authentic Tibetan mandalas. As you may know, they are symbolic representations of the universe. The belief is that this beautiful artwork is not a simple drawing or sand painting, but the representation of a spiritual vision that can be seen also as the reflection of our inner world. The process of creating it in a specific way, using prayers, mantras, and visualization while mixing pigments and painting it, creates a performative artwork. This results in a real invisible power that can act as a catalyst of energies capable of modifying your state of consciousness. What I mean is that you can just look at an authentic mandala made according to the occult rules, and you will experience a complete spiritual experience. An authentic mandala is multi-dimensional. It exists in this world as a beautiful piece of art, but it should be seen also as a gate to the spiritual world, symbolically illustrated. A meditation will allow you to go from this world to another on a real shamanic journey. Of course, knowing the pronunciation of the mantras, the names of the divinities, and the secret words of power may help. However, I can assure you that just being in the presence of such a mandala is capable of modifying the energy of a place and consequently affecting your state of consciousness. It could be surprising to know that such symbolic representations of the universe are not limited to these Eastern traditions. I can give you two examples among many. The first one can be found in the tradition of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States. The Hopi and Zuni tribes have developed a specific kind of painting that has exactly the same purpose and process as the Tibetan Mandalas. In the Western world, various kinds of symbolic representations of the Universe can be found in religious buildings: ceilings, stained glass, and pavements. In The Hidden Mandala Coloring Book, that has been just published, I chose to focus on the latter. While traveling all around the Mediterranean world, I have been surprised to see a real continuity in the patterns used by the masters. From the early Roman world to the Renaissance and beyond, we can easily recognize similar interlacing. Even if the purpose was not the same, we can see such designs in the Celtic and Gallic arts.
Of course, we can find mosaic floors with human and animal representations. However, labyrinths and other interlacing constitutes a very rich symbolic language. Mathematics and geometry have been used for these creations. In the introduction of this coloring book, I talked about the symbolism of numbers and shapes. While traveling in Italy with my wife, who is a talented mosaicist, I took hundreds of photos of these ancient pavements, some of them partially destroyed. Then I recreated the original patterns, completing the missing parts. Doing that has been very rewarding. I realized even more deeply the purpose of the numbers and the interlacing. There is a real connection between our minds, our souls, and these symbolic patterns. Every time we use them, whether by drawing or coloring, our heart begins to slow down, our blood pressure decreases, and our mind reaches a state of balance and peace. Hundreds of coloring books have been published in recent years. I can assure you that coloring stars, flowers, angels, or unicorns has no effect whatsoever on your state of consciousness. Of course, someone doing that will be more relaxed only by the fact that he is focusing on an artistic activity and avoiding the usual daily stress. Using symbolic patterns that have been inherited for ancient masters is totally different. Anyone can feel the difference after a few minutes of coloring.
As I explain this process, I am looking at a few designs that are in this coloring book and I want to give you right now the opportunity to begin your inner experience. I just chose for you a representation of one of the mosaics that comes from Ravenna in Italy. The numbers are important in this pattern. To access, simply join the public Hidden Mandalas Facebook Group; once you've joined the group, you will be able to download this mandala in a PDF format. This sample is slightly different from the one you will find in the book itself, but the symbols and numbers are similar.
After downloading the mandala and printing it on heavy paper, you can prepare your coloring time and proceed. As a suggestion, I would like to give you a short ritual process you can use for this one.
Choose eight beeswax candles and natural incense. You can choose the latter in relation to the Egyptian God Thot (Djehuti), who is also called Lord of Khemenu. Place your chair facing east, along with the table you will use for coloring the mandala. Your colored pencils and pencil eraser should be ready on the table.
Stand up and declaim:
"Thot, noble Ibis, I call upon you!
Light the eight candles from the right (south) to the left (north).
Sit and color the mandala. I recommend coloring this specific one from the center to the exterior circle. If you do not achieve the mandala in one period, you should use the opening again, to declaim the hymn.
When your coloring process is achieved, you can proceed with the closing.
Stand up and declaim the following prayer of closing.
"O Eternal, we have known thy light supreme, which can be seen only by the spirit. We have understood thee, O Life of Life, O Thou who bring all into being. We have known in thee the eternal permanence of all nature. O God, let this hymn, this whole-hearted adoration, be an expression of our love.
Then extinguish the candles.
I would like to finish this article by an inviting you to send in your colored mandala to the Hidden Mandala Facebook group, either by scanning it or taking a photo of it. On February 1, 2017, I will open an online vote for your artistic interpretations of this Italian mandala. I will personally send a copy of my signed Hidden Mandala Coloring Book to the person who colored the mandala selected by your votes.
Once the book has been released, I invite you to continue to post your colored mandalas in the same Facebook group. We will also have the opportunity to post information about mandalas, to have discussions, to share Western Mandalas, and more.
I wish you a very good spiritual and artistic journey in this amazing world of Western Mandalas.
Jean-Louis de Biasi is an author, lecturer, and philosopher. He is also a certified yoga teacher practicing several branches of yoga for more than forty years. He has been initiated into the highest degrees of several ...