Right now, I spend a great deal of time operating in circles. I think in circles, move in circles, dance, draw, & breathe in circles. I create new circles, consider what I can do to sustain existing ones, and now here I am– writing in circles, too.
This is not a process mainstream First World culture values. We want results. We want to start at Point A and get to Point B as fast as possible with quantifiable results. Keep it clean. Yes. No. Black. White. This end or that of whatever polarity spectrum is in question. Measurable gain or loss. The End. But couldn’t we work in other ways? Aren’t some of us already working those ways? How long have women, in particular, been engaged in this circular dance?
The short answer? Centuries.
We take the word “mandala” from the Sanskrit language and apply it cross culturally now when we talk about sacred or meditative circular designs. We use it to describe rose windows in medieval European cathedrals, Medicine Wheels of Indigenous North American traditions, megalithic standing stones in Celtic landscapes, symbolism in Aboriginal Australian art, Tibetan sand paintings, Carl Jung’s daily sketching, & the reemergence of the Labyrinth as a ritual tool. But what does this word mean, really?