Tuesday, September 9, 2014

my year of mandalas

The following post is my contribution to The Mandala Blog Hop, a collective sharing of mandala love and goodness sponsored by the magically creative and inspiring artist/writer/teacher Andrea Schroeder of Creative Dream Incubator.  Andrea is launching her course The Mandala Journal on September 15.  To read more about her offering and to find links to other bloggers celebrating the mandala, just click HERE and down the mandala rabbit hole you will go!

A year ago, I began my mandala moon play ... 

It is a monthly practice in which I create a mandala exploring the seasonal/life lessons encompassed by each month's full moon. I like to explore the traditional and Native American names for each month's moon, taking into account how those seasonal and symbolic names shed light into my own human and spiritual journey. 

Initially, I began my practice by creating a group of fellow mandala makers. This container - and the six month commitment to creating it! - forced allowed me to root this practice into my routine.  It only recently occurred to me that as I am in the thick of perimenopause, I've lost connection to monthly rhythms (my moon cycle being regularly irregular now) but this practice has helped me stayed tethered to a consistent rhythm and pace. 

I wanted to strengthen my connection with Nature, to slow time down if you will by paying closer attention.  Paying attention to what is happening around me and within me, perhaps to notice the relationship between my inner and out worlds.

So starting with the Harvest Moon in September 2013, I began my journey: 

Harvest, Full Corn, Brown Bear Moon

My process varied month to month.  As the new moon approached, I would familiarize myself with the various names for that month's moon, noticing which one resonated with me at that time.  Sometimes I created the mandala at the beginning - on or around the new moon - and then would write my intentions or reflections for the coming month.

Other times, the mandala might appear, but the teachings of that month - the journaling portion of the process - become clearer to me around the full moon or even at the end of the cycle when the moon was waning, emptying as it prepared to begin the cycle anew.

Blood Moon

It was important for me to stay flexible and open in the process, witnessing how it wanted to flow.  As I've learned through much much practice, the time to be disciplined is when I need to show up - get butt in chair and draw, paint, create - and the time to be gentle is in allowing what arises in that session to manifest without judgment, releasing expectations as best I can.

Full Freeze, Beaver Moon

A year is a long time to commit to something (believe me, with 5 other year-long projects/practices under my belt, I've learned a lot about my way in this process!) and there are moments of pure magic, mixed in with the pure drudgery of doing something/making it happen. 

Cold Moon

But flipping through the work that spans all four seasons - Autumn through Summer - that is when the power of this process makes itself known. (I used a large, watercolor Moleskine journal to keep all of my mandalas in one place; I love having this Book of my own mandalas, my own journey.)

Wolf, Quiet, Earth Renewal Moon

Rest & Renewal; Cleansing Moon

Worm Moon

Budding Trees, Pink Moon

Full Flower, Frogs Return Moon

Strawberry, Deer Moon

Stag Moon

Ripe Berries, Sturgeon Moon

I admit, I was excited to think I've done it ... I've finished the year ... now I can stop! But looking through my journal, reading each month's intentions, the questions I posed myself, the nuggets of personal insight unearthed, it all makes me curious to see what next?

Each month is vivid, rich in re-membering all that has taken place.  I can't always appreciate the growth, lessons, integration until I have it piled up around me.  Now I have the opportunity to witness my unfolding within the images and the writing and such a gift I cannot so easily dismiss. During the year,my Mandala Moon journal is like a traveler's inn, a resting spot, a space to revive and refresh and regroup before trudging on.  With each completed mandala, my journal becomes like a collection of the songs shared by fireside, a mug of ale in my hand, lending color and light to the places of darkness. 

And so, this fellowship continues ...

Happy Mandala Making!

Thank you Andrea for inviting me. Don't forget to visit the other bloggers sharing their magical mandalas - full list can be found HERE.

If you are intrigued by the notion of a committed practice or if you have struggled with sustaining any kind of regular practice - be it creative, spiritual, or self care - I am offering The Gift of Practice my 6 week online course starting September 22. I love helping others re-frame what Practice means, what it looks like and how it can be a portal to inner growth, discovery and transformation. For more information hop over HERE.


  1. These are so beautiful Lisa! I'm inspired! I bought a mandala "coloring book" a million years ago and never got into it. I see that many people are doing this practice now and I wasn't moved until I saw yours.
    Also, just wanted to share the fb page of a lovely woman reiki master / shaman medicine practitioner who always posts lovely things at the time of the full moon. Like or friend her. You won't be sorry. Much love to you

    1. thank you! I will definitely check this out! So happy to know you've been inspired to create mandalas of your own! xo

  2. This is a beautiful idea of rooting the mandala process in natural cycles and seasons! Like Vicky, I have a mandala coloring book (and I love it - I originally bought it to use on long plane rides but I use it in daily life as well). But I hadn't drawn a mandala until today, when I saw Andrea's blog hop article. I practice unfolding within natural growth so your idea speaks straight to my heart. Thank you!

    1. How exciting! On this Harvest Moon, you are gathering new tools :) Happy mandala making ... it truly is a transformative - and fun! - process and practice. xo

  3. How lovely Lis! Really incredible powerful mandalas!

    1. It's a beautiful practice and a wonderful way of moving in deep with the teachings, the medicine of nature and the cycles of the year. Thank you for stopping by on the hop :) xo

  4. So beautiful, Lisa! I love them all so much!

  5. lis!!! these are amazing. i love this practice so much. just wow.

  6. Thank you for sharing your mandalas. They are so beautiful, Lis!! You are incredible, talented and inspirational <3. xoxo

  7. Such a meaningful practice. I like the fluid watercolour unstructured look of your mandalas so full of meaning.