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Jung and Mandala

Mandala is a graphical representation of the center (the Self at Jung). It can appear in dreams and visions or it can be spontaneously created as a work of art. It is present in the cultural and religious representations.

Jungian mandala - picture
Jungian Mandala - click the picture to enlarge
Examples of mandala can be found in all the ancient cultures. We find it in Christianity under the form of frescos with animal images representing apostles (and the zodiac). The astrologic zodiac and its versions are examples of mandala. Also, in the Indian spiritual practices we find fascinating examples of mandala, with symbols of the local pantheon.

In the yoga practices mandala can be a support for meditation or an image that must be internalized through mental absorption. This image organizes the inner energies and forces of the practitioner and puts them in relationship with his ego.

Generally speaking a mandala is a geometrical form - a square or a circle - abstract and static, or a vivid image formed of objects and/or beings.

In our dreams the mandala indicates the phenomenon of centering of the ego in relation with the totality (of the psychic wholeness).

In modern dreams mandala can be a sophisticated electronic device: an electronic watch or a sophisticated circular machinery. Often the UFOs seen on the sky or in dreams are also mandalas.

Chiristian mandala - picture
Christian Mandala - click the picture to enlarge
Other mandala images can be circular fountains, parks and their radial alleys, square market places, obelisks, buildings with a circular or square shape, lakes, rivers (radial water networks).

In the Jungian therapy, which includes the recognition and the conscious integration of the contents of the collective unconscious, the spontaneous drawing of mandalas is used.

There are a lot of illustrations that testify this technique practiced by Jung himself.


Carl Jung about mandalas:

My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of self which were presented to me anew each day. In them I saw the self - that is, my whole being - actively at work. To be sure, at first I could only dimly understand them; but they seemed to me highly significant, and I guarded them like precious pearls. I had the distinct feeling that they were something central, and in time I acquired through them a living conception of the self. The self, I thought, was like the monad which I am, and which is my world. The mandala represents this monad, and corresponds to the microcosmic nature of the psyche.

[...] When I began drawing the mandalas, however, I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, all the steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point - namely to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that tae mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation. (From Memories, Dreams, Reflections , Vintage Books, 1989, p.196.)

Resources (must read):

- More about Jung and mandala may be found in his book Psychology and Alchemy, chapter 3 of part II, The Symbolism of the Mandala.
- Jung has dedicated an entire book to the phenomenology of the UFO,
Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies . Chapter two approaches the meaning of ufos seen in dreams.
(Click the books titles to order these books from

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