Mandalas and Mazes


I have been thinking a lot about Mandala’s and Jung’s use of the Mandala.   There is a lot of suggestion like that the western artistic tradition incorporates elements of the mandala.  I have been thinking about this a bit, and the only place it is really applicable to talk about western Mandalas is with Mazes or Labyrinths.

When I think about a labyrinth I think of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Minotaur is hidden in the center of the labyrinth – the shadow, the darkness, the unspeakable monster, the other – that is inside all of us.  Theseus enters into the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne’s thread – he can follow the thread back to exit the labyrinth.   When we go into our unconscious we should not get stuck there permanently. What are the tricks and tools to help us come back and to integrate what we have learned.

What is the thread?  There is this relationship between weaving and memory, or time. The fates weave, Penelope weaves and keeps the memory of Odysseus alive. Weaving is a historical art and a logical art. You must make one weave before you make another and they build up on each other. Much like writing is a historical and logical art. And of course there is the relationship between text and textile.    Weaving is created historically but can be read ahistorically (acausal) as a painting, where writing is always experienced as logical and historical (causal).

This is in contrast to painting or pottery. These are spacial arts that are both ahistorical or alogical in their production and their apprehension. I can paint a little on the top left of the canvas then on the top right – there is no linear way I must proceed.  These arts are also experienced acausality  or ahistorically.

It seems I have lost my way in the maze and must find the thread again to return to the concept of the Mandala and the Maze.


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