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Mandala Dictionary

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Name Definition
Name Definition
ANIMALS: as symbols are present in many cultures around the world, in mythology, religion and ancient wisdom. Some of these animals have meanings shared in different cultures, in Western as well in Eastern cultures of the world. Others have different meanings depending on their cultural context. Along with real animals, fantastic animal creatures such as the phoenix are used as symbols. Animals as archetypes represent the deep layers of the unconscious, as well as the basic instinct of people. As symbols animals may show cosmic forces. They can represent fear, hope, tension and other emotions. 
ARCHETYPE: an inherited tendency of the human mind to form representations of mythological motifs – representations that vary a great deal without losing their basic pattern…. C.G. Jung – Man and His Symbols 
ART THERAPY: the use of arts for therapeutic purposes. It is based on the concept that the combined use of traditional theories of psychotherapy and artistic expression (painting, drawing, dance, music, and drama) promote reconstruction of psychic conflicts and help to overcome them. Art and psychotherapy meet in the middle of the twentieth century after World War II. At this time people needed tools to explain the general disorientation and violence of the time. Art therapy combines in a single instrument the various tendencies of the postwar period: abstract art of Kandinsky, Pollock, De Kooning and interpretations of symbolic languages made by Jung and Freud. The development of this discipline stimulated the attention of psychiatrists toward works of patients with mental disorders. 
ASTROLOGY: in ancient times, it was important as astronomy. It was the discipline used for divination and prediction of future events. Today is used to study the stars and their position to create horoscopes. 
ASTRONOMY: the study of celestial bodies and sky phenomena. Along with astrology, it is a very ancient discipline, and in ancient times both were used by shamans, wise men, clergy and astronomers to decide the propitious times for the seeding and harvesting the crop, for organizing calendars, and for navigation tools. In the Middle Ages astronomy was one of Liberal Art, with Math, Music, and Geometry. All were the basic education for the “free” (from Latin meaning liberal) man. 
AYURVEDA:  comes from two Sanskrit words “ayur” meaning Life and “veda” meaning wisdom, and, therefore, could be translated as “wisdom of life”. It is a very ancient medical system, known since 1000 B. C., based on harmony and balance of body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda combines different approaches (lifestyle interventions and natural therapies) and as a holistic therapy, it improves the self-healing power of body with the help of senses, psyche and soul.  
CALENDAR:  the Calendar is an ancient instrument to measure time, seasons. In the ancient time it was used for the art of divination to decide the propitious time for the planning the social and natural events in community. Today we have the year based on the Gregorian calendar that is widely used. This calendar is basically a convention that starts on January 1st and ends on December 31 st which doesn’t really coincide with seasons. Lunar calendars are much more tuned to cycles of the year. Our calendar making a circle with four seasons, and then starts again. This circular and recurrent cycle makes calendar like a Mandala expanded in space and in time. The most ancient known calendar was found in the caves of Lascaux, in France. We have evidence that 20.000 year ago the Cro-Magnon primitives humans noted the moon phases in their cave drawings. 
CHAKRA:  a word of Sanskrit origin meaning wheel, whirl. Chakra, according to the Indian Eastern philosophies (Buddhism, Hinduism) and Ayurveda, is a center of power treated as an organ of the human body. It manages the transfer of energy (kundalini or prana) and contributes to the well-being of a person. Each Chakra has a Mandala or Yantra in the shape of lotus a flower. In Indian Philosophy it is the lighting of knowledge, with its own particular number of petals (4, 8, 10, 16), particular color and mantra. 
COLOR: is a symbolic universal language. Used all over the world from the origins of mankind. Each color has its own meaning, and use. Its meaning depends on the cultural context of each country where the color is used. The oldest known colors are “ochre”, yellow, red, green, blue, black and white. A research about the colors in language made by two American anthropologist of the Berkeley University - B. Berlin and P. Kay - showed that in each of the 98 languages studied has the concept of black and white. These are the only two known colors that have meaning and correspondent concept in all countries and for all people considered.  
COLOR THERAPY: indicates the ancient method of healing through the use of color. Color in cultures India, China, Greece, and ancient Egypt was known to have beneficial influences. It is still used for its ability to influence emotional states, as well as spiritual and psychological state of people. Colors correspond to specific vibrations and wave frequencies, and can affect the life energy that flows between Chakras. This energy flows adjusts the balance and health if the person. Each color has its own symbolic meaning. The use of color in healing is used in Ayurveda, as well as Crystal Healing and the Aura –Soma. Although the science community considers it a pseudoscience, it is undeniable that colors have long been used as expressions, and symbols of healing.  
DANCE:  is an ancient ritual to celebrate life and sacredness. Many traditional dances we know are done in circle including Sufi dance, Sun Dance of Native American, Jewish Dance, Thabal Chongba of Manipury. Even today, dance is a common tool used to pray, thank, bless. It is an important collective ritual in which people make a journey within themselves while being with others. 
ELEMENTS: are the basic foundations of creation. The number of Elements varies depending on the culture. In China there are five: water, fire, wood, metal and earth that coincide with the number from 1 to 5. Elements in China also correspond to space and time: North, South, east and West and Center. Finally this elements have an animal, a taste, a plant, musical scale and a planet. All this elements flux one in other and interact. For Greece, traditional elements are four: water, air, fire, earth. In all western culture these are the most popular elements. The philosopher Plato wrote in his book “Timaeus” a theory of the four elements, saying that each one of them transforms into another. From this theory derives the theory of “quaternary order” for the conditions of natural and human life. For example four seasons, four stages of the day (midnight to abbot, dawn-noon, noon-dusk, dusk-midnight), four stages of life (childhood, youth, maturity and old age) and so on.  
FENG SHUI:   is a Chinese phrase that combines two ideograms. Feng means wind and Shui means water. Wind and Water are two important element of Chinese philosophy. It is believed that these elements are capable of intervening on the environment and modifying it. Feng Shui is the art of living in harmony with the energy of nature. The aim is to create the same harmony and energy in the living and working environment. This practice was developed in China a very long time ago and is handed down from master to student. At the origins Feng Shui was used to choose a good place to build the tombs so that the ancestors sleep well near their descendants. Much later in time it was applied to the houses. There are different schools of thought, and it is very complex to understand the essence of Feng Shui thought. It is not a furniture style, and not a folkloristic superstition. It is the way that the Chinese people use to govern the habitat and spatial arrangement in their environment in relation to patterns of energy (Qi)..  
I’CHING: also called Book of Changes, the I'Ching is an ancient text of Chinese wisdom predating Taoism and Confucius. The I Ching was adapted to both of these philosophies over time. As a book of Chinese philosophy, it has commentaries that instruct the reader in a proper way of living in harmony with the way of nature (the Tao) and the way of culture (Confucius). The commentaries give rise to Hexagrams, six lines arrived at through counting sticks or stones in prescribed ways. Hexagrams, with their unbroken and broken lines, symbolize the union of opposites in cosmic forces, the union of the center with the periphery, male (yang) with female (yin), light and darkness, Heaven and Earth. 
MANDALA: a Sanskrit Word - meaning sacred circle. The Mandala can be a concentric symmetric structure within which plays a geometric design, a natural form (such as a flower), or a spontaneous artistic expression. The Mandala is a tool used in many cultures and in different fields, from medicine to religion, from psychology to art. It is seen as a tool to help recover harmony, peace and greater self-awareness.  
MANTRA: Sanskrit word derived from the union of manas (mind) and trayta (free). Mantra is a set of syllables or small words repeated for a number of times like a litany. Its purpose is to liberate thought. Mantra is not a prayer but rather a divine language. With its beneficial vibration, Mantra opens the door to knowledge and spirituality. The mantra most famous is surely OM. This mantra is often related to the 6th chakra, also known as the third eye.  
MEDITATION: is a concentration technique focused on spiritual matters. It is a tool to connect the human with the divine. The goals can be different: get in touch with one's own higher Self, to quiet the mind, to increase awareness, to reflect everyday life inspirations and influences of the spiritual world, and align body, mind and spirit with the cosmos. To obtain these results, there are several techniques. You can meditate by focusing on an object, an idea, a color, reciting mantra or short prayer, counting the numbers and focusing on respiratory rhythm. More active forms of meditation could include walking meditation, creating a mandala and contemplative dance. 
NUMEROLOGY:  is a mystical science that has its roots in myth, cultural anthropology, esotericism, magic, religion and philosophy. Pythagoras of Samos (who made trips to Egypt and Babylon) and the Jewish Kabbalah were the first sources which treated numerology. Numerology uses numbers as entities, archetypes and symbols that portray the relations among things and events according to a definite rhythm. All numbers have a specific function. 
RANGOLI:  is a traditional drawing that Indian women make with, white and colored rice flour. Preparation of rangoli often involves the whole family, becoming a part in festivals. Its structure follows specific patterns which are geometric or floral designs These designs are passed down through generations. The Rangoli shape is a half circle. It is traditionally placed in front of the houses on festival days as a good omen for guests, and, at the same time to keep out evil spirits. This art is known by different names in different regions such as "Rangoli"(in Maharashtra), “Alpana” (in Bengal), and “Kolam” (in South India). 
SACRED GEOMETRY: is the study of the relationship between numbers and space. This connection is represented by geometric figures, from the simple point (one), the triangle (3 points) or square (4 points) to the most sophisticated, the dodecahedron (with 20 vertices). . The relationship between the divine and the natural world is inherent in sacred geometry. The ratios, the golden section, pyramid, and pi are considered sacred and are used in the construction of temples, mosques, churches and religious sites. 
SANDPAINTING: the art of painting with colored sand. Sand is made from powdered crystals or rocks and natural or synthetic pigments are mixed in. Sand painting is widespread between the Navajo of the South West United States , Tibetan monks and Aboriginal Australians. Each one of these cultures uses sandpainting with different purposes such as religious or healing rites.  
SYMBOL:  “What we call a symbol is a term, a name, or even a picture that maybe familiar in daily life, yet that possesses specific connotations in addition to its conventional and obvious meaning.” – C.G. Jung Man and His Symbols  
SYNCHRONICITY: “… means a ‘meaningful coincidence’ of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’”. Man and His Symbols, Carl G. Jung 
THANGKA: Tibetan word formed from two words "thang" - unroll or open- and "ka" – show or exhibit. Thangka is a painting, but at the same time embroidery on a flat surface. This surface usually is a tissue of silk or cotton. Thangka is a banner of religious spirit. It is used in temples, in homes, and processions. It is equipped with wood dowels and rings that allow the transport and display. It has ancient origins, the first examples are found in Tibet. The preparation of Thangka is a long and complex process and requires the work of three persons: the "holy trio", a lama, a monk and an artist of Thangka. This is because the work follows a strict procedure and also requires a thorough knowledge of the symbolism and meaning of the scene. The Thangka has specific iconography of gods and natural scenes. It is influenced by cultural and spiritual traditions of the regions of its creators. In Nepal types of thangka widely used are two, and are influenced by China and Tibet. First is Palas and is characterized by images of deities and natural scenes. The second, dominated by geometric circles and squares, is called Mandala. Common to these types of drawing is profound mysticism and symbolic meaning. 
UPANISHAD: the collection of texts, in poetry or verse written between the years 1000 and 300 BC in India. The Upanishads address philosophical and religious topics. They are considered by many people commentaries on the Vedas. The word Upanishad means “sitting down near” and listening closely to the spiritual teacher. This practice highlights the reverence and adherence to these writings as the earliest sacred texts. Through their suggestions, Upanishads point the way to reach enlightenment in daily life by trying to live out the deeper meanings. 
VEDAS: Sanskrit word for "knowledge”. Vedas indicate the four sacred books that contain the tenets of the Hindu religious culture of India. The four collections are divided into these titles: Samhita Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-veda, Atharva-Veda. These texts consist of hymns, chants, sacred formulas (mantras), and are used as instruments of self-enlightenment that priests received in ancient times. The dating of these works is fixed between 2000 and 500 BC, making it one of the oldest literary texts of mankind and an important key to understanding the Hindu culture. In Western culture, the Vedas were spread through the works of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauerr and to this day continue to gain interest through the publications of the Spanish philosopher and theologian Raimon Panikkar. 
YANTRA:  word of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘tool’ or ‘medium’. Yantra is a Mandala with a geometric pattern sometimes accompanied by a diagram of symbolic and alphabetic figures. It is a figure of Vedic spirituality and is used to focus concentration and meditation. According to the Vedas, the Yantra has other qualities, like the solving of specific problems by improving the harmony in a home. 
Showing 27 items