The Mandala – Photo by Leah Schroeder
I had the opportunity recently to participate in a Shamanic Creativity Workshop. It was an incredibly beautiful experience. During the course, I was guided to create a Mandala, and to write about the process as this creation evolved. Each element of the Mandala and each segment of the insights written below followed periods of meditation, reflection or moments of inspiration. The journey to create this piece and the insights gained during this creative process are more significant than its completion.
It felt important to me that the elements used in the creation of the Mandala were for the most part earthy elements. The base, on which the Mandala is taking shape, is bees wax, poured into a pan. I have used soil, flax seed, black beans, lentils, pearl barley, chamomile, lavender, wild rice, pepper corns, coarse salt, rosemary, split peas, and whatever else fits with the images forming in the Mandala.
And so the journey with the Mandala begins.
At the center, where this journey begins, lies some seed. This is the place from which all growth happens. This represents my soul – the essence of who I am at the core. Everything broken down to the most basic form is energy, and so, this center also represents this source energy – the flow of life.
The roots are the challenges that life brings. The spread and depth create the foundation and strength that shape who I am. This image was inspired by the words of a kind friend, Kara Johnstad,“You are growing very deep roots… watch out… spring is right around the corner:) “Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
Lower part of Mandala – Photo by Leah Schroeder
It is not surprising then, as this Mandala takes its shape, the lower half of this creation is mostly roots, and they go deep and wide. The roots make their way down to the core of the earth, to connect with the flow of the earth’s energy.
The silver tap on the left releases a steady stream of water that flows across the Mandala, above the roots and around the centre. This represents being “in flow” with life and spirit, surrendering, letting go. It also speaks to my deep connection with water, the power of the current of the river that always finds a way to continue to flow, around or through any attempts to block it. It provides the nourishment to the roots that feed any growth above the surface. The sound and movement of the flow of water create peace and calm. Water is cleansing and healing, and clears the way for new growth.
The dragonfly, an elemental spirit that I am deeply connected to, represents transformation, and looking below the surface to discover deeper meaning. I surround myself with images of dragonflies in my home. Seeing dragonflies in nature is always a confirmation of the direction I am moving, or a reminder of my connection to and the presence of the divine. The path I have taken over the past few years has deepened the connection with dragonflies to the point that when some people see dragonflies or images of dragonflies, it reminds them of me. When sharing these images with me, my connection to them and to Spirit is also strengthened.
The road, the winding path, flows upward to the top of the Mandala. It expands the flow of energy upwards to connect with Creator, and with the universal flow of energy that will move around and flow back up through the roots. The path is never ending. Only part of the path in front of me is visible. As I move forward, the next segment of the road ahead begins to reveal itself, but only as I am ready for it.
The orange area represents the sacral chakra. This is about creativity. It weaves its way through various images in the Mandala as Spirit and creativity flow through every aspect of my life.
Photo by Leah Schroeder
The yellow rose with the two musical notes represents a blossoming or emergence and learning to sound my voice; that with my voice there are gifts to be shared with the world. The colour yellow symbolizes the Solar Plexus. It signifies feminine power. This is about discovering and embracing my own sense of personal power.
The trees stand tall along the path. They represent personal growth. They are also about the growing connection I feel to the Earth. The green leaves are about embracing life as I continue forward on my path. They also are the colour of the heart chakra. As I continue to open my heart and learn to live from my heart, my capacity to love expands.
The hands with light emitting from them represent healing hands connecting with and receiving energy from Creator, symbolized by the image of the sun, and flowing with energy to facilitate healing in others. It also represents the power of human touch and our connection to each other.
Photo by Leah Schroeder
To the right of the trees above the dragonfly, swimming down from the top of the mandala, is a dolphin, one of my power animals that bring both wisdom and a reminder to play and enjoy life. The lavender colour, may represent any of or a combination of the throat, third eye, and crown chakras. The throat chakra, a blue colour, represents communication and self-expression. The third eye, indigo, signifies intuition. The crown chakra, violet in colour, symbolizes spirituality and oneness with the divine.
To the left of the trees flies an eagle. The spirit name I have been given is Yellow Eagle. When I was given this name, I was told the Eagle represented love and kindness. It was also a reminder to care for and honour myself, so that when I care for others I give from the overflow of energy and resources I have instead of depleting myself. The Eagle is also a symbol of strength, courage, healing and grace. It is about rising above the physical world to connect with Creator.
To complete the Mandala, the last segment added on the left side of the circle, below the eagle, lies a deer. As I have shared before, when given my spirit name, I was told I am part of the Deer Clan. During Shamanic work, the deer introduced itself to me as my primary power animal. I have since had many connections with deer in various ways. The deer is a symbol of gentleness, unconditional love and kindness. The deer reminds me to walk gently through this life, touching others with love and compassion, and honouring my connection with all things.
Although this Mandala is complete, my story is not. The flow of energy represented through the Mandala, continues to flow and expand. It is infinite. During the Shamanic Creativity workshop, which led to the creation of this Mandala, I was shown a circle with a dot in the center. The circle represented the Universe. The dot was us. As we continue to go inward to connect with our inner light, and grow in love, that dot grows – we grow, and our fear of the world around us diminishes, until one day we have expanded to become one with the Universe.
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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and a Financial Representative. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 47 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working in Financial Services for the past 16 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges has led me to begin practising Reiki and ThetaHealing®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”