The Test of Fire

I drew a series of mandalas in response to a dream I had on May 1, 1997:

I dreamed some time in the wee hours this morning of a fiery explosion tearing people apart. This scene was repeated one or two times. This was followed by a scene in which I witness a discussion among the gods and goddesses on Olympus, but I cannot recall what was said.

In these drawings a quatrefoil represents the fire of the explosions in my dream—a powerful and potentially destructive energy. Like compass points four triangles indicate an orientation relative to the four quarters of the Pantapolis walkway. And like arrows they point out that what is threatened by this explosive energy is the temenos circle—the one of the various mandala elements that involves people.

In this mandala, the fire-filled quatrefoil nearly fills the blue circle, and I was relieved that the temenos circle had survived the expansion of the fiery quatrefoil. And perhaps the Olympian deities look on to see if these new configurations can withstand a fiery test.

On May 5th, I began a new series of mandala drawings which carried on the process. At the beginning of this sequence the fiery center makes contact with the perimeter ring. The critical moment has arrived. This contact produces a profound change in the image of the temenos circle. In place of the running spiral design, I now drew an intertwining figure. I added four red “rays” between the quatrefoil and the temenos circle.

And the colors of this temenos circle change to reflect those of the wall and doorways of Pantapolis in The Quatrefoil Mandala.

I introduced the crucible of gold imagery in the final mandalas, and at last I found the container for the fiery image. In the last mandala, which appears above left, the quatrefoil receeded a bit, no longer pressing outward against the temenos circle. No rupture occurred, which seemed possible when I was in the middle of the sequence. The red “rays” establish a connection between the quatrefoil and the temenos circle, allowing energy to pass from the quatrefoil to the temenos circle in an undestructive way. The temenos circle returns to its original colors, and enough energy is released to allow the quatrefoil to receed—a balance has been established.

I felt a tremendous sense of urgency while making these drawings. Finding the right container for this fire felt crucial. Fortunately the quatrefoil and the crucible imagery seemed to provide a suitable container. But what was the judgement of the gods?