The mandalas in this series arose 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 see a discussion among the gods and goddesses on Olympus, but I cannot recall what was said. [The quotations here are from my e-mail correspondance with Carroll Bishop about these mandalas and the imagery associated with them]
This fiery explosion, it seemed to me, needed a container of some kind. I began to draw mandalas on May 2 in an effort to respond to the explosive force of my dream. The process began with an image sent to me by Carroll Bishop:
I'm getting the image now of a circle of ice—ah, it's three-dimensional, it's an igloo—the latest form of Temenos [this is a reference to an e-mail list to which Carroll and I subscribe, among other things]. There's a hole in the floor, like an ice-fishing hole, in the center, and we're lying around it and looking down—fire below, the seething volcano.
Here is my response:
The image of Temenos as a half-sphere (igloo) has been in my imagination. I see it atop a cylinder which rises from the ground inside a pyramid, knocking the four triangular sides of the pyramid flat on the ground, where they resemble compass points. The Temenos expands to include the new configuration, and in the center is my four circle configuration, which now has become an opening deep into the earth. This became a very clear image of a round building (typo here, also budding) with vertical walls and a domed ceiling/roof. There was a protective guard rail around the four circle configuration, so one could approach and look into the opening, but not actually get into it, this was necessary because of the depth of the opening. The floor of this building was a mandala, although the design was not clear to me, except for the outer ring, the usual running spiral design, and the four circle configuration at the center. I begin to think of the running circle design as the temenos circle, providing the structure to contain the transformations within.
This lead to a new mandala drawing for me in which the four circle configuration contains the fire of the explosion in my dream. A container for that powerful and potentially destructive energy. So the four circle configuration becomes the opening for the up-welling of the magma and the container which keeps the eruption of energy from becoming destructive.
Here is the first fire mandala:
Recently (about three weeks after my dream) I came across the following passage in Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections:
Suddenly I caught sight of a red stone, a four-sided pyramid about an inch and a half high...I knew at once: this was the altar [for the church in a miniature village which Jung had been building of stones]! I placed it in the middle under the dome [of the miniature church], and as I did so, I recalled the underground phallus of my childhood dream...(p.174)
A sequence of drawings followed which I described to Carroll on May 4.
My fire mandala finally reached the end of its transformations. Essentially there were three steps (other drawings were involved).
The first mandala [reproduced above] has four equilateral triangles around a square. The north triangle is white, the east red, the south yellow, the west black. These are in a circle of medium blue, the points of the triangles touch the circumference of the circle. The square is deep blue, inside this is a simple circle, and inside this is the four circle figure, filled with fire. This represents the moment of the first eruption of the temenos which flattens the pyramid shape.
In the next mandala the temenos circle (running spiral design) surrounds the medium blue circle, and the four circle figure overlaps the sides of the square into the four triangles.
In the last mandala, the fire-filled four circle figure nearly fills the medium blue circle, only the tips of the triangles remain. I was relieved that the temenos circle was able to contain the expansion of the fiery four circle figure. Now I think it can subside to a more managable size.
My sense that I had reached the end of this sequence proved premature as you will see on the next page.