On September 9, 1997 I drew Four Mandoorlas. The misspelling of mandorla was deliberate, a reference to my Four Doors mandala. In this drawing I began to explore the interior of the four circle figure I dreamt of in July of 1997.
In the Four Doors mandala I pictured the doors as links or bridges from the outside of the temenos circle toward the center. In Four Mandoorlas I sensed a movement from the center outward. I also saw them as inner doors and rebirthways.
The mandorla drawings arose during an e-mail discussion of the Romanian poet Paul Celan and the German artist Anselm Kiefer I shared in with Carroll Bishop and Colin Garvie. Much of Celan and Kiefer's work deals with the Holocaust. During our discussion of almond and mandorla, I came across Robert A. Johnson's chapter on the mandorla in Owning Your Own Shadow. He linked mandorla with rainbow, and I began to see the four rainbows of my dream mandalas flipped over so they intersected to form four mandorlas.
While drawing the mandorlas, I had an impression of them as boats. While doing some research I found that a mandorla which is composed of the overlapping area of two circles with a common radius is called a vesica piscis, related to vessel, and so to both container and boat. This image of the vesicae as boats suggested a two-fold movement to me, journeys from and back toward the center. One of the meanings of vesica is a distilling vessel. I liked these associations, and began to think of my mandorlas as vesicae.
The deep blue pool which appears in the center of Four Mandoorlas, appears in quatrefoil form in this mandala, Pavanis:
The mandorlas are born from this pool and borne upon it. This close connection with water gave me the idea of calling them vesicae aquarius. The temenos circle has changed slightly, the intertwining figures are now based on an underlying pattern of overlapping circles.
This mandala I called Crucible:
Here the vesicae are related directly with my Crucible Dream and my Dream of Four Circles. The fiery balls have moved closer to the vesicae.