I drew this mandala in the days leading up to the winter solstice in 2017. (You can see a larger version by clicking on the picture.) It seemed to anticipate the turning of the year. I had during the preceding month completed my web page on The Grail Mandala (the mandala itself was drawn in July). I also began to work on a redesign of Four Circles and to create some new areas in my web space. This process seemed to have been set in motion when I had the following dream.
Dream of October 30, 2017: I’m driving in a foreign country, when I notice a tree to my left, there is something striking about it and I also see a pregnant woman to the right of the road and this configuration, me, the woman, and the tree, brings on a powerful feeling of déjà vu. I pull over and get out of my car. I’m somewhat past the tree, I look back over my left shoulder at it, then as I turn back to my right I see two cattle that are facing the tree as if they recognize something sacred about it. There are, perhaps, other people here, too, facing the tree in addition to the woman I seemed to recognize. I feel uncertain if their adoration is directed at the same tree that seemed so striking to me, and I glance at it again to try to figure this out, then I continue to turn until I face the woman. I’m drawn to the fabric the clothing she is wearing is made of and I take the garment in my hands and stretch it out. There is something marvelous about the fabric, small gold rectangles against an indigo background. I still have this strong feeling of familiarity. But then I notice to her right (my left) a man who is dressed in clothing made of the same marvelous fabric and I have the sudden realization that he and the woman are a couple, the child his, and I have been too familiar by taking the fabric of her garment in my hands. I see his face, he is Asian, maybe a flicker of growing displeasure there, but I fall to my hands and knees and press my forehead to the ground at his feet, to try to show that I meant no disrespect. This gesture begins with a feeling of slight insincerity, but as my forehead touches the ground I feel complete sincerity, and his attitude toward me shifts, becoming more friendly. Following this scene, an image of two pieces of this same marvelous fabric like wall hangings, one has an indigo background, the other a deep red (maroon) background.
I felt some dissatisfaction with The Grail Mandala, and I began to imagine a new mandala, which became The Twilight Mandala. I also felt a pull to look again at the image below, Four Lights.
In this image light radiates from the cusps of the quatrefoil toward the horizon. This idea that something goes out from the quatrefoil to the “four corners of the world” is a recurring theme in my work with mandalas. In The Twilight Mandala this idea takes a new form.
In The Aurora Consurgens Mandala I placed rainbows around the four arcs of the quatrefoil with a white disc representing a pearl under each. These elements came from a dream I had in June, 1995: I see four rainbows, each with a luminous orb just below the apex of it’s arc. I clearly sense the sun behind me creating the rainbows.
Then in the spring of 2008, as I was listening to some music, I imagined floating down and passing under the arcs of four rainbows. As I passed under each rainbow I “picked” a pearl suspended there, like a fruit.
Here was an image of “harvesting” the pearls which had been suspended inside the quatrefoils of my mandalas. In The Twilight Mandala the four pearls have gone out along the path of the rays of the quatrefoil to the “four corners of the world” and take their places like stars in the twilight sky. This process is anticipated in the clearing mandalas, I believe.
The image of a void at the center of the mandala first appeared in The Quatrefoil Mandala.
A dream from January, 2009 seemed to refer to this: I see glass, energy from the right comes into the glass and it glows with color, the color changes several times, then the glass turns perfectly clear and I find myself looking into blackness.
I began to see the rainbows as also representing the energetic process in which a procession of colors clarifies the glass so the void can be revealed. And I have recognised in this image an allusion to 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV), “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…”
Now the void has become an empty space like a blank sheet of paper, rather than a void like space. The face of the void changes from empty to blank.
As I look at The Twilight Mandala, it takes on a three dimensional appearance, somewhat like a bowl. And I’m reminded of the orphic bowl I came across in the summer of 2017. Here, it seemed, was my citrinitas bowl. The gold ring around this mandala again represents the crucible of gold in my dream during October of 1995. I have begun to think of “mandala” as an inner container and the process of development unfolding within it, which drawing (my cooperation with the process) makes visible to my conscious self.