Psychedelic mandalas have become very popular in recent years, and can currently be found in a wide range of artforms. From coloring books to tapestries, wall art to napkins, these fascinating designs seem to resonate with many people. While many find this style of artwork visually appealing, very few are aware of the history and tradition of psychedelic mandalas.
Mandala as a Form
The word “mandala” originates from a Sanskrit word meaning “circle.” Mandalas represent wholeness within life, and remind us to remain centered within our lives, our communities and the greater world. A mandala is visually represented by a circle-within-a-circle motif, in which elements are organized around a central core. This structure can be found throughout the natural world. A few examples of mandalas in nature are:
- the cells of the human body
- the structure of flowers
- a cross section of fruit
- the whorls of a shell
- a spider’s web
- the Milky Way galaxy
Psychedelic mandalas are featured in many types of New Age or “hippie” artwork. One of the most commonly recognized types of psychedelic mandala is tie-dye, in which a central pattern radiates into a circular shape, often using bright colors. Psychedelic mandalas have been around far longer than New Age or hippie trends, however.
Mandalas are believed to have originated in the practice of Hinduism. Tibetan monks have long created mandalas made of sand to represent the impermanence of human life. After years of study, monks painstakingly create mandalas using colored sand and principles of geometry. Once perfected, these works of art are destroyed to remind us that life is not a fixed, permanent condition.
Contemporary Psychedelic Art
Today, psychedelic mandalas can be found in a number of different forms. Mandala tapestries, once a central trippy decor element for every self-respecting hippie, are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. These tapestries are made from virtually every type of fiber, from cheap jersey cotton to the finest woven silk. Designs range from brightly colored abstract to intricately detailed styles. Some designs resemble the interior of a kaleidoscope.
Psychedelic Mandalas in Fashion
Psychedelic mandalas are also used in fashion design. Here again, the applications range from the most basic of T shirts to haute couture pieces that are works of art in and of themselves. Shoppers who are enamored of a bohemian anesthetic will find no shortage of psychedelic mandala patterns to choose from, on everything from dresses and tunics to outerwear and accessories.
Psychedelic Mandala Coloring Books
One way that many people have discovered psychedelic mandalas is through the current trend of adult coloring books. These books can be found in any bookstore, and are also offered for sale in a wide range of other retail outlets. Many focus exclusively on mandala patterns, and allow the user to create his or her own color combinations. Research suggests that coloring can be an excellent source of stress relief for adults. Practitioners of art therapy often integrate mandalas into the therapeutic process, and find that clients gain comfort from the centering, meditative power of this tradtional form of art.
How to Purchase Psychedelic Mandala Art
For those who would like to integrate psychedelic mandala art into their lives, some very basic advice is offered. As with any other type of art, individuals should select pieces that speak to them. Instead of focusing on finding the “right” mandala pattern to work with one’s existing decor or wardrobe, the focus should be on choosing mandalas that simply “feel” like the right match. Fortunately, psychedelic mandalas are very popular of late, and can be found in a number of both conventional and surprising applications.