Twelve Mandalas and their Explanatory Text

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1 Aries — Stonehenge, Solunar Observatory

Stone circles built over a period of time, approximately 2400 BC. Attributed to the Atlanteans, Phoenicians, Druids, megalithic mound builders, Giants, Queen Boadicea or Merlin, although none are likely except megalithic builders. Its geometry and orientation suggest its use as an astronomical observatory, ritual place and spiritual centre of megalithic Britain. The circles, built at different times, are subject to varying geometries and are nested within each other exponentially, like planetary orbit rings.

Taurus-Great Pyramid

2 Taurus — Great Pyramid, Astronomical Temple

Stone monument supposedly built approximately 2170 BC, although it is almost certainly housands of years older. It also functioned as an initiation temple, astronomical observatory, calendar, and standard of measurement canon for Ancient Egyptian surveying, weights and measures. The square and circle, and astronomical considerations determine its form, location and position of interior passageways and chambers.

Gemini-Memory Theater

3 Gemini – Memory Theatre, Vitruvius, Palladio, Dee, Fludd

The classical Greek amphitheatre described by Vitruvius was an image of the world. Four equilateral triangles inscribed within a circle reflect zodiacal structure. Palladio's 1567 reconstruction is here adapted to the magical memory theatre ideas of Dr John Dee and Robert Fludd, as presented by Dame Frances Yates. The memory art produced a specific correlation between the audience, actors and sets which was also used in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Cancer-Jain Cosmos

4 Cancer — Jampudvipa World Diagram, Jain Cosmos

Western Indian Jain world diagram from the 17th century. This schematic representation of the universe shows the regions through which the individual soul passes in approaching liberation at Mount Meru at the centre. The concentric rings are layers of space, time and matter which determine our fates and indicate the proper actions necessary for spiritual release. The archetypal realm is identical with but nested within the realm of incarnation.

Leo-Figura Intellectus

5 Leo — Figura Intellectus, Magicosmic Mnemomandala

This mandala correspondes to a diagram drawn by Giordano Bruno from the 16th century. This meditation figure synchronizes the operations and structure of the intellect and spirit with the divine astrological order of the cosmos. The image provides a matrix for information that indicates their magical correspondences and permutations. This diagram is also a solar/lunar calendar rotating with the seasons, showing the entire yearly cycle as a synthesis of opposed but reconciled forces.

Virgo - Sri Yantra

6 Virgo — Sri Yantra, Hindu Mandala

Hindu yantra diagram of the 17th century. The divine powers and their relationships are shown as linked triangles surrounding the mysterious matrix bindu point in the centre. The lack of images allows the initiate to distil and concentrate being and consciousness in preparation for unification with the Godhead. The upward triangles are male/yang, while the downward triangles are female/yin — they balance in the center.

Libra-I Ching

7 Libra — I Ching, Squared and Encircled

Ancient Chinese oracle and book of wisdom from the Second Millennium B.C. The I Ching Book of Changes is a divinatory system based upon the permutations of yin and yang energies in nature and humanity. The sixty-four hexagrams are transitional states which are shown around a circle and within a square.

Scorpio-Mahakalachakra Yantra

8 Scorpio — Mahakala Gonpo-Magpo Chakra, Tibetan Buddhist Mandala

Tibetan Buddhist Tantric mandala of Mahakala, the Great God of Time, dancing with his female consort within the sacred precinct of the four elements. This eternal dance symbolizes the recurrent creation and destruction of the Universe by the powers of Time. They dance upon the sacred lotus of becoming.

Sagittarius-Aztec Sun Disk

9 Sagittarius — Aztec Calendar Wheel, Precious Fire Serpents

Stone carving 13 feet in diameter from 15th century Mexico. The Sun Disk is both a calendar and historical-mythological record of the Aztecs. The sun in the center and is surrounded by four seasons and eras, twenty day names, penetrating rays and two great fire serpents, representing the cosmic energies and the recurrent mechanism of time. This reconciles the cycles of sun, moon and venus in one beautiful figure.

Capricorn-Tree of Life

10 Capricorn — Kabbalistic Sephiroth, Tree of Life

Medieval Hebrew mystical diagram. the Kabbalah is the mystical language of the Hebrews, and the Tree of Life organizes its correspondences. The ten spheres are pure numbers and the twenty-two paths connecting them are letters of the aleph-beth, the whole leading the initiate from the ignorance of Malkuth at the bottom to the Crown of Kether.


11 Aquarius — Astrology, Cosmic Geometry

Astrology is the most ancient science and mantic art based upon the correspondences of the Cosmos and Humanity. Astrology integrates astronomy, medicine, mathematics, geometry and psychology and lies within most mystical traditions and religions. The structure of Astrology is the relationship between the circular movements of the planetary bodies and the squares and triangles which relate them.

Pisces-Chartres Rose Window

12 Pisces — North Rose Window, Chartres Cathedral

Leaded stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral built in 1145 A.D. This rose window displays the principles of Christianity through images of the Virgin held by her Mother, surrounded by Doves of Spirit, Kings of Israel and Twelve Prophets. The mysteries of the Church are transmitted by the images, colours and geometrical relationships to both the simple and the wise.

All images and descriptions © A. T. Mann 1976