Mandalas in the High School

At the outset of the year the sophomore and junior classes undertook a three week block of study of the mandala form. Mr. Baker, our new School Administrator, led this course; initially working through a series of technical exercises with colored pencils that touched upon color theory, freehand drawing, patterns and different types of symmetry. For those students who had been a part of our elementary grades and middle school, the skills explored in the artistic geometry blocks from years ago were rekindled, with classmates turning to each other to offer support in the development of different geometric constructions.

In working with the mandala form, students were encouraged to consider depictions of the microcosm vs macrocosm, and how to express dualism using everything from complementary colors to seemingly contradictory symbolic imagery. The mandala's visual connection to the architectural plan of Buddhist stupas was shared, as well as other evidence of the circular form being used for spiritual purposes in cultures across the world.

How can a visual depiction promote healing? How can it depict something universal, or even something formless, through the use of recognizable objects? These prompts guided each student's efforts, and in grappling with them, very individualized designs emerged.

The results were nothing short of spectacular, and have been on display in the High School Great Room for the past few weeks. They will remain exhibited through the end of this week so if you find yourself on campus please take a few moments to stop in and see these beautiful images-- perhaps they will inspire you towards your own moment of quiet contemplation. . .

For more information about the ideas and intentions that shape the mandala study in Waldorf schools we invite you to read Mandala: The Encircling Round Holds Sway by Van James on Waldorf Today.

A sampling of Mandalas created by 11th and 12th grade students.