A mandala is an abstract design which is used as a focus for concentration and meditation by a creative artist. The mandala depicts the essence of an artistic concept; by meditation on it the artist concentrates his inspirational faculties which are subsequently released into form through painting, sculpture, or whatever medium the artist uses for his expression.
The astrologer is an interpretive artist whose essential mandala is the design commonly known as the natural chart. On a wheel, place the symbols of the zodiacal signs on the cusps in regular sequence, starting with Aries on the cusp of the Ascendant, Taurus on the second, etc. Then the symbols of the Sun, Moon, and planets are placed in the signs and houses of their dignity: Mars in Aries, first house; Venus in Taurus and Libra second and seventh houses; Mercury in Gemini and Virgo, third and sixth houses; Moon in Cancer, fourth house; Sun in Leo, fifth house; Pluto in Scorpio, eighth house; Jupiter in Sagittarius, ninth house; Saturn in Capricorn, tenth house; Uranus in Aquarius, eleventh house; Neptune in Pisces, twelfth house.
The design resulting from placing these symbols around, and in, a circle containing twelve equal sections is considered by the writer to be the greatest mandala created by the mind of man. It is the composite symbol of the vibratory nature of the entity we call humanity. The horoscope calculated for the incarnation of any human being is a variation of this mandala; the same essential elements are found in all horoscopes of human beings, qualified in calculations only by the specializations of date, time, and place of birth.
This "Great Mandala," as we shall call it, is a composite symbol of such magnitude and complexity that the imagination reels in contemplation of it. It might be well to create the mandala, step by step, from its beginning:
Use a sheet of blank paper, calculate the exact center and place there a dot. This dot is the symbol of the Consciousness which makes possible the manifestation of a galaxy, a solar system, or the incarnation of a human being. It is the essential symbol of "being-ness" on all planes.
Through the dot, lightly draw a vertical line the entire length of the paper; this line represents the dynamic, energizing principle of Nature--the symbol of cosmic generation, "being-ness" in the process of taking form, the essential symbol of male sex. Now draw, lightly, a horizontal line through the dot across the entire width of the paper; this line is the subjective aspect of "being-ness," the essential symbol of Form itself, the female principle of Nature--that which is energized or acted upon. The picture thus far represents a radiation from a central point-- Consciousness, a composite of the dynamic and subjective principles, the essential lines of force by which manifestation is made, the cross-pattern which stands as the eternal symbol of "beingness objectified." This much of the design--a geometric abstract--can be called the basic mandala and can be utilized for meditation by all astrologers. It is the skeleton of all horoscopical structure, the picturing of the Fatherhood-Motherhood of God and the essential symbol of cosmic sex which results in physical manifestation.
There is an indefiniteness about the appearance of the basic mandala described above; the lines from the central dot can extend off the paper indefinitely--thus an impression of chaos or formlessness is conveyed. Since manifestation (incarnation) serves the purpose of evolution, and evolutionary forces always require specific forms as their instruments, we now take the next step to create, in our basic mandala, a field for evolutionary purposes.
With the point of a compass on the dot describe a circle, the circumference of which will, of course, twice intersect the dynamic-vertical and horizontal-subjective lines. Since all points on the circumference of a circle are equally distant from the center we now have created, symbolically, a perfect field designating an instrument for evolutionary forces; each of the four sectors of the circle are equal to each other in area, as are the lower and upper hemispheres to each other and the two lateral--or vertical--hemispheres to each other.
Now erase the light lines outside the circle, intensify the circumference of the circle and the vertical and horizontal lines within. The result may be called the "Mandala of Incarnation." Its form is definite--an enclosed thing in which certain specializations of evolutionary forces can work. This Mandala of Incarnation may be used as a focal-point for meditation from two standpoints: (1) from within-out; and (2) from without-in. The astrologer must so elasticize his interpretative ability that he never loses sight of the spiritual significance of any chart he studies.
(1) From within-out: The creative Will of God expressing through a specific manifestation for evolutionary purposes; the essential spirituality of all manifestation; the God-spark inherent in the consciousness of each and every human being radiating into every factor of the individual's experience.
(2) From without-in: Divine Love and Wisdom overshadowing and interpenetrating every point of manifestation; manifestation being "enclosed within the Divine Arms and always in sight of the Divine Eyes;" the human being looks into his consciousness to find the source of his conditions and the channels for his best expressions; he turns in to become aware of his powers and potentials; his consciousness is reflected by his outer condition--the radiations from the Center--but the Center remains eternally the source of all that he experiences. The "Life" of a horoscope is within the circumference, not outside of it; so we do not find our essential solutions outside of ourselves but in our particular expression of the Eternal Consciousness and our ever-growing awareness of it.
Simple though it appears, the circle with its division into quadrants by two straight lines is a mandala of enormous complexity. If we consider that the circle itself is activated in being bisected by the horizontal line, the two hemispheres which result from this bisection are themselves undifferentiated and unactivated; their activation is made possible by the vertical line.
Each bisection symbolizes the Cosmic Principle of Duality--two-in-one-ness. "Dynamic" and "Subjective" are found to be inherent attributes of any part of any manifestation. As such these two words, in composite, are expressed by the word "sex" when made in reference to Life incarnated. Sex, activated, is generation and regeneration--the "on-goingness" of Life. Either of the two pairs of hemispheres, in juxtaposition, result in the composite One; neither of whom can represent Life functioning creatively without the frictional ignition of the other pair. For meditation, sketch circles in which are represented these bisections individually; each pair of hemispheres can be taken to represent an expression of cosmic generation.
The flat, two-dimensional representation of the quadrated circle is now to be given, abstractly, additional dimension.
The Mandala of Incarnation is an essential matrix; but incarnation implies expression of that matrix in physical form. The terms length, height, and depth are usually thought of as three different expressions of physical dimension. When we consider that all physical manifestation is three dimensional we realize that length, height, and depth are three attributes of one essential dimension--the dimension of physical manifestation. Each of the four quadrants of the Mandala of Incarnation is a specialized level of Consciousness and, correspondingly, of experiences. Since experience is reflected in the dimension of physical manifestation and interpreted by consciousness, we will apply the principle of three dimensions in one to the Mandala of Incarnation.
From the center of the circle, or by four more polarity diameters, subdivide each quadrant into three equal sections. This action is the twelve-fold division of the wheel which we use as the environmental houses of the horoscope. The three dimensions of each sector are not length, height, and depth, but are in terms of signs, dimensions of consciousness reflected by the houses as dimensions of experience.
The dimension of the first house of each quadrant (first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses) is the statement of Being--the "I am": first house, I am an individual; fourth house, I am an individual aspect of an entity called family group or family consciousness; seventh house, I am one of the two factors of an intensely focused emotional relationship pattern; tenth house, I am an individual aspect of the entity called humanity.
The dimension of the second house of each quadrant (second, fifth, eighth, and eleventh houses) is possession of emotional resource by which the life of the previous, cardinal, house is sustained. Second house: My physical life is materially sustained by the exercise of my consciousness of possession or stewardship and by exchange with other people; fifth house: my family consciousness is sustained by releasements from my resource of creative love; eighth house: my relationship consciousness is sustained by transmutation of my desire forces through the exercise of my love consciousness in emotional exchange with my complements; eleventh house: my identity as an aspect of the universal entity, humanity, is sustained through the exercise of my spiritualized, impersonal love consciousness.
The dimension of the third house of each quadrant (the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth houses) is the impersonal distillation of the previous two houses. Third house: intellectual faculties by which I identify the world of forms; sixth house: my creativity expressed as service to life through my best as a worker; ninth house: wisdom--spiritual understanding--distilled from the regeneration of desire through love relationship; twelfth house: my consciousness of serving universally, my needed redemptions from the past incarnation which have impelled the present one, degree of cosmic consciousness distilled from the perfect fulfillment of all responsibilities through spiritualized love.
The triune dimension is expressed in reference to the wheel as a whole by the "grand trines"--the equilateral triangles formed by connecting the cusps of (1) the first, fifth, and ninth houses; (2) the second, sixth and tenth houses; (3) the third, seventh and eleventh houses and (4) the fourth, eighth and twelfth houses. These trines pertain, respectively, to the four elements: (1) Fire: Spirit; (2) Earth: Consciousness of evaluation of forms; (3) Air: Identification and relationship consciousness; (4) Water: emotional responsiveness--the principle of sympathetic vibration.
Here are suggested a few basic mandala patterns:
(1) Twelve wheels, each of which has the signs on the cusps in sequence, each with a different ascendant; each of these mandalas may be utilized for meditation on the cardinal, fixed, and mutable crosses, the fire, earth, air, and water trines, the fire-air and the earth-water sextiles.>
(2) Planetary environmental mandala--a planetary principle expressing through a particular house--can be found in ten groups of twelve wheels each: each group pertains to the placement of each of the ten planets (Sun, Moon, and eight planets) in each of the twelve houses, leaving out the placement of the signs.
(3) Planetary vibrational mandalas can be created by wheels with the signs on the cusps--placing the planet under consideration in each of the twelve signs and studied regardless of house position.
(4) Synthesis of groups 2 and 3: mandalas for meditation on Ascendant rulership: twelve wheels, with signs in sequence, for each of the ten planets as ruler of the ascendant--the ruler to be placed in each of the twelve houses.
(5) Elaboration of number 4 in terms of meditation on the Ascendant ruler by its placement by sector: (1) houses 1, 2, and 3; (2) houses 4, 5 and 6; (3) houses 7, 8 and 9; (4) houses 10, 11 and 12.
Simple and complex mandalas can be abstracted from any natal horoscope. Here are a few suggestions by which the student may concentrate his synthesizing ability:
(1) From a given chart, abstract all dignified planets into a wheel with the natal sign positions on the cusps; meditate on the placement of these concentrated vibratory essences in terms of their house rulership, house placement, and sector or quadrant placement.
(2) From a given natal chart, abstract any specific square or opposition and any one of its regenerative agencies (a planet making a trine or sextile to either one of the afflicted planets); meditate on this mandala from every possible standpoint that will open your consciousness to the clues of alleviation for the afflicted pattern.
(3) Suggest abstracting the Saturn mandala from every natal chart that is studied by placing Saturn and all the planets which aspect it in a wheel with the natal signs on the cusps. Interpret Saturn as the principle of responsibility fulfillment, and meditate on its significance in the chart from all approaches.
(4) The most important of all mandalas abstracted from a natal horoscope are those which pertain to the twelfth house. In composite, these give the clues to the whys and wherefores of the present incarnation. Suggest a mandala to be applied to a natal sign cusp wheel for every single factor pertaining to the twelfth house of the natal horoscope: sign, house, and sector placement of the ruler; vibrational and environmental placement of each planet aspecting the ruler; each condition pertaining to any planet in the twelfth house, and, last of all, a mandala composed of the signs on the twelfth cusp and the ascendant and the placement of their planetary rulers.