I usually don't carve for a swap without doing a bit of research about the subject matter at hand. For the Mandala swaps (I'm in both Blank & White as well as Colored), I wanted to know the roots of mandalas. Here is what I found:
- Mandala (Sanskrit maṇḍala "essence" + "having" or "containing", also translates as "circle-circumference" or "completion", both derived from the Tibetan term dkyil khor) is a concentric diagram having spiritual and ritual significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism.
- In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts; as a spiritual teaching tool; for establishing a sacred space; and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
- In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective.
- In the Zohar (Kabalah) it is written, “There exists no circle in the world which is not made from within a single point which is located in the center…and this point, which is located in the center, receives all the light, illuminates the body, and all is enlightened.” The Star of David symbol is a common motif found in mandalas.
- Mandala-esque forms are prevalent throughout Christianity: celtic cross; rosary; halo; aureole; oculi; Crown of Thorns; rose windows; Rosy Cross (although most of these were not actual christian "artifacts", they were only implemented after the dark ages of Constantine); dromenon on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. The dromenon represents a journey from the outer world to the inner sacred centre where the Divine is found.
The carved mandala above is a little unorthodox, in my view. It was designed by an artist that goes by the moniker 'Sue Doodles'. I really liked the airy and carefree feel of the lines. Besides, it was fun to carve. *smile*
For the colored swap, I'm going to tackle the Jedi Council Floor...I'm really looking forward to that. Now, just to find the time...