Designed by Ioanna Skaltsa
Material: Elements found in nature (leaves, branches, flowers, shells, etc)
– Explore the oneness with nature
– Be creative
– Express and discover new perspectives
Overview: This activity collectively connects the natural elements with the art of Mandala.
Background information for the trainer
The Sanskrit word “Mandala” translates to “circle”. Mandala is also a ritual symbol of the universe, the cosmos, the wholeness. This simple shape, with all points equal around its centre has given humans a metaphor of the infinite. The cosmic circle, the snake biting its tail and the sphere whose centre is everywhere are all mandalas, as well as the brightly coloured guides for meditation we recognise from the East.
- The group meets in a circle and the facilitator explains the meaning and the symbolism of mandala. He or she explains that they will work together to create a mandala out of natural elements, symbolising and enacting our connection with nature. They will work together in silence.
- The group is divided in 4 smaller groups and scatters around the area gathering natural elements in order to create a mandala related to the topic (connect with nature). The intention is to collect things only by moving them from one place to the other, without cutting or destroying anything.
- The participants start moving slowly with consciousness and they observe their connection or their invasion to the natural world. They start looking for elements exploring the energy in them, their story and their strength.
- The facilitator reminds the teams to respect the elements they find and when they collect them from their original place, they are encouraged to thank them.
- Once they have collected everything they need, they meet and without speaking they start creating a mandala with the elements of the Earth, trying to add another perspective other than what they had in mind when they first chose them.
- When they finish they spend some time talking about their mandala and reflecting. In the end, the groups offer the mandala to the place that hosted them as a gift.
Questions for reflexion
What happened during the making of the mandala between you and the group, and between you and nature?
What would you do differently if you could do it again?
What did you learn from this activity?
How are you going to use it in your everyday life?
You can ask the participants to bring natural objects from home, which they can also add to the mandala. It is an opportunity to appreciate them in a new way, perhaps from a new perspective.