A mandala is a sacred circle, a concentric design that is found throughout the world as a religious symbol for wholeness, integrity, and eternity.
Mandalas are found in nature. Black Elk reminds us that the wind whirls. Birds make their nests in circles. The seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The earth is a living mandala. We find ourselves on a round planet moving in a circular orbit around the sun. Snowflakes are mandalas.
Children learn to make scribbles in a circle at about age 3. Drawing of mandalas is spontaneous, untaught and performed by children of all cultures.
Religious places use circles to understand God. There are Gothic rose windows in churches that invite and dazzle the eye and invite the viewer into a sense of harmony, awe and exaltation. Medieval churches have a circular labyrinth on the floor. There are outdoor labyrinths in this area.
The mandala is a representation of the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Performing the symbolic journey helps the Christian move closer to the mythic Jerusalem, which is a metaphor for union with God.