Les Rêves Canadiens

Kellogg, Joan. "Mandala: Path of Beauty." MD: Mandala Assessment and Research Institution, 1981.
This study grew out of Joan's work at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, and several drug rehabilitation centers, plus her own inner searching and experimentation. Nine years of research, as of 1981, grew slowly and intuitively, then was clinically formulated as statistical evidence presented itself. The mandala used in this work is recommended to be the same size as the human head, so in some ways I look at this as a study of self portraiture. The action of filling your head with colours is an act of changing your image and your imagination.
Joan's instructions are to use a plate to form a circle the size of your head then to let the colours flow and grow spontaneously, unrestricted by the circle's outline. The circle is chosen because its shape is more organic than the rectangle. The manuscript is divided into the description of the mandalas, and a section on the choices of the different types of mandelas, the combinations of their colours, and their influences on each other.
As time went on, thirteen mandalas manifested following themselves in a circle mirroring the life cycle from conception to chaos or death. Of course there are many metaphors for this cyclic process, but the birth-life-death cycle seems the most central. The circle of twelve mandelas with the thirteenth in the center can also be taken into the meeting place, with the position taken to sit at the meeting table, reflecting the power and purpose accorded to the members in the meeting's circle.
Colour is of equal importance and can present a great deal of the inner workings of the subject's feelings. The most interesting feature of the manuscript was the supposition that you can work through your psychological issues by drawing mandalas, even at the doodling stage of filling circles absently with colours and shapes, while daydreaming or talking on the phone.
She went to great lengths to show the significance of her work and the Mandala in myth, history, politics, religion, and most forms of psychology. The wealth of imagery is staggering, but its formulation is absolute simplicity. There is a thread of commonsense running through the work from conception onward. Somehow she has achieved a deeper grounding, to a body of work, that could have been very messy and dizzying, but that comes across as just plain simple; perhaps, this is because of its inherent truth.
The danger in this body of work is the problem of any psychological theory, and that is that it colours the way we look at the world, at least until we read the next book. The hazard here is even more marked, because I think her theories are correct. The clinical nature of the manuscript needs to be lightened up, before publication, with a healthy dose of humour. Joan protects the manuscript within the framework of her workshops, so she can view the dissemination individually. I did not attend a workshop, and managed to acquire a copy, so that form of protection has some flaws. Perhaps, it is time for Joan to lighten up and expand her circle of influence.
I look forward to its publication and to the opportunity to draw my own conclusions about the size of my head, and its portrayal of a smile and a tip of the hat to a job well done.

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