Dear Mandala Enthusiast,
You are invited to participate in the 2019 Solstice Mandala Calendar project. Inspired by the Advent Calendars from my childhood, I’ve designed a countdown calendar to mark down the days from December 1 to December 21, the day of the Solstice.
The Tradition of Bringing Light to Dark Times
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice, between December 21 and 22, is the time of year when the night is longest and the day shortest. Many traditions bring light to this dark time – Christians light candles in their Advent Wreaths, Jews light the candles in their menorah during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, and bonfires and candles are a part of the Hindu Sankranti and ancient Roman Saturnalia holidays. These are but a few examples of how candlelight brings comfort at this darkest time of the year, as people looked forward to the longer days of spring. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere, December 21/22 marks the Summer Solstice, Midsummer, the longest day of sunlight. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals and often include bonfires.
Mandalas with their circular shape remind us of the cycles of light and dark we experience each day and from season to season. “The Sanskrit word mandala also means “a complete cycle through time.” Mandalas from ancient cultures often symbolize the revolutions of time itself in an attempt to show orderly changes in nature and the affairs of human beings.” (Susanne Fincher, “The Mandala Workbook” pg. 12)
The zodiac, the Native American Medicine Wheel, the Aztec stone calendars, and the Buddhist Wheel of Life are some of the many examples of how different cultures have marked the repeating cycles of the solar year using mandalas where some focus on the four seasons, the times of day, and/or the lifecycle of all things (change, life, death, birth, and learning). It is fitting for us to use the mandala as a symbol for our countdown calendar to the Solstice.
About the Solstice Mandala Calendar Project
21 mandalas designed by artists from various countries and backgrounds around the world will be used to create a unique Solstice calendar. This is a project about creating something beautiful as a community that will light up and inspire all who see it. As we create mandalas during this Solstice season, may we recognize the light within ourselves and the light in each other.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
1. Create a mandala using any medium or style. How will you play with the light/dark theme?
You may already have a mandala that captures the spirit of this project. You are welcome to submit your favorite mandala that you created this year.
Please don’t post your mandala art in the Sharing Circle or on social media until after the calendar is published. Let’s make it a surprise!
2. Scan your mandala at 300 dpi. No photographs, please.
3. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: Solstice Calendar
Please include your name and your city/state/country as you’d like it to appear in the calendar.
4. Deadline for entries: Friday, November 22, 2019
The final Solstice Mandala Calendar will be distributed freely.
Instigator of Soulful & Creative Living