Mandelbrot Mandala

June 20, 2012

Art + Math + Spirituality

Slow down, meditate on the goodness of God, and create a circular pattern of colorful beauty

(AKA: Who knew math could be so beautiful?!)

The following is one of the projects from the Halcyon Arts Creative Room during The Creative Church Conference. Click on the photos to go to the artists’ sites.)


Computer-generated fractal image

Mandelbrot Love, by sya


Images of the Mandelbrot set display an elaborate boundary that reveals progressively ever-finer recursive detail at increasing magnifications.  The set’s boundary also incorporates smaller versions of the main shape, so the fractal property of self-similarity applies to the entire set, and not just to its parts…. The Mandelbrot set has become popular outside mathematics both for its aesthetic appeal and as an example of a complex structure arising from the application of simple rules, and is one of the best-known examples of mathematical visualization.


File:Chenrezig Sand Mandala.jpg

Chenrezig Sand Mandala created and exhibited at the House of Commons on the occasion of the visit of the Dalai Lama on 21 May 2008.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle.” The sacred art of eastern religious traditions often takes a mandala form. Mandalas, concentric diagrams with radial symmetry, are thought to have spiritual and ritual significance and are a key part of meditation in many religions.  In the Tibetan branch of Buddhism, mandalas have been developed into sand painting. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts.  Forms evocative of mandalas prevalent in Christianity include: the Celtic cross; the Crown of Thorns; rose windows; and the dromenon labyrinth (picture below) on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. The dromenon represents a journey from the outer world to the inner sacred center where the Divine is found.

Chartres Labyrinth

Ideas for making your own mandalas:

  • Fill in a blackline master with patterns, then color if you wish
  • Fold a piece of tracing paper several times, unfold, create a design in one folded section, then trace to fill all other sections
  • Mirrors can provide a preview of the finished design
  • Instead of drawing a mandala, fold a sheet of paper up, then cut one out; unfold and leave it plain, or add designs
  • While drawing and coloring, slow down and meditate on the beauty of God

birdseye view of completed mandala

Buddhist monks painstakingly place millions of grains of sand into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks before ultimately being dismantled in order to release and disseminate the deity’s blessings into the world to benefit all sentient beings.  Acting as cultural ambassadors from the exiled personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, the monks of Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies have become especially well known for the creation of sand mandala exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world.

fruit mandala

Blackline masters free to download.

Info on mandalas and the Mandelbrot Set from Wikipedia articles



  1. Interesting article and informative. I was an art student at one point and seemed to have missed this, somehow. Thank you, for posting. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jason. I’ve just started this blog. If you like what you read and want to spread the word, I’d be grateful. Blessings! –cathy

      • Will keep an “eye” on your work. 🙂 Blessings back to you.

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