by Jonathan Quintin

The word mandala originates from the Sanskrit and means "wheel," or "circle." Mandalas are circular designs that depict the mysteries of creation. For thousands of years they have served as a bridge to states of higher understanding.

A mandala can be personal or impersonal. Various traditions may assign religious or philosophical concepts upon the archetypes in order to identify with them in, a more personal way. On a more fundamental level, mandalas can be viewed simply as graphic translations of universal order and harmony.

The system of geometry used to create my designs is the same system that occurs in nature. This particular field of geometry is known as the inner geometry of nature, as it reveals the inner workings of nature. It is known by other names as well, such as classical geometry because it is based on uniform divisions of the circle; the geometry of Life, because all living forms are patterned upon the geometric principles contained in these shapes and forms; ancient geometry, because many races of antiquity used it in their art, architecture, and philosophy; and sacred geometry, as an acknowledgment that there is something profound about it.

The investigation of classical geometry (the term used henceforth) teaches us more about ourselves because we are an embodiment of harmonic geometric proportions. The more we acquaint ourselves with natural law, the more we are able to live in accordance with it.

Everything in nature can be described in terms of geometry. From the dance of atoms to the revolutions of the planets, every type of growth and motion is governed by the same set of laws. These laws are portrayed through the symbology of geometric shapes and forms.

Nature expresses itself through a blend of beauty and function. In nature we find sublime beauty complementing the most refined, regenerative technology. Using just a minimum inventory--nature expresses infinite diversity in an aftful way.

Every form in nature, including the human form, is a diagram of the forces that created it. Each form exhibits nature's response to the intrinsic and extrinsic forces that acted upon it. All natural forms are created and sustained with the minimum expenditure of energy and resources. They are living expressions of an unseen order that exists throughout the universe.

The trees and flowers, the rocks and rivers, the bones in our body--all impart components of a greater wisdom. An example of this can be seen in a geometric principle known as the goldcn ratio, or the phi ratio. This is a universal principle that can be found on all levels of existence.

The golden ratio describes the special relationship found in nature between two parts of a whole. It can be described in terms of number, length, area, volume, and, to a certain degree, beauty and consciousness.

The numerical value of the golden ratio is usually rounded off to three decimal places at 1.618.This value is applied to related objects of different sizes. The most simple example is two straight lines of different lengths. If the length of the shorter line is given the value of one unit of measurement, the other line is then 1.618 times longer than that.

The length of the bone segments in the fingers of our hands can be mensured in this way. Consider the length of the first segment of any given finger as the standard measurement for that finger. The length of the second segment will mearure a close approximation of 1.618 times longer than that. The third segment will closely approximate 1.618 times longer than the second, and the fourth segment 1.618 times longer than the third.

The bones of the entire human anatomy relate to one another according to the golden ratio, although in a more complex manner than that expressed through the hand.  Not only the human form, but all creatures, can be measured according to the golden ratio. From molecular compounds to seashells to pine cones to spiral galaxies, the golden ratio is a common denominator that links all levels of creation.

The nautilus shell personifies the Golden ratio on the one, two, and three-dimensional planes. One-dimensionally, it is the linear spiral, which is based on the Golden ratio. Two-dimensionally, with area, the shell itself can be contained in a Golden proportioned rectangle; and three-dimensionally,each chamber has approximately 1.618 times more volume than the chamber preceding it.

As well as providing the source for our physical existence, nature contains clues that enable us to live in accordance with the subtle energies and cycles of life.  Every leaf, blade of grass, and drop of water contains information about the universal laws we must all obey.

When we lived in nature, we were exposed and influenced by this harmonious balance and order on a daily basis. One of the effects of living a modern lifestyle is that we have grown increasingly isolated from nature. This isolation has created certain imbalances, internally and externally, in our symbiotic relationship to the environment and our role in life.

Although it may not be possible to live in nature to regain that equilibrium, classical geometry offers an alternative. The symbology of classical geometry brings the principles of nature into our field of awareness. Contained within the geometric symbols are universal laws that the subconscious can recognize and utilize as an integral part of relating to the creative forces.

The pentagon, with its complex angular systems, is a beautiful embodiment of the golden ratio. As with the lengths of the fingers, so too do the lengths of the segments within a pentagon proceed in golden proportion. Using line AB as the standard measurement, line BC is 1.618 times longer than that. Line CD is 1.618 times longer than BC, and line DE is 1.618 times longer than CD --whether you are measuring the hand or the pentagon.

Many of my designs contain various expressions of the golden ratio, while others include additional ratios also found in nature, such as 1.414, 1.732 and 3. 141.The designs translate complex mathematical expressions into shapes and patterns that state the simple truths of life.

Mandalas are pictorial representations of universal principles and qualities. They are interdimensional gateways linking us to the realms of the archetypes. There is a natural purity about them that refreshes the spirit and illuminates the mind.

By coloring the mandalas, through the actions of our hands, eyes, and thoughts we are kinetically, visually, and mentally emulating fundamental processes of creation. We are adopting the characteristics of these principles, helping us integrate with the vital forces of nature to experience a state of heightened awareness.

Pythagoras called geometry visual music. Geometry is a visual form of harmony. It is the harmony of parts with each other and with the whole. The world is composed of diverse and contrasting elements; harmony restores unity to the divergent parts and weaves them into a cosmos.

A mandala can be likened to a visual symphony. In this comparison, the individual shapes in the mandala are the instruments; the design itself, the orchestra; and the colors, the music. A mandala can be colored in an infinite number of ways, just as a musical orchestra has the potential for playing an unlimited number of compositions.

Only the artist can choose what colors are right for him or her. Choosing your favorite colors and applying them in creative ways can be a very satisfying and therapeutic experience. The best place to begin is at the center and progressively work out from there.

(Jonathan's Mandala Coloring Book)


About Jonathan Quinton

Jonathan Quintin was born and raised in the rural and rugged landscape of New Zealand. As a boy he would often forgo the constraints of a day in the classroom in favor of wandering the great outdoors. The wilderness was his classroom, and nature his teacher.

He lived in awe of the magnificence of his natural surroundings. At an early age, he adopted the philosophy that the wisdom of nature is the best example of how to live. At the age of 21, Jonathan began his epic journeys around the world. Over the years, he traveled through dozens of countries, absorbing as much of the culture in each one as he could.

A common theme he noticed weaving its way through the symbology, religion, science, and philosophy of the Mlious traditions was the presence of classical geometry. From the pagodas of Asia to the pyramids of Egypt to the temples of Greece, the same geometric principles were applied to create structures and art that reflected the harmonic properties of natural phenomenon.

It was in the Middle East that Jonathan's fascination with classical geometry was heightened when he saw how the Islamic mosaics were graphically describing the dynamics of creation. It was at that time that he chose to devote the rest of his life to the pursuit of a subject that combined art, science, and mystery.

He has spent the last 12 years dedicated to the study and artistic expression of classical geometry, focusing upon its therapeutic qualities and using it as a tool for a deeper understanding of the profundity of life.

View some of Jonathan's Designs:

(click the smaller images to view larger ones)