This is another in a series of articles by guest authors or artists.
D. Kristen Herrington is an artist, writer, and Reiki master/teacher from Round Rock, Texas. Here, she tells the story of her Soul Mandalas.
Kristen Herrington’s Soul mandala
Life is fascinating. The ins and outs of desire and design make for the most interesting roller coaster ride! When I was a child and people would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” I would simply say, “I don’t know, but I want to love everyone and I want everyone to love me.” Somewhat unrealistic, I’ll grant you, but honest in its sentiment.
As college approached, I still had no idea what to do. However, I had always loved art, drawing, reading, writing, and fabrics. I had won prizes and accolades for my drawings and writing. The textures (two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and in good writing) captivated me. So, off to art school I went. Printmaking became my method of combining texture with form in a medium which allowed me to retain a piece for myself. I always had a problem parting with my ‘babies.’
After four years of training but no degree, I decided to go to work. Sales and service became my existence for that time, until I finally virtually screamed, “Enough!” Back to college where I at last earned my degree in psychology. Odd, you might say, but my understanding of the psychological parameters of human existence has been invaluable in my creative work.
After a brief stint in graduate school, many years in advertising and marketing followed. Ultimately the scream returned, and I left the corporate world entirely. I had begun a more metaphysical life, studying shamanism, animal communication, and Reiki. The questionable integrity in the advertising world had become far too dissonant with my newfound understanding of my soul.
The development of my spiritual greeting card line was an organic process. My writing and artwork seemed to weave themselves together quite naturally.
Then an amazing thing happened. My first soul mandala was born. I say born because, like childbirth, I do not remember the process. I simply became aware, after roughly an 18 hour session on my computer, of a beautiful image before me. (I know I fed the cats and changed their litter box somewhere in there, but remember nothing else…) I had never created anything like it and it resonated with my own soul energy. It is my own soul portrait – my soul mandala. Try as I might, I still cannot recall or repeat the creation method for that particular mandala.
With a bit of prodding from my friend Carrie Laymon (a remarkable energy healer – http://pathfindertohealth.com), I began to recognize the possibilities. Using my Reiki training (I’m a Reiki Master/Teacher), I could access the soul energy of a person and allow that energy to direct my creative process. An entirely new concept opened to me.
My process is, I believe, unique. I work in Adobe Illustrator to create brush strokes. The strokes are then brought into Adobe Photoshop. A stroke is isolated, placed, duplicated and rotated, then the group of strokes is merged together. I repeat this process many times, ultimately creating a frame. The background colors are laid down, and all the fill colors are laid in row by row. The frame is then embossed graphically. Finally, the background, center, and any other bursts are added. The end result is a somewhat traditional mandala with a particularly modern feeling. Also, every step of the way is directed by the soul of the client, from the movement of the strokes to the angles of the bursts. I take my guidance from spirit.
The mandala form is such a healing and resonant form throughout cultures and history. In using this form with Reiki energy, I believe I’m creating potentially powerful regenerative artwork. I’ve had interesting experiences connecting with the souls of my clients and receiving direction specifically geared for the recovery of their essence.
Regardless, I’m finally producing the work I’m meant to produce. I continue to create in other art forms, including my spiritual greeting cards, sculpture, fabric art, and various writings; fiction, poetry, and essays. But the soul mandalas in particular seem to resonate with people, and I’m thrilled to produce them!
I hope the public enjoys my work! And thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss all of this with you!
Gelatinous Light mandala
Obtaining Kristen’s work
Mandala prints on canvas and spiritual greeting cards by Kristen are available at http://www.pathfindertohealth.com/greetingcards/
Unique Personal Soul Mandalas are available by commission. Kristen displays some, with their owner’s permission, here: http://www.723.com/lifelites/gallery
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2008, D. Kristen Herrington