Life Journal Workshop – The symbolism of circles

life journal resourcesI hope you enjoyed last week’s life journal post about fun ways to relieve stress. I also hope you made the time for some creative play in the past week and you are ready to get back to your life journal. This week, I felt like coloring circles. I was drawing and coloring mandalas, as well as just coloring a page of circles from a fun coloring book I found at Michaels. Coloring books are a great journaling resource.

For me, creativity is all about the process and the joy I get from the act of creating. I am rarely attached to the outcome of what I create. Sometimes they turn out well and other times, ugh! Not so well. Craft kits and coloring books can take some of the fear of the blank page away, especially if you know you need to be more creative but don’t know where to start. Coloring books are another great tool for relieving stress. I can guarantee you this page I colored below will end up in a collage at some point. Reusing art you created is fun!

But let’s get back to my obsession with circles for a minute. For years I have been coloring mandalas, but recently, I have been obsessed with all kinds of circles. I have a variety of fun tools I use to create mandalas or other doodles, as you can see in the image below. My son loves these circles, too and comes up with some incredible mandalas of his own. I will often use a coffee cup, dinner plate or dish from my kitchen to draw circles as well. But why circles?

“Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop.” – Black Elk in Black Elk Speaks (1961), Chapter 17  : The First Cure.

I recently moved to California, it took a lot of hard work and a complete revisioning of our life to get here. We had this vibrant vision for the lifestyle we wanted to create for our family – be near the beach, spend more time outdoors, not be so busy all of the time, be closer to family, be healthier… the list goes on. It took us a couple of years of planning, saving money and myriad details to make it happen, but we made it happen. What does this have to do with circles?

Zentangle-inspired art

My life has come full circle. I am living in a place I love again, my husband is happier and our relationship is so much more fun, I am doing more creative work and have more time to play, I have more time with my children and my life is wonderful. The circle to me is a precious container for our life, it represents wholeness, unity, completion and infinity. It is a container for all that is good and wonderful in our world.

When we think about the primordial images that are circular, we understand the power of the circle: the sun, moon, earth and other planets are round. Artwork like mandalas and stained glass windows in old churches are round. Native Americans pray to the four directions in a circle. We even make time appear round and infinite in the traditional circular image of a clock face.

If found this great list online of words that represent the symbolism of the circle.

  • Inclusion
  • Wholeness
  • Focus
  • Unity
  • Nurturing
  • Cycles
  • Initiation
  • Everything
  • Perfection
  • Womb
  • Centering
  • Revolution
  • Infinity
  • Mobility
  • Completion

The author writes, “The circle symbol meaning is universal, sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy, and the inclusivity of the universe.”

the symbolism of circles

I used Sharpie markers and Prismacolor colored pencils to color my circles this week. I like the combination of colors and textures. The image above I drew by hand, too lazy to get off the couch and find a plate to trace. My first thought, was, crap, it’s not perfectly round. I can’t share that! But here it is in all its imperfectness. I had fun coloring and creating the image, and that’s what is important. You can see the notes, random thoughts my imperfectness inspired. I had to work hard to release my own inner self judgement and just enjoy the process of creation!

writing prompt

On the page next to the circle, I kept random notes and wrote about what circles mean to me. When I am working in my journal or coloring or doodling, I always have a journal nearby to capture random thoughts. One of my random thoughts yesterday had nothing to do with circles but was a good idea for a blog post for my personal blog byDesignforWomen.com. You might see it there!

Your life journal challenge this week is to draw circles or color circles. Use whatever you have at home and fill a page with circles. Color them, paint them, doodle them. Then write about circles and what they mean to you. Do you see chocolate chip cookies or crop circles? Do you see infinity, God or your family? What do the circles contain? Have fun with this.

Make sure you join us on our Facebook page and share your images, thoughts and ideas or feel free to ask me a question.

2 Comments

  1. Great post, Minette – in fact, much more than a post! There’s so much goodness in your piece today, and I’ll certainly be including this in my own creative work this week. The Celtic Christians (and not just them, I’m sure) used a ‘circling prayer’ to invoke the encircling Presence of God, believing that the Devil was frustrated by anything that had no end, no break, no entrance. Which reminds me also of the ‘neverending and never-beginning’ Celtic knot designs, too. Hmm. I can feel my creative spirit start to move already. Thanks so much for such an inspirational piece!

  2. Thanks Susan, I could have gone on and on with the symbolism piece, so much fun to think about with circles plus they soothe me!

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