Are there really Jewish Mandalas? The circular patterns and drawings know as Mandalas are usually thought of as part of the Buddhist culture. Not many know that there are, in fact, Jewish Mandalas as well. They are named “Maagalot”, the Hebrew plural form of Maagala (sacred circle).
Michal Fishel, the creator of the original Maagalot, did not even know that her circular drawings, that had brought her such serenity and pleasure, where in fact a form of Mandalas. It was only after other commented on her works that she began to study the world of Mandalas and their use as a spiritual tool. Then, with this understanding she delved into the Kabala, the ancient Jewish wisdom the deals with the relationships between man and his creator, and men’s place in the creator’s world and order of things. And out of this mixing of Mandalas and Kabala came to be the Maagala, The Jewish Mandala.
The term Maagala is derived from an old tale of rabbi “Choni the maagel” (Choni the creator of circles). Among other things it is told that Choni would draw a circle on the ground, stand in its center and pray to God for the blessings of rain. And his prayers would be answered.
The center is a point of no substance but everything revolves around it so it is therefore – nothing and everything- beyond time and place- just like our creator. Michal believes that the creation within the parameter of the circle connects a person to his creator, and to all creation, thus affectively transforming him into a part of all there is. However, Maagalot as Jewish Mandalas relate not only to the circle but to the square and to their shared center. The creator is not only in us and above us, he is in all creation, in every shape, color, material, breath and thought.
This concept of the creator being a central living part of the life, every day creating our very existence with every breath we take – connects to working in every color and shape beyond time and any concept of proportion or perspective around the one central point. Immersing one-self in drawing a Maagala is a liberating and empowering experience, relaxing and regenerating at once.