Endorsement by Miranda Shaw (Ph.D., Harvard University)
Kathy Rausch has integrated mature understandings of spirituality, creativity, and the power of the mandala into an engaging, wonderfully easy read.
The concepts in this book are deep and profound yet delivered with an elegance and ease that makes them palatable to virtually any reader. Divine creativity is a part of our living essence, as Rausch beautifully demonstrates. Readers will be inspired to activate their creative power through the simple process of contemplating and drawing their own mandalas by following the instructions she sets forth with remarkable clarity.
Having studied mandalas and their symbolism for several decades, I can attest to the deep psychological resonance and potency of mandala imagery as a vehicle for self-discovery and transformation. Rausch’s method maintains the classical design (a square enclosing a circle with four or eight radiating sectors), thereby preserving the integrity of a pattern that represents wholeness and includes among its metaphorical layers the unfurling of an eight-petalled lotus and, by analogy, the unfolding of awareness and awakening of the heart. Rausch adopts the ordered pattern of a traditional mandala as a vehicle for personal creativity, offering a simple template that provides structure and yet scope for creative expression.
As a scholar of South Asian religions whose intensive study of mandalas has included field research and consultation of Sanskrit and Tibetan texts, I brought a specialist eye to Activate Divine Creativity: The Life-Changing Magic of the Mandala. I was surprised and delighted, then, to find that Rausch succeeded in crystallizing the mandala principle and rendering it accessible without trivializing or misrepresenting the subject, as so often happens in popularizing treatments of this sacred contemplative art form. The use of the term “doodle,” of current cultural coinage, helps readers understand that artistic skill and training are not required to undertake the practice she describes.
From my own efforts to communicate the principles and symbolism of the mandala to a spectrum of general and scholarly audiences, I recognize the challenge of addressing a broad readership on this complex subject. The genius of Rausch’s approach is her emphasis on “divine creativity,” which conveys a vital theme of the mandala tradition in a manner that is understandable and inviting for readers of any cultural background.
The author’s voice is personal, captivating, and compelling. The lively pace of the writing carries the reader along on a sparkling stream of personal anecdotes, spiritual insights, and encouragement to embark on the revelatory journey of making mandalas with the ingeniously simple method she provides.
Miranda Shaw (Ph.D., Harvard University) is the author of the award-winning Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 1994), which has been translated into seven languages, and Buddhist Goddesses of India (Princeton University Press, 2006). Her extensive field research in India and Nepal has been funded by the Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Academy of Religion. Shaw is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia and continues to research, publish, and lecture on the sacred arts of India and the Himalayas.