Nature Walk Mandala

The joy of this project is that you can create
a beautiful piece of art, even if you can't
draw a stick figure.
Black Paper
Circle template (bowl, plate or plastic lid in a size that fit's your paper)
Colored Pencils
Corn Meal (for an offering)

Step 1 - Contemplation: Go to a favorite place in nature ( a park, a favorite hiking trail, even your own back yard) and sit quietly for a while drinking in the feeling of the place. If the sun is out, think about the feeling of the sun on your skin. If it's cool, feel the chill of the air on your skin. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds. Feel your own presence in the place and feel how far your sense of yourself extends beyond you own body. Try to reach out with your awareness and see how far out from yourself you can expand. See if you can connect with any of the creatures that may inhabit this place. From the shamanic perspective everything is alive and has a form of consciousness, even if it is very different from our own. Every bird, insect, worm, tree, even the rocks have a form of consciousness and if you sit still and listen, you will find yourself connected to them. The reason we usually don't hear them is that we are moving too fast and not stopping to listen.

Ask the place and the creatures to show you the things you need to see at this time.

Step 2 - The Walk: Get up from your place of contemplation and start to walk. Keep your eyes open for small items that catch your eye (a leaf, a flower, a small pebble) and make a small collection of things. Do not take anything that will harm the environment. If you want to collect sticks, look for sticks that have fallen from the tree on their own. If you take a leaf or flower from a living plant, be careful not to harm the plant and remember to thank the plant and leave a pinch of cornmeal as an offering of gratitude.

When you feel you have collected what you need, go back to the place where your drawing supplies are. If there is no place outdoors where you can work comfortably, you may want to complete the next part at home.

Step 3 - The Drawing: With one of the colored pencils, trace a circle on the black paper using your circle template. Now place the things you have collected on your walk within the circle in an arrangement that pleases you. If you want some of the things to fall outside the circle that's OK, too. When you are happy with your arrangement, trace around each of the items. You now have a pattern that you can color with the colored pencils. Look at the way the lines intersect and the shapes connect with each other. Do not worry about trying to color things in so that the leaves look like leaves and the branches look like branches. Just look at the lines as abstract patterns and color them using colors you like.
If you want to shade from one color to another, you will get the best results if you shade between colors that are close to each other on the color wheel. For instance, from Yellow try shading to Orange and then to Red.