Today's post can be seen as a sequel of sorts to My Shadow post. Don't worry, you need not have read that more verbose post to understand this one. I'm going to be talking about the mandorla image I crocheted, what a mandorla is, and how you can make one if you want. It so happened that the colors I used were very appropriate for Valentine's Day, and you'll see how symbolically this image could also be appropriate for Valentine's Day.
I recently learned what a mandorla was from Robert A. Johnson's book Owning Your Own Shadow. A mandorla is the almost shape that is made from partially overlapping two circles. Symbolically, it is created by overlapping opposites in an effort to make a whole. This process he tells us can be done in many ways, from art, music, and dance to language.
"It is a miracle to listen to someone (even oneself) say 'Perhaps this, perhaps that, maybe, it follows that, I wonder if' - all like a dog chasing its tail. But gradually the two disparate circles begin to overlap and the mandorla grows. This is healing." (Robert A. Johanson)
Doing mandorla work can be seen as healing, conflict resolution, a way to find a peaceful balance between ego and shadow, and a way to strive for wholeness of self.
So, I thought I'd try to make a crocheted representation of the mandorla. I remembered that the Flower of Life design is made up of overlapping circles, so I thought I could use that as inspiration. Ok, so the idea was all and good, but the execution was another story. I tried several different methods and was about ready to give up. I came to the realization that I have a tendency to make things more complicated than they really need to be, especially when aesthetically I'm more drawn to simple clean lines. When I finally was able to drop the more complicated ideas, which I realized weren't my style, I was able to move along. Theoretically, my motif design would work, but as I was joining them, it just looked like a big hot mess.
But I kept at it, sewed in my ends and blocked it. After it dried over night, I unpinned it, and let it just sit there for a couple of days, partially skeptical about its ability to remain laying flat on the table. but it did!
It's not perfect however. (But it's more about the process right?) I realize now that my white thread might be a tiny bit bigger than the other colors despite them all being size 10 and the same brand I believe. Or perhaps my tension was much looser with the white? As I was working on the shape of the motif, I also fought the urge to go out and buy a compass to make the almond shape from the Flower of Life image to scale... I let go of the urge of perfection for the sake of the creative process.
I think the design has great potential. I may play around with it more at a later date. However, if you'd like to give it a try, I'll tell you how I made the motif and joined them.
And happy early Valentine's Day!
(I used size 10 crochet thread with a 1.65mm hook)
Row 1- ch 2, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, turn (1 sc)
Row 2- 2 sc in first st, ch 1, turn (2 sc)
Row 3- 2 sc in each st, ch 1, turn (4 sc)
Row 4- sc in each st, ch 1, turn (4 sc)
Row 5- 2 sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in last st, ch 1, turn (6 sc)
Row 6-14- sc in each st, ch 1, turn (6 sc)
Row 15- sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts, sc2tog, ch 1, turn (4 sc)
Row 16- sc in each st, ch 1, turn (4 sc)
Row 17- sc2tog, sc2tog, ch 1, turn (2 sc)
Row 18- sc2tog, ch 1, turn (1 sc)
Row 19- (sc, ch 2, sc) in same st, continue to sc evenly around edge until you reach the other end, (sc, ch 2, sc), and continue to sc around, joining with sl st to first sc, fasten off.
Joining motifs together-
work mandorla through Row 18, start row 19: (sc, ch 1, sl st to corresponding ch 2 space in first mandorla motif, ch 1, sc in same space as first sc), continue sc around edge as before (joining subsequent mandorlas as previous on both ends as need be.)
This is just a guideline, and you can look at my photo for the placement of motifs. But like I said, I think this design has other possibilities... you could try adding more motifs around the mandorla that I made to make a larger circle with a mandorla in the middle... or you could just make a flower of life inspired design with several colors...