A Universal Symbol
The word mandala comes from the Sanskrit word meaning circle.
Sacred images based upon or containing circles can be found in
cultures as diverse as the Aztecs, Navajos, Australian Tjuringas,
Celts, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, among many others.
Jose and Miriam Arguelles, authors of Mandala(1972/1995:
Shambhala Press) write of the Aztec Sunstone, an image containing
the "cosmogeny, calendar and metaphysical history of the ancient
Gothic and Medieval cathedrals, such as the Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral pictured here, employ circular symbols and architectures.Even the cross, a central Christian icon, has a connection to the
mandala form. The Arguelles' point out that "the cross takes much of
its significance from the conception of the crossroads...A common image
of Christ depicts him as the center of a halo or radiating auric field, His
majestic persoal emanations vibrating outward from the body" (p. 40).