In the 'Year of the Water Dragon,' it is not surprising that 'Phoenix and Dragon' has emerged as a mandala celebrating ancient and powerful symbolism as well as Manipura chakra, the energy center located in the area of the solar plexus. Unlike the phoenix of the West, the Chinese phoenix carries the connotation of joy and peace rather than a firebird rising from the ashes. It is believed she makes an appearance only in times of prosperity, peace and good government. Unlike, the dragons of Europe, the Chinese dragon symbolizes benevolence, prosperity, longevity and the renewal of life. A dragon and phoenix shown together represent a happy and harmonious union, conjoined the union of man and woman. The pearl is associated with wealth, good luck and prosperity; a flaming pearl with wisdom, enlightenment and spiritual perfection. Within the jeweled lotus palace of the mandala, they dance eternally in a perfect balance of power, wealth and love, supported by the guardian koi in their continual, amazing feats of endurance.
Manipura (meaning 'jewel city') chakra is the center of physical and material strength, with emphasis on ruling over the lower regions. It's color yellow, like amber, is the color of balance and renewal of the nervous system. It is ruled by the Sixth Light Ray, the ray of Peace. Once this center is entirely purified and open, we gain full protection against fear and the destructive tendencies of others as well as from our own lower physical impulses. It is in Manipura that we at last free ourselves from our illusions and our complexes. Negatively, it is the seat of greed, overeating, insatiability and fear. When unblocked, Manipura manifests in an increased sense of self-esteem, clear vision of the meaning of one's own existence and the realization that seemingly impossible dreams can be fulfilled. The spiritual becomes the basis for all of life's activities.
Nadean O'Brien, Huntington Beach, CA Member Since December 2006 Artist Statement I WAS BORN CREATIVE, but as a child showed little interest in drawing or painting. My parents who had met at an art gallery sustained hope I would follow in the footsteps of my talented aunt noted for her lovely landscapes. I, however, had other worlds to explore before discovering the beautiful and sensuous meditative art of Asia and Tibet as well as the work of Carl Jung who introduced the "personal mandala" to the western world. Here was art with power, passion and purpose, the art of self-realization and enlightenment, an art form that caught my imagination and gave my life focus almost two decades ago!
As I picked up my brush and began to paint, I became caught up in my own transformation to artist/healer and teacher, expressing this metamorphosis on canvas in Tibetan Tantric Buddhist symbolism depicting the sacred union of our inner masculine and feminine. The mystical "yab yum" (literally father mother) is often mistaken to represent human sexuality, but instead portrays graphically the inner wholeness or balance we must first achieve to realize our highest human potential. This ancient message is still relevant today.
More recently, fate and fortune have provided for expression of my particular talents and skills via digital painting rather than acrylic paint and canvas. With great joy and excitement, I watch a new generation of my unique mandalas evolving in a medium that is ideally suited by its added depth and dimension to spiritual art. I will continue to share my love and passion as before.
My artwork has been displayed at Mills College, Esalen, Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, and Chopra Centers throughout the United States as well as in private collections and corporate settings the world over.