I've been playing with mandalas for a couple of months now. I attribute my fascination with them to my Facebook friend, Jane Snedden Peever, Her pen and ink mandalas are so hypnotic, that I had to try them for myself. She was so open in sharing her experiences with this art form, which also inspired me. Thanks, Jane!
From the beginning, I saw how the spirit of Zentangle was present as I repeated my pen marks/tangles all around the center of the circle... spreading out to the edges, engaging in light and dark, thick and thin, round and straight. In looking at most mandala art, the symmetry seems quite planned and exact. I'm imagining that many of them are. But, also keeping in the spirit of Zentangle, I had no plan and I knew NOT where my next new stroke would take me. It's always a surprise from the beginning to the end.
I especially enjoy the mandala because there is nothing that tempts me to name anything about it. It is simply a circle of symphonic marks that magically come together no matter what I do.
"Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came... When you look at it [bird] or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you." --- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
I have to say, I don't know much about the significance of a mandala, spiritually or mathematically speaking. I don't use any math, or measuring (thank you, Verlie Murphy!), and the marks I use are purely intuitive, and not consciously symbolic for me. I'm almost sure, though, in some mysterious realm, that they might mean a great deal, as things do :) But for today, I will float most deliberately round the circle with my pen marks, my paper twirling like a sufi in the mystery.