How-to, Inspiration, Videos
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[VIDEO] Luminous Mandalas – Mandalas on Black Background

Today’s theme, “Luminous Mandalas” seems so timely. Here in New England the winter nights are really long. It is dark when I wake up in the morning and dark when I leave the office at the end of the day. I’m counting down the days to the Winter Solstice. One day and counting!

Today’s video is more than a how-to demonstration on creating and coloring mandalas. It is also an invitation to consider your own gorgeous bright light and how it radiates to inspire others.

In this video you’ll find:

  • An introduction to the Great Round and Stage Twelve.
  • A demonstration using colored pencils on a black background to create a luminous effect.
  • A demonstration of using stencils to create a mandala design.
  • A gallery of luminous mandalas from members of the 100 Mandalas Community that features a variety of styles and mediums.
  • An invitation to join the 100 Mandalas Community.

Supplies Used in the Video:

Try These Supplies on Black Paper:

Books Referenced:

About the Great Round:

Since January 2015 we have been working through Susanne Fincher’s book, The Mandala Workbook: A Creative Guide for Self-Exploration, Balance, and Well-Being.  In the book, Susanne covers the 12 psychological stages of “The Great Round.” You are welcome to join us at this stage or look back over the other stages that we’ve covered so far and dive in where your curiosity takes you. We will be revisiting the stages in January 2016 with Stage One.

Stage Twelve: Opening to Grace

Stage Twelve corresponds to the wisdom of old age. Susanne Fincher writes, “Stage Twelve invites you to lean into the ground of your being, the Self, trusting in this source of continuing support during the ups and downs of your personal journey. When you find yourself in Stage Twelve, you may feel like a new person and an old soul. A review of the past is often part of the process. Looking anew at past events can realizing their pattern of meaning and allow a great Ah hah! to emerge where there was only pain, confusion, and anger before. During Stage Twelve we can experience joy, relief, love, and forgiveness.” (page 211-212)

We experience this stage each time we have a “transcendent or peak experience.” I have experienced this stage when beholding the beauty of nature (while on a mountain top, watching the sun set at the ocean, walking through a verdant forest), after child birth and many times caring for my son, listening to an outstanding musical performance, and after periods of fasting or meditating. I found myself with a heightened awareness and appreciation of the world around me and a deep sense of interconnectedness with all living beings.

Characteristics of Stage Twelve Mandalas

  • Simple, luminous forms against a dark background.
  • May depict glowing flowers, glistening trees, or fountains of light.
  • Birds in flight, human figures with arms outstretched, chalices or other vessels filled with light.
  • Colors tend to include darks – indigo, black, purple – and pastels such as pink, peach, blue, yellow, light turquoise, and lavender.
  • Mandalas in this stage are lovely, uplifting, and awe-inspiring.


I created the mandala pictured above following an exercise in Judith Cornell’s book, The Mandala Healing Kit: Using Sacred Symbols for Spiritual and Emotional Healing.

  1. Draw a circle. I traced a plate.
  2. Mark the center. Using a white colored pencil mark the center with a dot. This represents you and your inner light. As you color your mandala, you’ll start from the center and work your way outward. Think of this as your inner light radiating outward.
  3. Add shapes using a stencil. I used the lotus flower stencil from the Mandala Healing Kit. I traced using a silver Posca paint pen. I like the fine point of the Posca pens when tracing the stencil.
  4. Create an outer glow. I outlined the shapes using a white pencil. I then colored outward very lightly to create a gradient. Start lightly with colored pencil and go back and add more layers until you achieve the tonal quality that pleases you.
  5. Create an inner glow. Experiment with different colors. To create the inner glow, I traced the inside edge with a colored pencil and then lightly colored to create a gradient. You may want to color over an area with white pencil to lighten and brighten the areas.

Reflections on my luminous mandala:

I often use flowers to represent my own “blossoming” and personal development. I’m drawn to flowers that are just opening as I feel it mirrors where I’m at in my life. I haven’t quite blossomed. The two “seeds” above the lotus flower pictured above represent my creative potential, those projects that I have yet to realize.

I see the other lotus flowers around the perimeter as those lovely people from around the world who have been gathering around my invitation to create 100 Mandalas in 100 Days. Each person in the 100 Mandalas Community brings their own light and seeds of creative potential. I learn so much from every participant from the beginner to the experienced. I love how we have come together around the making of mandalas and support each other on this fabulous creative journey.

If you are just discovering the 100 Mandalas Challenge, be sure to check out these links:



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Kathryn Costa is an instigator of soulful and creative living. Her passion can be summed up in three little words: “create and connect.” Kathryn’s programs help people to find clarity, let go of fear, embrace their dreams, and explore their creativity. Kathryn has been an online community developer, teacher, and soulful guide for 12 years. Her unique teaching and coaching style integrates tools and practices from her training in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, Soul Coaching, The Virtue’s Project, and Jaguar Path Shamanic Apprenticeship Program.


  1. Nice video and post, Kathryn! I think the first time I ever set white pencil to black paper was after purchasing Judith Cornell’s book a few years ago. Never seen the kit, but her book and the CD in it are wonderful!
    Blessings on your holidays!


    • I loved your two luminous labyrinths! They add so much to the gallery portion of the video. I too was really inspired by Judith Cornell’s book. The colored pencils in the kit are student grade – you are not missing anything. You have the best parts of the kit.


  2. Fabienne says

    Wonderful video Kathryn, thank you so much. I loved seeing you drawing your luminous mandala, it was so peaceful and deep. I loved the music too (can you please tell me what it is).
    I never used prismacolour pencils on black paper, I’m going to try. And I’m going to order Judith Cornell’s bookt !I feel that luminous mandalas are so powerful and I feel that stage 12 of the great Round corresponds to what I’m experiencing right now.
    I’m looking forward to going through all the stages again next year.
    Thank you so much for your huge work. With you, everything is so clear, simple and beautiful!


    • Tlhank you for your note Fabienne. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the video. Judith Cornell’s book is very different than other books on mandalas. It will be a good addition to your library.

      I’m also so very glad that you find my narrative easy to understand, especially where English is not your first language!

      Here is the information about the music:
      “Laid Back Guitars” by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (…)


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