The Story Behind: Reborn Lotus Mandala
Designed in May 2017 while I was working myself out as you do at the age of 20 (turning 21), Reborn for me was the first piece that taught me self-reflection, how to dive deep and think about truly where it is I want to be and who I want to become. Pretty deep for an almost 21 year old, but little did I know this one piece was the start of a whole process to come.
So this one goes a little different, because it holds a deeper meaning to me than most of my other 2017 pieces when I just started out drawing Mandalas finding my feet and what they meant to me. It was shared on my socials first, and it took me a while to get the pencil work down admittedly (I also blame the fact I was a serial Netflix binger whilst working on this one).
Original caption on the piece when I first uploaded it to my socials:
"I know I've been super quiet on drawings right now, I've been hiding behind the scenes of my newest piece - "Reborn". After my last Thai Mandala pushing me past my usual patterns an safety net, I was so hungry to try something else so fresh, so new, testing, challenging.
Hence the Lotus Mandala - the birth in a sense of a fresh new style, slightly reflecting me whilst I've been a bit quiet - reflecting a bit more on sharpening myself up, instead of just my pencil all the time. Focusing more on me and becoming the best I can be too in a world that's as crazily foolish as we all are. So I guess this piece is more about me than anything else, but I'm damn proud I got it to this stage"
Now FYI - that stage was the linework and the image was the one you see at the top. I was proud for that stage because that moment I will never forget how I felt.
Reborn for me was the very first piece that taught me self-reflection. How to visualise, how to really dig deep and actually think about what it is I want and need and who I want to become and where I want to wind up. This piece was done just a few weeks before my 21st birthday, so yeah was a pretty deep one for me being quite young and naive as I always say.
So let me give a bit more of a back story - if you don't know, lotuses are quite common in artwork mainly for the significance of what they represent in Eastern Cultures - purity enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth. They're often known as the 'flower of life' because of their association with the cycle of life, death & rebirth.
The base characteristics reflects the perfect analogy for our everyday life when we go through a dark night of the soul, a spiritual awakening, our growth where we can finally come out into the light - a lotus can be planted into the muddiest and dirtiest of waters, yet still produces the most beautiful flower. We can go through the most serious amounts of crap in our lives, but so long as we come out better for it on the other side, we're okay = we're lotus flowers too in my eyes.
In Buddhism, it's reflective of every person having the potential to reach their highest self and become enlightened, it's just a matter of time. Buddhists believe it's necessary to be reborn thousands of times, crafting themselves through each incarnation until you reach nirvana - the highest state of consciousness we can reach as humans. For this reason, Buddha's are often shown sitting or holding lotus flowers as a way to symbolise the one who overcame the pain of the material world and became enlightened - same as how the lotus flower grew it's way through dirty waters.
Lotuses can be depicted in a variety of ways, however one thing we all commonly fail to notice quite often or understand is the meaning behind each colour of the lotus:
- White signifies: beauty, grace, purity of mind, wealth, knowledge, fertility and faith
- Pink signifies: 2 main meanings depending on bud state - closed buds represent passing through a spiritual path while a fully bloomed flower represents enlightenment. Buddhists often say they portray Buddha's earthly symbol which is why most Buddhas (particularly Tara Buddha's are shown sitting on a lotus pad with pink petals
- Yellow signifies: religious beliefs
- Red signifies: compassion, sympathy, and selfless love. They also represent heart, passion, and generosity.
- Blue signifies: wisdom, knowledge, ability to control things over emotions, worldly aspirations, and senses
- Purple signifies: self-awakening and are more commonly associated within Buddhism
So back to the piece - now knowing all of the above, I only knew the basics - Lotuses are associated with enlightenment, spiritual paths and the journey you progress through - nothing about the colours and what they represent. And because this piece was always only to be done in black and white, the fact I only ever kept it black & white to me was my sign - what I needed to journey down this spiritual path for - purity of mind, wealth, knowledge and faith being my key ones (not at all dismissing the others listed but they come with time, although they're always what I consider to be strong needs within me too).
So you've had the base education, tiny bit of a back story, what I needed to take from it and still am working on, but what about my head at the time? Well, I was in a relationship (same person as I was with when I produced Thai and a good few other pieces of artwork), and following on from the rough patch we went through when I created Thai Fusion Mandala (read about that here), we were actually coming through it and growing better together again.
Now remember I said Thai Fusion made me break my boundaries? Bare that in mind when reading and it'll make sense even from my first original caption.
Resuming - we changed, and our dynamic changed and the feelings and emotions I went through when I produced Thai made me actually go quite quiet afterwards and just take the time out to work out what the hell I'm doing and how I'm feeling - it was feelings I didn't want to keep having and knew I needed to change - feeling insecure, threatened, unsure of myself (these still linger now by the way it's a work in progress to get over them). I kept comparing myself to others, dress sense, personality, style, attitude, everything I possibly could, I did.
It was a serious amount of negativity and to be honest, kind of killed me - I still suffer with mass amounts of self confidence issues to this day and insecurities thanks to multiple past experiences (from 2020 going backwards), but this piece is the one that reminds me of who I envisioned myself to be.
That person was happy. Carefree. Empowered. Strong. Bold. Outspoken yet could still listen and would go out of her way to understand others and their point of view. I would be confident, live in my own designed house driving this and that car and had a family envisioned, the list goes on. But amongst all of those bits, the end version of me I saw was where I found who I was - spiritually.
Now since 2014 I turned away from religion - I believe there's a big guy upstairs who looks out for me because he's proven that over the years, but I find myself more spiritually aligned - law of attraction, crystal healings, manifestation, etc. We can create our own path - that's my thinking. And this piece was the wake up call to that.
Synergy for me taught me how to meditate, calm my mind, actually forget about the world and it's complexities and focus with a pure mind and pure heart. Reborn for me was the challenge - the personal challenge. Recognise, accept and embrace these emotions and thoughts, and now work on them. It was the physical significance of my spiritual awakening - change, growth, emotions, mentality, literally every form of awakening possible in the way that could only ever be truly represented to me in this piece.
On reflection of the piece year after year I still feel the same way - it still has a hold on me, it's own power, own trance. I come back to it regularly to meditate, visualise, reflect, look at my journey of what it has been to where I am now - I don't even know if I'm even 20% of the way there yet and this piece is almost 4 years old... Like the Buddhists believe there's 1000 reincarnations before enlightenment, I lost count of what number version of myself I'm on - every experience I've had has forced me to either change, grow or both - levelling up as I call it. Every single level up requires a new version of you.
The significance to me I never used to be able to put into words, and today for the first time in a written format, I try - it's always had it's own power over me for the fact I never imagined myself creating a piece as empowering as this one for myself. It was a challenge, a test, an achievement. This blog doesn't quite cover everything that this piece represents, but as much as can be shared, now has been for the first time ever.
It's one of my strongest and most powerful pieces for me personally that I've designed, and to be honest, the name was already a given once I learnt what Lotuses symbolise. It truly is me being reborn, my artwork style, my level of intricacy, my attention to detail, my own self. Paired with a mandala it just encompassed everything in one - the reflection of our journey in conjunction to everything else in life, where we are, where we want to be. It's self-growth, change and belief.
For those who wish to, you can shop Reborn Lotus Mandala online here.
Thank you for reading & keep your eyes peeled for future piece meanings being shared across the blog and also socials. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and even your own interpretations in the comments below or if you wish to let me know privately - I'm always social on emails and my social media channels.
One love - Simmy. x