by David J. Bookbinder
I work as a psychotherapist, primarily with artists, gifted children, and people with addictive behaviors.
My motivation in creating these images was to heal from a decade of physical and emotional trauma, the consequence of a near-fatal event in Albany, New York, in 1993. I began this project shortly after buying my first digital camera and found myself shooting patterns of color and light, rather than the people and buildings I had shot in my black-and-white days. I learned to manipulate the images, hoping at first merely to improve them, but soon realizing that once an image file was on my hard drive, I could do anything I wanted with it. My choice of the hexagram (the Star of David, "beloved" in Hebrew) as the organizing shape for these mandalas was subconscious, but I believe this choice was no accident. In many traditions, the Star of David, composed of two overlapping triangles, represents the reconciliation of opposites: male/female, fire/water, and so on. Their combination symbolizes unity and harmony. Listening to what the mandalas were telling me led me out of a dark place and, indirectly, to my decision to become a psychotherapist.
Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology, believed mandalas are a pathway to the essential Self and used them in his own personal transformation. In a small way, as both mandala artist and psychotherapist, I carry on Jung's tradition. I display several of the flower mandalas in my treatment room, and from time to time they become part of discussions with clients. The combination of natural elements and digital manipulation seems both to stimulate and to relax them. I hope these images will further the process of harnessing the power of art to heal and transform.