"Mandala" (Sanskrit) means "circle," also "magic circle."  Its symbolism includes - to mention only the most important forms - all concentrically arranged figures, round or square patterns with a centre, and radial or spherical arrangements. 

More than twenty years earlier (in 1918), in the course of my investigations of the collective unconscious, I discovered the presence of an apparently universal symbol of a similar type – the mandala symbol.  To make sure of my case, I spent more than a decade amassing additional data, before announcing my discovery for the first time.   

Mandala symbolism … has been interpreted by Jung as grounded in what he identified as the four basic psychological functions by virtue of which we apprehend and evaluate all experience, namely, sensation and intuition, which are the apprehending functions, and thinking and feeling, which are those of judgment and evaluation.  A life governed by prudent forethought may be undone by an upsurge of feeling, just as one swayed by feeling may, for a lack of prudent forethought, be carried, one day, to disaster.  (“Never go out with strangers!”).  The cruciform diagram to the left makes it evident that in this view of Jung’s “four functions” we are dealing with the claims and forces of two pairs of opposites; for as feeling and thinking are opposed, so too are sensation and intuition.  TMD 193

The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages.  It signifies the wholeness of the self.  This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man. 

They are to be found in almost everywhere throughout history.  The early middle ages are especially rich in Christian mandalas showing Christ in the centre with the four evangelists, or their symbols, at the cardinal points.  The Egyptians represented Horus with his four sons in the same way.  Mandalas are found in  paintings of the Pueblo and Navaho Indians as well, but the most beautiful ones are, of course, those of the East, especially those belonging to Tibetan Buddhism. 

I have also found mandala drawings among the mentally ill, and indeed among persons who certainly did not have the least idea of any of the connections we have discussed.  

For the most part, the mandala form is that of a flower, cross, or wheel, with a distinct tendency towards quadripartite structure. 

Out of this irritation and disharmony within myself there proceeded, the following day, a changed mandala: part of the periphery had burst open and the symmetry was destroyed….

…  Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is:  “Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.”  And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions.

When I began drawing the mandalas, however, I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, all the steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point – namely, to the mid-point.  It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center.  It is the exponent of all paths.  It is the path to the center, to individuation.  

… Uniform development exists, at most, only at the beginning; later, everything points toward the center.  This insight gave me stability, and gradually my inner peace returned.  I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.  Perhaps someone else knows more, but not I.

Among my patients I have come across cases of women who did not draw mandalas but who danced them instead.  In India this type is called mandala nrithya or mandala dance, and the dance figures express the same meanings as the drawings.  My patients can say very little about the meaning of the symbols but are fascinated by them and find them in some way or other expressive and effective with respect to their psychic condition.  

The Golden Flower is a mandala symbol which I have often met with in the material brought me by my patients. 

Insofar as analytical treatment makes the “shadow” conscious, it causes a cleavage and a tension of opposites which in their turn seek compensation in unity.  The adjustment is achieved through symbols.  The conflict between the opposites can strain our psyche to the breaking point, if we take them seriously, or if they take us seriously.  MDR 335        

The tertium non datur of logic proves its worth: no solution can be seen.  If all goes well, the solution, seemingly of its own accord, appears out of nature.  Then and then only is it convincing.  It is felt as “grace.”  Since the solution proceeds out of the confrontation and clash of opposites, it is usually an unfathomable mixture of conscious and unconscious factors, and therefore a symbol, a coin split into two halves which fit together precisely.(7)  It represents the result of the joint labors of consciousness and the unconscious, and attains the likeness of the God-image in the form of the mandala, which is probably the simplest model of a concept of wholeness, and one which spontaneously arises in the mind as a representation of the struggle and reconciliation of opposites.  335            

The clash, which is at first of a purely personal nature, is soon followed by the insight that the subjective conflict is only a single instance of the universal conflict of opposites.  Our psyche is set up in accord with the structure of the universe, and what happens in the macrocosm likewise happens in the infinitesimal and most subjective reaches of the psyche.   MDR   335

For that reason the God-image is always a projection of the inner experience of a powerful vis-à-vis.  MDR 335  

......    In this way the imagination liberates itself from the concretism of the object and attempts to sketch the image of the invisible as something which stands behind the phenomenon.  MDR 336   I am thinking here of the mandala, the circle, and the simplets (mental) division of the circle, the quadrant, or as the case may be, the cross.   MDR 336

In particular, mandala symbolism shows a marked tendencey to concentrate all the archetypes on a common centre, comparable to the relationship of all layman unfamiliar with this symbolism is easily misled into thinking that the mandala is an artificial product of the conscious mind. Naturally mandalas can be imitated, but this does not prove that all mandalas are imitations. They are produced spontaneously, without external influence, even by children and adults who have never come into contact with any such ideas. One might perhaps regard the mandala as a reflection of the ego-centric nature of consciousness, though this view would be justified only if it could be proved that the unconscious is a secondary phenomenon. But the unconscious is undoubtedly older and more original than consciousness, and for this reason one could just as well call the egocentrism of consciousness a reflection or imitation of the "self"-centrism of the unconscious. MC 463

The mandala symbolizes, by its central point, the ultimate unity of all archetypes as well as of the multiplicity of the phenomenal world, and is therefore the empirical equivalent of the metaphysical concept of a unus mundus. The alchemical equivalent is the lapis and its synonyms, in particular the Microcosm. MC 463

All of the descriptions, from the City of the Sun in the story of Alexander to Thomas the Apostle’s sepulcher in the legend of Prester John, present a picture of what is without question a mandala, a symbol of the Self.  Significantly, in the legend of Alexander, the limitations of the young world conqueror are pointed out to him each time he encounters the symbol.  TGL 108

   In mandala symbolism generally, the sign or figure at the center of the quadrated circle is crucial, in every sense of the word.  Like the hub of a turning wheel, it is at the point where opposites come together: East and West, North and South, right and left, up and down; also, motion and rest, time and eternity; as in the words of T.S. Eliot in “Burnt Norton”:

Unless everything deceives us, they signify nothing less than a psychic centre of the personality not to be identified with the ego.  P&A 98

At the still point of the turning world.  Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement.  And do not call it fixity,

Where past and future are gathered.  Neither movement from nor towards,

Neither ascent nor decline.  Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.

And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

Such experiences have a helpful or, it may be, annihilating effect upon man. 

He cannot grasp, comprehend, dominate them; nor can he free himself or escape from them, and therefore feels them as overpowering.  Recognizing that they do not spring from his conscious personality, he calls them man, daimon, or God.  Science employs the term “the unconscious,” thus admitting that it knows nothing about it, for it can know nothing about the substance of the psyche when the sole means of knowing anything is the psyche.  MDR 336

Therefore the validity of such terms as mana, daimon, or God can be neither disproved nor affirmed.   

We can, however, establish that the sense of strangeness connected with the experience of something objective, apparently outside the psyche, is indeed authentic.  MDR 336

The symbols now under consideration are not concerned with the manifold stages and transformations of the individuation process, but with the images that refer directly and exclusively to the new centre as it comes into consciousness.  These images belong to a definate category which I call mandala symbolism.  P&A 41

The true mandala is always an inner image, which is gradually built up through (active) imagination, at such times when psychic equilibrium is disturbed or when a thought cannot be found and must be sought for, because it is not contained in holy doctrine.  P&A 96

Experience shows that individual mandalas are symbols of order, and that they occur in patients principally during times of psychic disorientation or re-orientation.  As magic circles they bind and subdue the lawless powers belonging to the world of darkness, and depict or create an order that transforms the chaos into a cosmos.  AION 32

… mandala structures have the meaning and function of a centre of the unconscious personality. Aion 204

The mandala symbol sketched by Boehme(5) is a representation of the split God, for the inner circle is divided into two semicircles standing back to back. 

The term Mandala with us has taken on an importance which it does not possess in India, where it is merely one of the Yantras, an instrument of worship in the Lamaistic cult and in tantric yoga.  And mind you, the tantric school is little known in India – you could ask millions of Hindus, and they would not have the faintest idea of what it was.  TPoKY12

The circle of knights around Arthur mirrors the symbol of the Self as it was manifested in the first half of the Christian age, an image in which the light, spiritual, masculine aspect of Logos predominated one-sidedly and whose vital expansion served the civilizing purpose of overcoming pagan and animal primitivity.  TGL 216

A Tibetan abbot once told Dr. Jung that the most impressive mandalas in Tibet are built up by imagination, or directed by fantasy, when the psychological balance of the group is disturbed or when a particular thought cannot be rendered because it is not yet contained in the sacred doctrine and must therefore be searched for.  In these remarks, two equally important basic aspects of mandala symbolism emerge.  The mandala serves a conservative purpose – namely, to restore a previously existing order.  But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique. The second aspect is perhaps even more than the first, but does not contradict it.  For, in most cases, what restores the old order simultaneously involves some element of new creation.  In the new order the older pattern returns on a higher level.  The process is that of the ascending spiral, which grows upward while simultaneously returning again and again to the same point.  M&HS 248