Jill's living mandala ceremony, part of the Healing Voice Week Intensive workshop, is rooted in the understanding of the nature of mind and enlightenment in ancient Buddhist teachings. She has activated the mandala, no longer seeing it just as a contemplative image, but has recreated it as a living pilgrimage through which the group journeys over several days, immersed in a combination of magical continuous chant, deep spiritual practice, powerful healing and psychological transformation. Each mandala week is different, associated with a different aspect of enlightenment, different practices, chants and psychological processes.
Through the work the group experiences the union of the sacred masculine and feminine, bliss and emptiness. In the mandalas associated with different aspects of the Goddess Tara, for example, her divine gifts become available to us through this practice and include enlightened achievement, karma-free, appropriate and fearless action; happiness and fulfilment; the immediate granting of wishes; luminous wisdom and enlightenment. This extraordinarily powerful week enables us to become effective in relation to who we are, our abundance, our relationships and how we fulfil our passion in the world. The practice enables us to heal ourselves and overcome obstructions to these aspirations, to achievements in life, work, relationships, emotional and physical health, and to bring about order and flow in our lives. The work can liberate us from afflictive emotions, leading us to ecstasy, joy and freedom and towards achieving the essential state of reality as enlightened human beings.
The April-May residential retreat is held over the festival of Beltane or May Day, a festival of fecundity when the male forces of heaven penetrate the feminine richness of the earth (represented in traditional England by the Maypole). We celebrate May Day and harness these forces using sound as the bridge between the worlds to connect to the source of power through the instrument of our own voice and to purify the body, the elements and past karma.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the ultimate liberation is to transform the elements of the body into the essence of their substance, the rainbow colours, and ultimately achieve the body of light the rainbow body. In the October-November London Mandala retreat, over the traditional festival of the blessed dead and all souls, we explore the traditional methods of understanding conscious dying and the nature of the process of the bardo, overcoming attachment in order to become healed and liberated.