Almost all physical evidence of the medieval Cathars has been erased, systematically destroyed by the Roman Church. What remains are a carving here, a button or an old coin there to suggest that the Cathars knew full well the healing power of mandalas.
Arthur Guirdham was a British psychiatrist who treated several clients who believed themselves to be the reincarnated souls of Cathar perfects. In his book The Great Heresy, he wrote that “Seven centuries ago the Cathars used [completing mandalas] to give insight into the nature and potentialities of those wished to be Parfaits,” both to weed out those with healing potential and to discern there particular aptitudes.
In Elmina’s Fire, the Signora Bonata introduces Elmina and her sisters to the Flower of Life as part of their journey on the path to perfection”. This is how I imagine it taking place:
“Can you teach us to drawn a Flor de la Vida like the one carved on Magdalena’s loom?” asked Amelha.
“Of course I can. It’s very easy,” the signora replied. She picked up a piece of charcoal and tied a length of twine to it. She instructed Amelha, “Just put your finger on the twine and hold it fast. Now move the charcoal around it.”
Amelha drew a perfect circle on the table and my heart tightened in envy.
“Next place the end of your twine on any part of the circle. Hold it fast and then draw another circle.” Amelha did as she was told.
“Do you see where the circles intersect? Place the twine at one of those intersections ad draw another circle, and then another until you have made a flower,” continued Na Bonata.
“This is the seed in which all things find their being,” she said.
I wondered what she meant, but she went on. “God’s kingdom is like an everlasting circle. Right here in its center is the divine heart. Each circle is the love of God, sent out in all directions. Look at the petals formed when the circles meet. They make a rose of purest perfection, the rose each one of you can be.
“Now watch,” Bonata said. She took the charcoal from Amelha and added more circles to the the drawing.
As I looked down upon the Flor, I thought that I could feel its energy moving within me. “The roses could go on forever,” I commented.
“Indeed they do,” replied the signora. “They are your souls, all roses and all held within the fullness of God’s love. Do not forget this Flor. Thinking upon it can give you great healing in the most trying of times.”