Art and Creativity Tool for Educators: Heart Art mandala'verse

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Sep 20, 2014 / 0 comments

Sometimes poetry and art can do more than soothe the soul - it can inspire! Such is the case with a new book we recently received for review. Written by SaraSwati Shakti, Heart Art mandala'verse is a beautiful book, filled with lovely poems and colorful mandalas.  You open it up, and get drawn in to the colorful manadalas and short poems. This book is a perfect tool for use in classrooms as art and creativity inspiration.


Art and Creativity Tool for Educators: Heart Art mandala'verse


We had a chance to catch up with SaraSwati Shakti, to find out about the book, inspiration, backstory, and more. Here's what she had to say...


Please tell us about your book, Heart Art mandala'verse.

Heart Art mandala'verse is a book in visuals and poetry that relates to my journey of staying in my heart during troubled times. As I was traversing the difficult changes needed to transform my life and to release all that was part of the life I had built until that time, it helped me to find and honour my true soul self. Drawing was a place I could commune with my inner wisdom. My Spirit was urging me to stay in my heart as I was dealing with my own transition, independence, and personal individuation. And learning about, and healing, myself using art. Mandala in the ancient Sanskrit language means a circle. And with my interest in spirituality and spiritual practice it felt natural to draw a circle and see what presented in my circle of life and what I observed in the world at the time. And it became a meditative practice. I enjoyed it. Using colours, and playfulness, and the beauty I could see emerging through the darkness, to keep me inspired for a better life. The poetry associated with each image came a couple of years later in a rush of inspiration, an automatic writing or journaling process. And when I sat back and re-read them they were charming, and delightful, and inspiring, and enchanting, and deeply meaningful, in describing the imagery and the need to recognise the heart as the source of our intelligent being.


Art and Creativity Tool for Educators: Heart Art mandala'verse author SaraSwati Shakti


What inspired you to write this book?

Many people who saw my journals were telling me how meaningful they were for them. And, as the world is going through challenging times, I wanted to spread the word to keep inspiring others to stay in their heart, particularly through challenging times.
I have always loved the quote by the Dalai Lama that said No matter what is going on, Never give up, Develop the Heart. And that became my mantra, my affirmation, my poem as a way of keeping me connected to my heartminds through changing times. My own art and poetry served to remind me to stay on my Spiritual path. Of the Sacred Heart.

Publishing the book of that art and poetry has allowed me to spread the message more widely. It is my offering to show people there are many ways to focus on the heart, with light, and delight, even when things are hard. And that art and poetry, an looking at things around us meaningfully, can sometimes give us what we need to keep focussed on the beauty of life when things feel hard. Art and poetry enhance our lives and can give us a necessary break from stress, routine, and a chattering mind.


How can educators use this book to inspire their students?

There are a variety of ways the book can be used by educators and facilitators.

  • Each image can be used as a focus for meditation, or a theme for a week, as a visual reminder to stay heart focused. I have a mandala focus that is a quick visual reminder of something that is important to me, or what I am or wish to achieve, in front of my desk, on my wall, even as a screensaver for my phone. And I now flick through the book and see what comes up for me as I sit with it.
  • The poems and verses can be recited and used rythmically to give people positive affirmations concerning something that is occurring in their lives. It is an easy way to remember and replace repetitively negative thought forms, as a way of inspiration and changing energetic vibration in a person, within a classroom, or in a workshop or play group setting
  • Teachers and parents can read it with children, flick through and pick a place in the book, and discuss what it means to them. It's a simple and easy way of bonding and intimacy.
  • Educators can demonstrate that drawings are both personal and beautiful and reflective of what is happening inside of us....and encourage their students to draw their own.
  • It can encourage creativity showing people that they do not need to be fine artists to gain the benefits of art as an activity, for a message, and to relax meditatively.
  • It can be a talking point around what the symbols in the drawing mean to the viewer, and create communication and meaningful discussion, about what is of heart importance to the individuals and the groups.
  • It can also be used to show a variety of themes, and then allowing the group to come up with and draw a collective mandala and verse as a team, allowing them to determine their own heart message.
  • It is applicable to all walks of life, and many life experiences. We all have a heart. And we all love. No matter what religion, culture, and economical orientation we come from. It can be used to build a common collective and interactive language.    



How can people create their own mandalas? What is the process?

All people really need is something they can use to create a circle, and some drawing things. I used an old CD, a journal, and a pencil box that travelled around with me. And wrapped it all in a special bag to protect it. Or at home I can use a cake base, even a plate, to find the right size. I choose pencils, that are soft and colourful, until they are sharpened to the end. I do not waste any of them.
As a process, I suggest the following:
1. Experiment with art things. Paper, pencils, and drawings. Get familiar with what feels good to you. Art is individual. Choose what is easy, economical, and available.

2. Allow yourself to tune into the comfort you prefer. Where and how is your body most relaxed? Is is better to sit at a desk, to stand, or to be outside to flow at your best? The comfort of creative expression is personally important.

3. Draw a circle. Breathe. Clear your mind. Move into the moment. Bow you head to your wondrous heart.

4. Then start somewhere. Perhaps the centre. Put pen to paper, and follow your hand, naturally. Let go, and see what transpires. A little like doodling, and following. And occasionally resting, and changing colours intuitively, without thinking.

5. Enjoy what is evolving. Even if you think you have made a mistake. Move beyond self-critique so you can just enjoy the creativity and keep flowing with it.

6. Tune into your body. Breathe. Learn what you like, colours, pressure, curves, lines, or texture, making a pattern, or just a flowing treasure. Each experience, like you, will be new. And in the process you are learning and evolving the true, in the moment, artful you.

7. And when it feels done, sit back, relax, contemplate, and celebrate what has come. A beautiful reflection of what is right for you at that time. Paste it up. File it in a journal, show it to those you love, keep it handy as a part of your evolving art life story. 

8. And most of all, have fun.





What do mandalas mean to you? I love how you match them with the poetry!

Thank You! I just love mandalas. They are so precious to me. I do them almost daily. The mandalas usually come first and then the poems come later as an inspiration for me and those I work with. I have always had an interest in spirituality, and people's evolving journeys and life stories, and as an educator and psychotherapist I find art and poetry are powerful and beautiful ways to learn and teach and inspire simply and heartfully.


What's up next for you?

Ah, more art, and getting the message out more widely. And then my next book, Heart Art imagery and poetry of the Sacred Feminine. And honouring women, and the gifts of the beauty and power of femininity in a changing world. Another series of mandalas and poems that emerged for me in reclaiming my feminine essence.
I also hope to make available more Loving Psyche Heart Art education materials to encourage people to honour their hearts, the gifts of the feminine, nature, creativity and poetry, spiritual development, and our emerging individual beauty and how it contributes to the world. I have a range of mandalas for different audiences ready to be available as I have the time and resources, a series for colouring, and a series specifically for children, as a couple of examples.


Learn more at:




Note: we received a review copy of this beautiful book from the publisher - thank you!