From Year 7

Year 7 English

In English, the Year 7s have begun work on their new text Spirited Away. This text is a 2001 fantasy adventure film, stylised in Japanese animation. It follows the story of a young girl who learns to trust in herself and face her greatest fears. So far, we have studied the narrative and the characters, and will be putting our essay writing skills to the test using TEEL paragraphs. We will also be undergoing film studies, looking at how film elements can be used to convey messages, such as colour, framing and sound. The students are engaged and excited by the different culture in the film, whilst still relating to the main character. Year 7s are looking forward to more lessons studying Spirited Away!

I am enjoying watching the film, it is different to a novel and the hand drawn animations are amazing.
Frankie B
Learning about Japan has been fascinating and I love this text.
Samuel L

Tamara Lourdes
Year 7 Leader

Prayerful Personal Mandalas - Praying through artistic creativity

In Year 7, students have been exploring different prayers and ways of praying as part of their Religion unit regarding Prayer. Last week we reported that Year 7s had been exploring formal prayer in the chapel and had relished the spiritual experience of Christian mediation and its positive benefits as a form of personal prayer.

This week the students explored prayer through the art form of mandalas. The word mandala is a Sanskrit term that when translated means “circle.” In Buddhist and Hindu cultures, a mandala embraces symbolism and represents various aspects of Buddhist teachings. It is also an instrument used for prayer mostly in Japan, Tibet, and China. The mandala pattern is used across most religious traditions. It represents wholeness, holiness and all things encompassed by God.

In various spiritual traditions, the mandala is used as an object for focussing attention as an aid to meditation. A mandala is usually a very complex representation of different aspects of our universe and constitutes an instrument used for developing great qualities that will be of benefit to others.

The belief of a mandala is that as you begin your journey on the outside and proceed to the center, you will be guided through a process that will transform the universe from suffering and pain to one of joy, peace, and happiness. However, the true meaning of a mandala depends on the individual, the creation or observation of that image that centers around the awareness of your place or purpose in the world through meditation.

In Christianity, there are many forms of mandalas, such examples include the Celtic cross, the halo, the labyrinth and rose windows. Students were shown a mandala as a way of praying Psalm 136. They were then familiarised with the benefits of mandalas including

  • Self-expression
  • A sense of connection
  • Improve concentration, increase relaxation
  • Relieve stress, foster mindfulness
  • Alleviate insomnia, decrease anxiety and depression
  • Strengthen brain function, lower blood pressure

Students explored the use of symbols and colours within the various mandala representations. The colours used have different meanings and functions in culture, religion, as well as art. Students were encouraged to choose the right color for their personal representation of a mandala, in order to show the real and true meaning of each symbol that they had included in their mandala. Mandala colours and their meaning are based in psychology. For example:

  • Black: This is the mandala colour that symbolises deep thinking, mystery, and individuality.
  • White: When looking at this mandala colour, it symbolises purity and spirituality.
  • Red: The mandala colour that symbolises high energy, passion, and strength.
  • Orange: This is the mandala colour that symbolises intuition, transformation, creativity, and self-awareness.
  • Yellow: A mandala colour that symbolises happiness, learning, wisdom, and joy.
  • Green: Symbolises greenery, care, love of nature, improving physical condition, and mental ability.
  • Blue: The colour that symbolises meditation and emotional healing.
  • Purple: A mandala colour that symbolises everything spiritual.
  • Pink: This mandala colour symbolises love and intuition

Symbolism is also very important. Mandala symbolism includes intricate patterns. Most of the common patterns are represented by a wheel, flower, tree, or jewel. At the center of the pattern, there is a dot which symbolises a space free of dimensions and is the starting point of the pattern. From there the dot is encircled by lines that create a geometrical pattern symbolising the universe. Some examples were

  • The circle: The circle starts at the center and leads outward, representing harmony, energy, soul, concentration.
  • The triangle: Is a symbol of vitality, transformation, and higher harmony, and is often the basis for sacred buildings.
  • The square: The square symbolises the temple and represents the seat of the deity.
  • The star: This shape is a representation of freedom and the clergy.
  • The heart: The heart symbolises love, union, solar warmth, and happiness.
  • The flower: The flower symbolises transience, beauty, and soul.
  • The cross: The cross serves as a connection between life and death, as well as earth and heaven.
  • The wheel: The wheel is a force of vigor.
  • The rainbow: The rainbow serves as a form of ribbon between people.

Year 7D students were invited to brainstorm symbols, colours and ideas, dreams, beliefs that were personal to them and create a personal Mandala. This activity served as a chance to slow down; to be quiet; to call on God's creative energy. The patterns they chose represented their personality, their feelings, their dreams, their beliefs, and their search for meaning in life.

Here are their examples and reflections:

On the edge of my mandala I have drawn the symbol waves. They represent a huge part of my life, as my family grew up at the beach. Also, my favourite bible verse is about waves You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. Psalm 89:9. This leads me to my next symbol: The cross. Growing up in a Christian family, God is often acknowledged. Within the household strong faith is encouraged, so I wanted to represent this.
Annamai W
My mandala shows symbols and pictures of things in my life that mean a lot to me: from things such as favourite colour pink (representing love and intuition), reading and writing, to nature like the beach. I am so grateful to God to have all these things in my life. I have added religion and culture. Of course, it’s very colourful as I wanted to include this symbolism. I found this type of personal prayer very relaxing and meaningful and a good way to express myself in prayer through art.
Zera M
My mandala shows and reflects my personality because it shows what is important to me and what I value as a Christian. In the bigger sections I represented what is most important to me which includes a cross for Christianity and prayer, my connection to animals, nature, friends and sport, and God.
Jessica M
My mandala I have created has a big meaning and purpose to who I am today as a Year 7 student at St Aloysius College. Faith, family, friends and culture are super important to me. I am half Australian and half Vietnamese and I’m also Christian, so my symbols and colours represent these things.
Lulu B
In my mandala I made the reading section blue because it represents mediation. I did this because reading is like a meditation and helps me relax. I also added a pink circle because circles represent soul and concentration. I made the circle pink because it represents love and I love to read. For the music section of my mandala, I coloured it yellow and orange as yellow represents happiness and joy and orange represents creativity - gifts God has given me. I added a paintbrush dripping with purple paint because purple represents everything spiritual.
Ella K
I chose bright colours for my mandala because it represents by big personality
Matilda O’M
In my mandala I have used colours that represent how I often feel with the cool tones being when I am calm and the warm tones for when I am bubbling with energy. I used hearts on the inside and the outside to represent what I show on the inside and outside of me. All the circles represent my love for doing things that are out of my comfort zone. The interlocking symbols to show my strong friendship and relationships
Ava B

The students found this form of personal prayer engaging, insightful and very relaxing.

Mrs Arnold 7D