Wise Woman Within

Stage 12: Opening to Grace: Transcendent Ecstasy

Aaaah here we are at the last stage of the Great Round of Mandala…and this wheel just keeps turning as it marks an ending and a beginning.  We finish this Great Round and get ready to start anew by taking the essence of this stage and all we have learnt and experienced into Stage 1: Void and begin again.  The Great Round of Mandala represents the unification of our psyche as we journey through the 12 stages to allow the Jungian process of individuation to unfold.

Stage 12 represents midnight and the wisdom of old age.  In the northern hemisphere it is represented by the darkest month, the longest night, winter solstice and the idea of resting in the darkness.   Somehow even in the southern hemisphere this stage seems appropriate as the year comes to a close and we have a time of celebration, acceptance and expansion as we pause, rest and reflect before the new year, the new round, begins.   

This stage can be a time of honoring the past and welcoming the new.  This stage can be represented by near-death experiences, death, rebirth, giving birth and experiencing glimpses of enlightenment. 

The feelings in this stage after the pain and disorientation of stage 11 can be joy, relief, love, forgiveness, joyful resolution, orgasmic letting go, ecstasy, an increased awareness, increased consciousness and a sense of acceptance and allowing.  There can be a feeling of awe-inspiring, blissful, spiritual alignment, synchronicity and a sense of transformation as we let go of the old and breathe in the new. 

We can experience peak spiritual experiences of being in flow with and connected to all of life; and this can be supported through vision quests, visualisations or shamanic journeys.   Ancient sacred rites and rituals are important in this stage to create spiritual connection to the Divine Mystery of life.

We can experience a deep sense of the Eternal NOW, stepping into a grounded sense of BEING and feeling the powerful energy of our true self and pure consciousness.  There can be a release of what is not within our control, a trust in the Divine order of life and Divine wisdom as we step into the uncertainty of not knowing with a calm acceptance and a readiness for whatever comes next.  

Inner conflicts we may have can feel resolved in this stage and there can be a sense of completion, and fulfillment.    Sometimes these inner conflicts or paradoxes of life are resolved through non-rational means and we experience a new complex identity, that integrates all parts of our self, a sense of wholeness and an acceptance of the light and the shadow, the joy and the suffering.

As we accept these parts of our self we can find we feel more acceptance of all parts of others. In healing our true self, we are healing the collective consciousness and we are able to bring healing to others. We are able to bring about positive change in the world as we are guided by Divine inner wisdom and we trust in Divine support throughout the ups and downs of life.


Often these mandalas are of glowing or radiant light expressing our true centre, our body’s ecstatic spiritual experience or symbolically representing the Divine by birds in flight or a chalice or vessel of divine light/energy. These mandalas may express your own symbolic meaning of Grace or the Divine or the truth of all that we are as you understand it.


When did you feel the oneness, the interconnectedness with life?  When have you felt the ability to hold with loving, open, spacious awareness the pain and suffering and the freedom and joy of life?  What spiritual practices help you to feel this?  How can you encourage more of these spiritual practices in your life?

As above, so below, so within, so without,

As the Universe, so the Soul. “


Personally, I have had a recent experience of this stage while on retreat as I was guided by my teacher to hold the suffering of mother earth with loving, open, spacious awareness.   He talked about this loving awareness (or the Divine) as being ‘that which cannot be named and that which cannot be described.’    What helped me was an image created from something he said: ‘the cosmos without is also the cosmos within’…and the feeling of the cosmic spaciousness within me gives me a fleeting ability (it comes and goes) to feel the pain and suffering in the earth while also feeling the joy and the freedom that is here in this moment.  This deep internal feeling gives me the ability to sit with not knowing…while also feeling like it is possible take loving and compassionate action to do what I can for the world…. Phew, I hope I can keep coming back to this image and feeling whenever I need it! 🙂

A retreat is such a beautiful place to experience this loving spaciousness and then the challenge is to do enough strong spiritual practice to remain steady in this feeling while acting with love and compassion in the world! My teacher was very supportive in saying we all need to retreat from the world to recharge before going back out in the world to act with love and compassion.

With much love and compassion for you, and may you have a well-deserved retreat as you pause between the end of this year and the next xx Sara

Information for this blog came from Susanne F. Fincher’s The Mandala Workbook and Julia Gibbon’s Mandala Magic Program in 2017 

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