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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Succulent Propagation Mandalas

From Leaf and Clay, we have this great little tutorial on how to make succulent propagation mandalas.

If you’ve ever propagated a succulent from a leaf, you know it’s a lengthy process. We’re talking months and months. Since I’m not the most patient person in the world I decided to make the most of it by making succulent propagation mandalas. Basically arranging the leaves in a pattern that then becomes living art. I’m excited to share some tips and tricks and hope this will inspire you to create your own!

What you’ll need:

  • Succulent leaves
  • Something to propagate on: a tray, bowl, serving platter, pie dish, basically anything large and sturdy enough to hold the soil and leaves.
  • Soil
  • Spray bottle or watering can

Step 1: Getting Leaves For Your Propagation Mandalas

If you’re unfamiliar with how to remove succulent leaves it’s fairly simple. Gently twist the leaf back and forth and it should snap right off. Just be sure to remove the leaf in its entirety, if it tears or a portion remains on the stem it won’t root. (If you have plants that have become “leggy” this is the perfect time to remove those bottom leaves!) After removing the leaves you need to give them a few days to dry out. Putting them directly on the soil without allowing the ends to callous over can cause them to rot instead of root. I typically wait about 2-3 days.

Step 2: Picking A Propagation Mandala Tray

Have you ever gone to a nursery and bought a handful of plants and been given a plastic tray to carry them on? Save them! This is the perfect opportunity to reuse them! These are great because they allow the water to drain and they’re deep enough for the roots to grow. If you have access to the trays that’s great, if not just look around the kitchen, you’re sure to find something in there that will work! Possible items to use include trays, bowls, serving platters, pie dishes, or basically anything large and sturdy enough to hold the soil and leaves.

Step 3: Filling Your Tray With Soil

I typically use E.B. Stone Naturals Cactus Mix, however, I have also used regular potting soil. Cactus soil retains less moisture which is ideal for potted succulents. When you’re propagating you won’t be doing heavy watering so it’s not as important. You’ll want at least an inch or two of soil. If you have a nursery tray put down a few layers of newspaper to prevent the soil from falling out.

Step 4: Arrange Your Propagation Mandala

Now the fun part! I like to quickly sort my leaves by color and/or size. This makes it easier to create the mandala. Arrange your leaves in a circular and symmetrical manner. The possibilities are endless, just let your creativity flow! Take a look at some of my designs below to get some inspiration.

Step 5: Water Your Propagation Mandala

The simplest way to water is with a spray bottle. Unlike fully grown succulents, your leaves will need to be watered on an almost daily basis. Just give the leaves a nice spritz. Be sure you don’t soak the soil, especially if you are propagating on something that doesn’t have drainage. I use a watering can because I keep my trays outside and it’s much easier because I have so many! Never water unless the soil has completely dried from the previous watering.

Step 6: Hurry Up And Wait

Finally, sit back and enjoy your propagation mandala! It can take months for your leaves to produce pups; at least you have something pretty to look at while you wait.


  • Place the completed mandala where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight.
  • If you don’t see much progress at first, be patient. Some leaves will sprout within a week, others can take up to a month or longer.
  • Know when to toss a leaf. If it begins to look transparent, feels mushy, or shrivels and dries out, toss it. Be prepared for some loss. Not all the leaves will make it but if you’re doing things right, you should only lose a few.
  • This is a really fun activity to involve kids in! A pie tin is the perfect size for a child to create a mandala of their own.
  • Spring/Summer is the best time to propagate!
  • It can also be fun to incorporate different elements. I’ve used seashells, crystals and heart shaped rocks in my mandalas.

Some Ideas:

The Shiva Linga Mandala

To give tangible shape to the idea of Shiva is not easy. He is after all, Maheshvara, the greatest embodiment of godhead, the cosmic spirit. Most people prefer to worship a symbol, one that fills the mind with awe and gives shape in the unconscious to the fabulous idea behind the image.

Shiva’s symbol, the linga, is perhaps the simplest conceivable. According to the Matsya Purana, Shiva’s linga is the divine phallus, the source of the soul-seed which contains within it, the essence of the entire cosmos.

The linga itself is an ordinary stone that rises from the fertile earth, reaching out to touch the radiant sky. The serpent represents the coiled energy of Kundalini, the power that enables seeds to germinate and animals to conceive. The serpent is also said to be Ananta Sesha, the great serpent of eternity, on whose coils rests the universe.

In this image, Shiva dances inside his Linga. More authentic Indian Art can be found at Exotic India.

Chanting The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

It is said that chanting of Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra(Shiva Mantra) generates divine vibrations that ward off all the negative and evil forces and creates a powerful protective shield protecting the one who chants against accidents and misfortunes of every kind. Recitation of the mantra creates vibration that pulsates through every cell, every molecule of human body and tears away the veil of ignorance.

This mantra ignites a fire within that consumes all negativity and purifies entire system. It is also said to have a strong healing power and can cure diseases declared incurable even by the doctors. Many believe Maha Mrityunjay Mantra to be a mantra that can conquer death and connect human beings to their own inner divinity.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra:

Om Tryamlakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pusti – vardhanam
Urva – rukamiva Bandhanan
Mrtyor – muksheeya Ma – amritat


Om. We worship The Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshipping him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk.


The mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva who is addressed as Sankara and Trayambaka. Sankara is sana (blessings) and Kara (the Giver). Trayambaka is the three eyed one (where the third eye signifies the giver of knowledge, which destroys ignorance and releases us from the cycle of death and rebirth).

~Desktop wallpaper by Shirley Gibson

Passion Art Mandala

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.”

Joss Whedon

Credits and Links:

Clouds of Love

Says Kabir:
the clouds of love have gathered,
raining over me,
my soul soaked within,
green woods around.

Says Kabir:
do not be proud,
seeing your mansion.
tomorrow you will lie beneath the earth,
tufts of grass over you.

Says Kabir:
those who do not love God
know no joy –
like a guest in an empty house,
they come and depart.

Your God dwells within you
like fragrance in the flower,
musk lies within the deer,
yet seeks it afar.

Worlds pass away reading scriptures,
none the wiser.
he who understands the word `Love’
is the wise one.

The Hindu says Ram is supreme
the Muslim, Rahim.
both die fighting each other,
neither knowing the Truth.

Remembering You ever
egoless, I have merged with You.
no more the cycle of births and deaths,
wherever the eye goes I see You.

Brimming with devotion to God I am.
this world tires me no more.
a pitcher once baked, says Kabir,
needs no potter’s wheel again.

– Kabir

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