MARI (Mandala Assessment Research Instrument) has been called
The Doorway into the Wonder of the Psyche

The MARI is a comprehensive system that uses symbols, known as mandalas, to reveal the inner truth and reality of the subject as it is –not what the ego filters of consciousness would want it to be, but what it really is.

Carl Jung recognized the mandala as “the centre of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged and which is, itself, a source of energy. This center,” said Jung, “is not felt or thought of as ego but, if one may so express it, as the self.”

Jung’s description of the mandala is also an excellent description of the MARI.



Symbols predate culture, language and even time. They are so much a part of us that we make mental connections with them that are not often conscious. An upward pointing triangle, for example, is typically chosen by people who are beginning something new –literally or symbolically.


The individual is then directed to choose, from a pool of 45 color cards, the color that they feel “goes with” each of their chosen symbols. Art therapists have long recognized the connections between color and the psychological associations that are typically made on an ‘other than conscious’ level. These colors add dimensions that may be emotional, physical, cognitive or spiritual to the chosen symbols.


The sets of symbol and color cards are then placed on a ‘field’ that is comprised of thirteen developmental stages that are arranged sequentially. In addition, there are, not just one, but three symbols at each stage of the MARI, to reflect differing aspects of that stage.


This field of developmental stages, known as the Great Round, is where the visual picture of the psyche is revealed. It is the Great Round that represents the central point, as well as the stages around the periphery of the psyche, to which everything is related and arranged.


The individual has also been asked, after they chose their initial cards, to think of an issue that they are currently dealing with in their life. This issue need not be shared. S/he was asked to look at the remaining cards and allow him or herself to be drawn intuitively to one or two symbols and colors that seem to represent guidance for their issue. After their original card choices were discussed, the guidance cards are then placed on the Great Round.

Choices of symbol and color are intuitive

It is the nature of the MARI that makes it work. Thirty nine symbols printed on clear plastic are spread out before the subject. The subject is told to allow themselves to be drawn to six symbols they like or are attracted to. This first “cut” reflects the most important contents in the psyche or registers most strongly in the individual body-mind, which is both the conscious and unconscious. These first six choices reflect areas of tension or attention that cannot hide. They accurately reveal what is going on with us at that time.

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