Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Different Way to Paint

Recently, I worked with my friend Carolyn and her daughter Cassie, both of whom are on the same Shamanic path that I am on, and they taught me a new technique for sand paintings.

The version they taught me, which they learned from Wake and Kinlen Wheeler, is much more playful and inquisitive than the traditional method I was taught. Using a series a small toys, Carolyn and Cassie asked me to randomly arrange them on a tabletop, in which ever order I liked, using a border or not, and whenever I felt I was finished I could stop. 

The best thing about the process is that because we used toys, my adult mind didn't try to over think the process and I was able to quickly tap into Spirit and work mythically without any preconceived notions of what each toy could, would or should mean.

When I came to the point at which I felt I was ready to evaluate the sand painting, we did just that. 

My painting included:
  • A Green Winged Fairy which represented me. 
  • The archetype of Jaguar 
  • The archetype of serpent
  • A green bracelet which we discovered represented the ability of my serpent archetype to become invisible, or in other words, to source from the mythic realm.
  • A Llama which we discovered represented the ability to see the true essence of anything and anyone (Because he knew that the green bracelet was really an invisible serpent.)
  • An Owl which we discovered represented the ability to transition into an altered state to work within the mythic realm.
  • A Duck which we discovered represented my interpretation of the innocence of childhood (feeding ducks at the park) and the importance of accessing that childhood curiosity and joy.
  • A Wolf, which at first I believed to be an aspect of myself which needed to be kept in check at all times, but which we ultimately discovered was the ability I have to trust myself in all situations. 
  • A Bear which we discovered represented strength and fortitude in my life, and a tiara which crowned the Bear and which I defined as an increased importance for these values. 
  • A rainbow ribbon that served as the boundaries of my literal world.
When we evaluated the original placements of this items in my painting, the Wolf became the main character. At first I had placed him in the front of the painting with Owl intently watching over him, perhaps to ensure that he was always "the good wolf." But in this placement, I did not trust Wolf, which ultimately is an aspect of myself. (In fact, every item I chose and every definition I gave it is a aspect of myself.) So how could I shift the energy and trust my Wolf (and trust myself)?

At first I believed Wolf needed to be placed with his "pack" the Jaguar and the Bear. But the energy was not right there either. In placing him with his "pack," I was merely changing who was supervising him - no longer Owl, but his "pack." Finally, I realized Wolf did not need to be supervised at all, and he took his place beside me as a trusted friend.

My final shifted sand painting represented the supportive people and qualities that exist in my life and reminded me that I can access this support at any time.

I can't thank Carolyn and Cassie enough for showing me this new and powerful way of creating energetic shifts in my life! I would encourage anyone to try it. You don't need to be a Shaman, you just need to be curious and willing to evaluate your existing beliefs honestly.


  1. Thanks, Emily for a very interesting post. I've never heard of this before and I loved the insights you shared.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture's Worth