What is Sandplay?

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Sandplay is a lively and restorative investment for both children and adults. Sandplay is a deeply spiritual process whereby unconscious psychic material is deliberately engaged through a semiconscious ‘state of play’ with various archetypal figures which grab the attention of the sandplayer on any particular day. Sandplay activates holistic human energies allowing an experience of both the masculine energies of ‘order’ (conscious attention to the process) and the feminine energies of ‘womb-like nurture’ (allowing oneself to sink into a place of semi-conscious creative expression).

In the compassionate presence of the Spiritual Director, the sandplayer engages in a ‘waking dream’ engaging psychic energies which come together to bring both knowledge of one’s sacred destiny and psychic repair. Psychic material that has been a hinderance loosens its stubborn hold through the movement and integration of the archetypal figures in the sand due to the conscious witnessing of activated unconscious material. Reverent attentiveness to the placement of representations in the sand gradually removes the charge of negative unconscious material and eventually fosters emergence of psychic equilibrium.

Jung calls this process of resolution and growth through engagement of archetypal material presented from the unconscious as being a drive to “individuation”. Jung traces this phenomenon as being present in all human cultures, both ancient and modern, through expressions of spirituality, philosophical systems, myths and ritual. Alchemical concepts depicted by Western mystics, scientists and philosophers can be recognized in the stories created through placement of sandplay figures. Thus, the sandplay process connects our present human quest to find our individual purpose and meaning to a greater history of fellow human struggles as the rewards of spiritual connection and awareness bring possibility of hope and of good unfolding.

Northern Regional Sandplay Society