Shift Your Vision for 2012 and Beyond with a Sand Painting

Sand Painting for a New Vision

The creativity and expression brought forth as we develop a sand painting has no limits. We are free to break through barriers holding us back from our “becoming.”

The practice of building a sand painting aids the energy transformation in a symbolic and mythic manner. As our sand painting shifts, so does the energy, and ultimately our soul’s or life journey.

Starting from a place of pure heart and mind we create a sand painting that shows who we are today…and gives us a clean palette with which to create. We use this shamanic tool to work with our problems or visions for manifestation – whether it’s the challenges of raising children in today’s world, learning to live life on our own, putting food on the table or deciding who we want to become when we grow up.


Begin by finding a place that calls to you…

Abeautiful place outdoors or a place that fits the subject of your “vision.”  If you don’t have access to a space outside, this can even be a tray of sand on a balcony if you are so inclined (always remember to explore outside the “box” of what you think is “right” – there is rarely a wrong way to do this if you follow your heart).

Open sacred space for the work which will follow… either using the invocation in this tradition by calling upon the six directions – Winds of the South, serpent…Winds of the West, jaguar…Winds of the North, hummingbird…Winds of the East, eagle/condor… Pachamama, Mother Earth… Creator, the One who is known by a thousand names. You may also use prayers and thoughts, which are meaningful to you.

Now you may begin with the spirit catcher or the outer edge, which will contain the energy of your painting. You may create this circle by drawing with a stick or finger in the earth or by using natural elements such as sticks, stems of flowers, stones, etc. to define the space. Do this from your heart not your mind. Open your wiracocha or the bubble of light surrounding you.

As you feel what you want to create begin to notice what natural elements are around you. What do you see that represents or symbolizes your stories, your passions, and your life. If you have stones from your mesa that represent the wounds or shadow parts in context with your painting then place them in the appropriate area. Try not to overthink this process but let yourself be guided by your instincts – something deeper within you. We are bringing the literal to this painting so that the elements involved can begin their journey through symbol, myth, and the energetic…and be transformed within your life.

Sit with this painting – let it speak to you through words, images and beyond. Feel it. Sense it. Breathe it in.

In this process the pachamama will help transmute the energy you bring from your wounds through your stones (kuyas). Remember that you are giving this “theme” up to the divine and to the pachamama. Sometimes there are no words, only symbols or feelings. Alberto Villoldo says this is the path to becoming one with the earth….and the energies being willing to work with you.


When working with a sand painting, you are working at the mythic or soul level of engagement, where language is ceremony and images. There is no difference between you and the image.


As you sit in meditation with your painting, feel free to make changes – add to or remove items; shift things from one place to another; and breath your prayers into the circle or objects…all from a place of the divine rather than your “mind”.

Once you feel complete and have given everything over to your painting… close sacred space and release the elements back to nature. You may also bury or take specific items to the fire in ceremony.

Now it is time to step back – and practice non-attachment.

“True healing is nothing less than an awakening to a vision of our healed nature and the experience of infinity.”

Alberto Villoldo


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