Rev. Pamela's Blog
Rev. Pamela's Blog
Introduction to Sandplay Therapy
So you’re curious about Sandplay Therapy! Well, you have come to the right place. I have been in this therapy process for some time now in order to do my own therapeutic work, and have noticed an immense shift in my overall well-being each time I leave the therapist's office. It is the deeply transformative power that Sandplay provides that made me want to become a Sandplay Therapy Practitioner. My Pastoral Counseling practice offers SPIRIT-BASE COUNSELING to anyone of any spiritual or religious background. In my practice I focus on helping people to become who there were sent here to be. But, I always felt that talking could only get someone so far.
As I shift my focus to working more specifically with New Mothers, I felt that I needed something else to round-out my counseling work. Not only did I want to provide a space for New Mothers to grow and realize their MULTIHOOD, but I also wanted to provide counseling that would help them deal with the day-to-day demands of their new Archetypal role. Most therapy settings are based in talking--but I wanted to go BEYOND talking to provide well-rounded soul-assistance. Sometimes the last thing you want to do, after a long day of dealing with a baby and the demands of your family life--is talk! But think of being provided with the space to PLAY, to not have to verbally put into words your emotional state--but utilize your hands, your body, and symbolic figures to express how you feel.
The Sandplay Therapists of America website explains, “Sandplay is ‘hands on’ psychological work, and is an adjunct to talk therapy. It is a powerful therapeutic method that facilitates the psyche’s natural healing…the client creates a concrete manifestation from his or her imagination using sand, water, and miniature objects. In this way Sandplay helps honor and illuminate the client’s internal symbolic world, providing a place for its expression within a safe container.” (https://www.sandplay.org/about-sandplay/what-is-sandplay/)
As you can see from my example above, all of the work is done within the confines of a tray that has been painted blue on the inside (to invoke the feeling of water), filled with sand, to which actual water can also be added. Shelves of figurines and natural materials are provided in order to create a meaningful scene. The process unfolds as you simply choose items to which you are attracted--without the necessity of having a meaning behind them when you begin. As the process unfolds, you slowly understand what all of the figures represent symbolically, or perhaps you do not. But in the Unconscious, things are at work. Over the course of many trays an unraveling occurs where the symbolic begins to make sense in your Conscious mind.
It is definitely something that needs to be experienced to be understood! But now you have been given a taste of what it looks like. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, and if you are interested in diving into the SAND with me, please use the contact form on the Pastoral Counseling page.
I look forward to hearing from you! * Many Blessings * -Rev. P
My Magical Process
In 1994 my life changed forever. I went from only dabbling in spiritual pursuits, to being a full-on student of an amazing White Witch. I was 14 then, and attending a Christian High School where I didn't feel spiritually cultivated. It wasn't that I didn't love Christ--because I did and I still do! It was that I didn't feel like I could explore all the religious and spiritual paths the world had to offer. And I was super curious! Super curious about all of it--from Buddhism to Witchcraft and everything in between, I wanted to know MORE. From a young age, anything spiritual or religious fascinated me. I remember watching shows on Discovery channel about different religions and wanting to go to all of these far-off lands to immerse myself in their practices. I was particularly intrigued by a special on Stonehenge and the Druids, and felt that I was destined to be involved in a similar path. So when I met a White Witch who was giving a class on basic Witchcraft, I asked my parents if I could take it. They met with the woman and agreed to let me take the class. As I attended each class, hanging on every word of this beautiful grey-haired woman always dressed in flowing purple garments, I felt real MAGIC for the very first time. Working with crystals and the elements made me feel truly alive.
Fast forward to college and I finally had the opportunity to explore all the religions in which I had been interested. I took as many classes as I could in the Religion department, and additional ones on Women's Studies and Paganism as they were offered. During college I felt immensely drawn to Taoism and Buddhism and spent chunks of time devoted to practicing both. Each time I worked within the tenants of a different religion I felt like I was activating something deep inside of myself that needed to be awakened. I never felt like an particular religion was my end-all and be-all however, and I continued to explore other traditions even after finishing college. I spun widely in the ecstatic practice of Sufism, reading Rumi everyday and learning how to twirl. I spent years attending a Goddess Temple in Orange County where I learned how to honor and cherish my own feminine wisdom. I took up a Tibetan Buddhist practice for awhile, immersed my self in Druidry, spent several years attending an Episcopalian Church (which I still attend on occasion), and then realized the power of Shamanism.
In 2012, while leading a small woman's group doing transformation work based on the phases of the Moon, I heard the call to NOURISH OTHERS CONNECTION TO THE DIVINE-WEB-OF-ALL-REALITY. It was then that I decided to go to Seminary. I wasn't sure where that would take me, thinking at first I would be a Prison or Hospital Chaplain--but not feeling either were the right fit when I had the chance to do that work. What I knew I wanted to do was write a book on spiritual practices and lead workshops for people like me. People who didn't FIT into any one spiritual tradition. I was led to be ordained as an Interfaith Minister and Chaplain--getting the proper training to provide spiritual care; and then set off to write my first book in my final year of Seminary: Within the Sacred Circle: An Interfaith Guide to Shamanic Tools and Rituals of Transformation. During the creation of that book I taught workshops on connecting to a set of ritual objects and doing transformative work at the turning of the Seasons.
After graduating, I came face-to-face with my own mortality when I almost died of a kidney infection two weeks before getting married to the love of my life. It was then that I discovered the ancient art of Alchemy. As I made my way through 3 surgeries, I studied this arcane magical art and wrote a book on its main process. Rounding out my training as I taught workshops on the subject--I discovered the work of the Psychologist C.G. Jung and my life was yet again forever changed. This was the last important educational piece in my puzzle. Someone before me had gone down all of the same roads and was also called to help others heal. I then decided to go to Pacifica Graduate Institute to pursue my PhD in Depth Psychology and dive head first into the work of Jung.
My own magical process now include ALL of these different pieces, woven together to create my WHOLE. As you saw in my prior post, I work with a set of 16 Sacred Stones--based loosely on Druidic and Shamanic practices. Each one of those stones is associated with an archetype. Those archetypes are who guide my daily work and who I look towards for the expansion of my MULTIHOOD. Through honoring the cardinal directions, the elements, and the archetypal energies with which I am aligned--I have created a personal practice that nourishes my mind, body, and spirit. As I stated before, you do not need to believe in, or practice any of the spiritual disciplines that I do, to work with me. In fact, I love working with people of all religious persuasions because I find beauty and truth through interacting with you. But I wanted you to know how eclectic my own practice is--because I want you to be comfortable sharing ANYTHING with me. I do not judge anyone about their religious or spiritual beliefs because I honor the sacred in ALL! And I would love to have the opportunity to help you create your own spiritual practice and transform into the TRUE YOU!
Up next week: A Bit about SANDPLAY!!! Please feel free to comment below about your own spiritual path and practice and I look forward to having the opportunity to serve you.
I never thought I would be a Mother. I always considered myself an ARTIST, or a WRITER, or a STUDENT—depending on my circumstances…but never a Mom. Then in July 2017, my Mother was airlifted to the hospital with severe fungal pneumonia. She almost died. As a result, my cycle got all wonky. At the end of that month, my husband and I were celebrating our 5 year anniversary…my normal rhythm method calculations were all off…one thing led to another…and I got pregnant.
Let me state here: I AM PRO-CHOICE! It’s not like I didn’t have options. But something deep down inside of me was telling me: THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! My husband and I spent weeks discussing our options and decided to keep it.
I had gone through my darkest hours over the last couple of years--between battling a rare kidney issue two years before; dealing with my first husband and a prior lover dying tragically in the same month last year; and finally being face-to-face with my own Mother’s mortality this last summer! I had gone into the Underworld and stayed for a bit. Upon my arrival back on the surface, my world had changed—just like Persephone in the ancient myths.
But what did it all mean? Had it just been a series of random events? I don’t think so! To give you a little background: I had had a tumultuous upbringing, had been the victim of rape, and had so many hours in therapy I couldn’t keep count. After much study and spiritual exploration I had also written two books—one on pagan rituals across cultures and one on transforming your life through alchemy. Then I started my PhD in Depth Psychology after going through three horrifying kidney surgeries to save my life. I had worked and worked to refine myself, and finally dedicated my life to helping others do the same. So, when I ended up pregnant at the end of a long trek through the darkness—I knew that it had a purpose.
THAT PURPOSE WAS: MULTIHOOD! What is MULTIHOOD you ask? It is EMBRACING the MULTIPLE ARCHETYPES you house within you. Why is this so important? Well, that is a bit more complicated. When a woman becomes a MOTHER, she has been conditioned to believe that that is all she is. And that simply isn’t true. I have been in the midst of many a new Mom who are in the throes of a complete mental breakdown because they’ve lost who they are. When I found out I was pregnant that overpowering archetypal force of the GREAT MOTHER swooped in and attempted to convert me too! But through my psychological training I saw that there needs to be more to each of us than just MOTHERHOOD. First of all, it isn’t healthy for the woman, and second, it isn’t healthy for the child. How many people have you heard of who have Mother-complexes from dealing with overbearing Moms? Psychological literature is just teeming with the concept of the Devouring Mother and how she destroys a child’s sense of Self. Then there is the depression, burn-out, and more that comes with 100% dedicating yourself to just being ONE thing.
So, as I start to create a program to help women move from MOTHERHOOD to MULTIHOOD—I thought I’d share my journey with you. Being on the pregnancy side of being a Mom, I know that my perspective can be a bit skewed. I don’t have to get up every hour or so for feedings. I’m not changing diapers or keeping a little human alive. But, I AM in the process of setting up schedules to make sure that I have time for my Inner Warrior, Inner Witch, Inner Lover and Inner Artist to have time to do their thing! I do know that I’m talking to my husband about having time to do my art, write, and meditate. And I am setting up an inner attitude where I remain important in this process.
In the next post I will discuss my MAGICAL process in all of this (see the picture below). While doing pagan-type things will by no means be a requirement for working on your own MULTIHOOD, those things have shaped my world, and thus I think they are important to talk about.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and starting a conversation with you in the comments below! SO MANY BLESSINGS! –Rev. P
This blog is all about my process. I will explore my development of the MULTIHOOD program for New Moms, Sandplay Therapy, and other goodies.