Sand - Sandra - Glacial Silt and Sand

Speaking with Nature: Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth - Sandra Ingerman, Llyn Roberts 2015

Sand - Sandra
Glacial Silt and Sand

I am transported to the Hoh Forest as I reflect on what Llyn wrote about Glacial Silt. I feel the texture of the Silt as I dip my fingers into the cold river water. I smell the fragrance of the rich and moist earth. I feel my body sitting on the moist earth of the riverbed, and I can feel the coolness traveling to my skin through my jeans. I sink into the earth and into myself in this relaxing, nurturing environment and listen to the comforting sound of the flowing river.

Then my attention and consciousness shift to the Southwest, and the contrast of living in the desert, which is so different from living in the rain forest. As I have already shared in Snowy Owl, my house is situated on a piece of land bordering an arroyo that goes on for miles, where many local residents enjoy jogging and walking.

An arroyo is a dry riverbed. Unlike the cool, moist Glacial Silt of the Hoh River, here the sand is dry and can be dusty. But like silt, Sand is created from crushed rocks. Technically Sand is loose particles of hard, broken rock.

Many years ago a friend gifted me with a fossilized seashell she’d found in the mountains of Santa Fe. In the early Cretaceous Epoch, which started 145 million years ago, parts of New Mexico were covered by ocean. When you gaze out from any hilltop in Santa Fe today, you can almost envision the land as ocean floor. Eventually, over thousands of years of water flowing and earth lifting, mountains formed where once had been mighty ocean.


As Llyn wrote, there is healing power in stones. There is also healing power in the way that stones are ground by the infinity of time. Rock, Silt, and Sand are great healers and have always been used to cleanse the body not only of dirt, but also of unwanted spiritual energies.

Being a desert dweller I am in awe of the beautiful mountains and rocks that have been carved and sculpted by water and wind over time. The Southwest is known for its stunning natural red rock sculptures. We humans also are carved into who we are by nature, the helping spirits, and universal forces.

In indigenous traditions the spiritual process of being sculpted is considered to be an initiation. Likewise the ego is carved and polished by different life circumstances—or initiations—that reveal our inner light. We experience change, the little deaths of life, and then we are reborn. In each person’s lifetime it happens again and again. This is how we mature, grow, and evolve.

We are body, mind, and spirit. When we step away from body and mind, we discover we are luminous beings, not quite as solid as is often taught in our modern Western culture. We are not simply matter and form; we are divine light.

As we go through life we tend to focus on the process of individuation and following social norms. We often forget our spiritual nature and the truth of who we are, but our souls yearn for us to remember. Gradually we suffer loss that wears away at our sense of ego and the belief that we are separate from the Divine. Surviving challenging times ultimately initiates us into a deeper state of oneness.

Thousands of people are drawn to exploring and understanding the teaching of unity consciousness, but before we can experience ourselves as one with all of life, we must drop our attachment to ego and to the state of separation created by the mind. Our souls create situations that insist we allow our sense of separation to be worn away by what life brings for us. We go through a process of surrender to our inner light and our inner knowing; time and experience carve us into beings that allow our true beauty to shine forth.

I have always had a deep relationship with Sand. My nickname is Sandy so I can’t help but think of Sand when someone calls my name.

I spent a great deal of time by the ocean before moving to the desert. When I was very young I lived near Coney Island in Brooklyn, and my mother used to take my brother and me to the beach to escape the heat of summer. We sat on the sand under an umbrella and swam in the cool ocean water.

My brother and I built sandcastles for hours at the beach. We used to dig our foundation into the dry sand, then wet the sand just enough to build a castle. I’ll always remember the grainy feeling of wetting the sand and molding it in my hand. The final touch was to drench some sand completely and allow it to drip through my fingers, creating decorations on the castle towers. It reminded me of frosting and decorating a cake.

Part of the magic of building sandcastles is to watch as the ocean waves close in on the completed masterpiece, dissolving and dismembering the structure that took so much time and energy to build. There is a certain thrill that comes from watching the ocean melt a sandcastle and wash it back to sea. As each grain of sand fades back into the whole, new waves bring grains of sand back to the beach. The cycle of returning to the eternal and being reborn is repeated again and again.

As a child I did not understand that the ocean was teaching me about the power of change and that all life is impermanent. The ocean teaches that form changes while the essence of form remains eternal. This is the teaching that comes with all of life’s initiations.

It is also interesting to observe how children love to be buried in sand. I remember a certain type of indescribable comfort lying in a hole my brother and I dug and being buried in wet, cool sand up to my neck. It felt as if I could lie there for eternity, held in the arms of the Great Mother. Eventually a wave would wash over me, freeing me from the sand and leaving me feeling cleansed and renewed.

In the late 1970s, while studying marine biology at San Francisco State University, I spent most of my time at a beach south of San Francisco studying life in tide pools. I also studied algae and, during the last year of my studies, conducted a research project on hermit crabs. This research and my beach exploration absorbed hours of time each morning. I often got so absorbed in exploring tide pools that I forgot to watch the time or notice that the tide had changed. Many a day I ended up losing my ground when high tide surprised me, and several times I ended up being swept into the ocean, losing all my samples and having to swim back to shore in my winter jacket, clothes, and shoes.

My research project compared an ocean species of hermit crab with a species that lived in the San Mateo mudflats, so each day also brought me to the mudflats. My research partner and I quickly learned the way of the mudflats, as well as an important life lesson.

When walking in mudflats you have to walk quickly and cannot stop. If you stop, you sink into the mud. And I mean really sink into the mud, as you would sink into quicksand. Sometimes only one of us would sink, but there were days where the mud took both of us down, all the way up to our necks. There would be minutes of panic before we regained a sense of the need to move in order to survive and swam out of the mud. We were truly mud women when we emerged—shoes, clothes, hats, coats, and glasses all caked in mud.

This time at the mudflats was during a drought in San Francisco, which meant that all water had been turned off in park restrooms, so we had to drive forty minutes back to San Francisco completely caked in mud. The staff at the marine biology lab got used to our coming in looking like mud monsters and just threw us into the showers, but it took quite a while to get clean.

Walking on wet sand/mud taught me about the power of movement in times of my life when I’ve felt pulled down by a strong, challenging emotion. Of course there are times in life that require us to be with what is and be still, but there are also times when we are in an initiation process that calls us to keep moving through times of darkness and the unknown. During these times of initiation, we cannot think our way through. Rather it is the strength of our spirit that carries us through.

It is through the movement that we let go of impurities and parts of our personality that don’t serve us, so that we can allow in the light of the Divine.

Image Practice

Take some time to sit in nature. If you live in a city, find a park where you can be undisturbed. Carve out some time in your day when you can relax and sink into the power and beauty of nature.

Find a comfortable place to sit. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Feel the earth beneath you. Much of the earth we sit on was rock at some point in time. The ancient quality of the earth reminds us that life is eternal.

Take some deep breaths and smell the fragrance of the earth, trees, and plants around you. Notice the quality of the air and if it is cool or warm, moist or dry.

Look around you and observe how the water and winds of time have carved rock formations where you are. Appreciate their beauty and the power of the elements to carve away what is on the surface so its deep hidden beauty can be revealed. Appreciate how ancient the Earth is.

Take time to reflect on your life. Often we focus on old hurts and don’t always allow ourselves to appreciate the fullness of the life cycle of events in our lives. What might have started as a painful experience helped you to grow into a deeper person. What kept you from your intuition and your deep inner wisdom might have been carved away. You have grown into the incredible person you are now. You are different from the person you were before you went through life initiations.

This is evolution. Everything that is alive evolves and grows.

We are sculpted by life just as rock is sculpted by the elements. We embrace the qualities of Silt and Sand that have been ground down through time so that our healing powers and our beauty can glitter with the luminous light that shines through us.

Make a decision to surrender to what life brings for you. Don’t be afraid of growth and evolution. The ego fears change, but your soul and spirit will always guide you forward to allow what no longer serves your highest good to literally be ground away from your being.

We cannot operate out of fear and spirit at the same time. We cannot sleep through the initiations that life presents to us. We cannot simply power through with body and mind; we need the strength of spirit.

Feel the excitement of your life adventure in the opportunities life presents to assist you in tapping into your unlimited potential and creative nature.

As an anonymous author has written, “Sand is matter that has been transformed and has almost become liquid and spiritual.” Life will transform you in the same way.