Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 12, Number 1, 2003
KEY WORDS: sandplay therapy, symbol, clinical example, pelican, pelican in art, pelican in alchemy, bird, archetypal image.
ABSTRACT: In its natural habitat the pelican is a large, social bird with a particular manner of fishing. In myth and legend, the story of why the pelican plucks his or her breast has changed slightly over the centuries due to the Christian influence; however, it remains a symbol of devotion, sacrifice, charity and piety. The pelican has been depicted in art and was manifested in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Alchemically, the symbol of the pelican was an image for the Philosophers’ Stone and, thus, has implications for the process of individuation. In this article a case example illustrates one aspect of the pelican in a sandplay process.