Searle Lebel, Ellen

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 13, Number 2, 2004

KEY WORDS: sandplay therapy, clinical example, symbol, dance, movement, snake goddess, Minoan, labyrinth, transformation.

ABSTRACT: The ancient figure of the snake goddess is a compelling symbol of transformation. This paper presents evidence from art and dance history supporting the connection between this figure and ritual dance in ancient Crete. It describes the symbolic aspects of snakes and relate them to the snake goddess and spiral dances of worship and healing. The legend of Theseus’ encounter with the Minotaur associates the snake goddess with Ariadne, whose ball of thread led the hero back from the dark labyrinth. Two different therapeutic experiences of the snake goddess in sandplay are illustrated in the sand pictures of both a man and a woman.