Sand... what do you know about it? At a glance, most people would associate sand with the beach and the oceans, as well as the world's deserts. In fact, 33 % of the earth's land mass is covered by deserts, did you know? And deserts are full of sand, constantly shifting and shaped by the wind and climatic conditions.
I'm no mathematician but I'd hazard a guess that there are more grains of sand on the earth than there are stars across the heavens. It's impossible to calculate exactly how many grains of sand exist on earth, and certainly no one has the time nor the interest in counting them!
Often used in ceremonies, sand brings with it some powerful symbolism. Let's unpack it a little and take a deeper look. Some examples of sand symbolism are as follows:
Grains of sand are so tiny, it is impossible to physically count them. Even a small handful of sand has far more grains that you can easily count. In this way, sand represents #infinity. Even the definition of infinity suggests it represents "larger than any natural number." In a time sense, infinity means "forever."
Sand has been used over the centuries to measure #time. In history, and pre-dating the development of mechanical clocks around the fourteenth century, the hourglass was the vessel that has been commonly used to carry grains of sand to measure time.
In fact, if you look at the infinity symbol, which looks like a horizontal number 8, it looks like the shape of an hourglass resting on its side. Time is often a subject in joining ceremonies, referencing past, present and or future.
3) Seal the Deal
Harking back to the old Hebrew tradition of mixing salt to make an unbreakable deal, sand (or salt) can be used to celebrate deal making or, within #weddings or #engagement ceremonies, the consent to marry.
4) Blending of Hearts, Families, Lives
Once mixed, sand can never be returned to its original state. It is physically impossible to identify which grains of sand came from which groups.
In this way, sand is the perfect symbol of what happens when hearts, families and lives join together. It mixes and blends, forever changed.
Planning a sand ritual...
When planning a sand ritual for your ceremony, think about what it means to you and why you want to include it. Talk to your celebrant about what they know of sand rituals and if they can advise on how best to present the ritual.
Coloured sands layer beautifully and provide a spectacular and lasting memento of a special occasion, as per the picture below.
The ritual can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Indeed, you are only limited by your imagination.
One of the simpler sand rituals I have worked with involved a couple setting up something that would be built on over time. They poured the first layers of coloured sand into an ornate bottle, with the idea that they would add a new layer with each year of marriage, and with each new milestone such as a birth or something significant happening in their lives. It was intended to be a celebration of all that was yet to come. Simple, but very powerful.
The most elaborate sand ritual I have ever planned involved a "pirate" themed wedding where the bride and groom's families (numbering about 11 people) participated. Each pirate had their own coloured sand, and I developed wording to introduce each one as they walked across the deck and deposited their sand in a huge, old-fashioned glass bottle. The pirate lord and his lady (bride and groom) added their own sand in at the end, then sealed the bottle to much "aaaaarrrghhh-ing' and waving of swords from their guests (most of whom were dressed as pirates). The result was spectacular and most befitting of a pirate wedding! Unfortunately I don't have a photo I can share.
Have you used sand in a ceremony? Why did you use it and what symbolism did it have for you and your special event? Drop us a line in the comments - I'd love to hear about your experience.
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