Grounding is a very useful and important skill in ritual and magickal workings. In ritual we often work with energy and grounding helps us both before and after to raise and release that energy. This was a lesson I learned myself early on in my path. Having started as a solitary, I was not familiar with the level of energy that could be raised in a group circle. At my first witchcamp, there were fifty people in attendance. Each day we held a ritual, one for each of the elements. On the third day we held our fire ritual, and it was then that we raised a level of energy I had never experienced before.
In retrospect, I did all the wrong things. New to the Reclaiming ritual style, I had not bothered to pay much attention to the grounding we did before ritual, not fully understanding its relevance. And after the ritual, when I was unable to settle down, I told no one and simply tried unsuccessfully to go to sleep. After the ritual I had clearly not grounded myself. I felt agitated and couldn’t calm down. I also had a massive headache that came on quite suddenly. When everyone else was relaxing after the ritual, I was in misery and I didn’t even know why.
The next day, when chatting with others and still with a slight headache I told them my experience. Immediately they chewed me out for not coming to them right away and told me that I had not grounded the energy properly. So right there they walked me through a grounding and I felt the last of my headache disappear. That night after our fourth ritual, when I began to feel those same feelings, I used the techniques they showed me to ground the energy. Having learned the importance of grounding, I no longer took it for granted and was able to master the technique rather quickly.
Grounding, though important, is relatively simple. It can be done in many different ways, more than I could ever cover in a single blog post. But I will try to offer a couple different techniques that I myself use. I mentioned earlier that grounding can be done before and after a ritual. While we use the same word to describe both techniques, there is a subtle difference between the two that I think should be made clear. Grounding before a ritual is done with the intention to bring yourself into a state of readiness before the magickal working. Grounding after the ritual is done with the intention to release the energy that has been raised from that magickal working. In both cases the technique is similar, we connect to the energy of the earth.
Grounding before ritual is necessary to get us into the right frame of mind for ritual. During ritual we enter space that is outside the mundane world to work with various spiritual energies. It is important that we prepare ourselves mentally for this work. Grounding helps us do that by bringing us into the present, helping us set our worldly cares aside (for the time being), and shifting our consciousness in preparation for ritual. Taking the time to settle our minds and connect with the earth’s energies acts as a mental transition from the mundane to the spiritual.
The techniques for this type of grounding are varied but most often include a visualization method that connects our energy to the earth using tree roots and branches. One can do this grounding inside or outside. Obviously, the benefit of standing on the earth outside is quite powerful, but it is not necessary. Inside, one simply adds the extra step of visualizing their roots traveling through the floor into the earth. One can also do this grounding standing up, sitting down, or even lying down. Standing, one envisions the roots coming from the soles of their feet. Sitting and lying down, one envisions the roots coming from the base of the spine, or the root chakra. Another technique does not involve tree roots or branches, but rather a visualization of our personal energy merging with the earth’s energy in whatever way is most useful for the individual. Below I will share a basic script for grounding that is often used in Reclaiming circles.
Grounding after ritual is also important for releasing the energy we raised and helping us to return to the mundane world. This is the technique that I was unfamiliar with in the beginning. It is much less complex than grounding before ritual and can be done in many different ways. One simple method is to kneel down, place ones hands on the earth and visualize that energy draining through your hands back into the earth where it can be used as needed. Another method is to wash ones hands, which helps to bring your mind to the present. If you feel an excess of energy in your body, envisioning your crown chakra opening and letting the energy flow out is another great tip. Eating is an excellent method of grounding, which is why most rituals end with a shared meal or snack. In fact, the cakes we share in cakes and ale serve that purpose quite well. What better way to bring our consciousness back to our bodies than through eating.
Grounding is a technique that though simple, is very important to our own wellbeing. As wiccans (or pagans) we must often cross from the mundane world into the spiritual world. Grounding is the mental bridge we create between the two. It is the process that readies our minds and ourselves for the spiritual work ahead and the technique that releases that work and allows our minds and ourselves to return to the mundane. One thing I have found over the years is that grounding can be an intensely personal thing. Yes, in large gatherings one person will lead the group in a general grounding. But on your own, you must come up with the methods that work best for you. If you are using a technique that someone else has suggested but it isn’t working, find what will work for you. In the end, grounding is simply finding a way to connect to the energy of the earth and one does not need a manual on how to do that.
That being said, for those that are interested, here is a basic script of the type of grounding we do in our Reclaiming public rituals here in Vancouver:
Sit or stand, what is comfortable for you. Close your eyes. Feel yourself here in this moment. Feel the warmth in the air. Notice the smells around you. What do you smell? Notice the sounds around you. What do you hear? Breathe deeply. Feel the air coming in, filling your lungs. Exhale, feeling your lungs empty. Feel your breath slowing. Notice the rhythm of your breath as you sit/stand here.
Feel your arms at your side, let them hang loose. Feel your legs, standing strong, holding you on the earth. Feel your feet standing on the earth, planted here on this spot. Now from your feet, feel roots begin to grow. Feel those roots digging deep into the earth, growing from the soles of your feet. (If sitting, feel the base of your spine, your root chakra, begin to grow roots. Feels those roots push down, deep into the earth.)
Feel those roots push down into the soft dirt, pushing deeper and deeper into ground. Feel them push past the rocks and gravel deeper in the earth. Feel those roots going down, past the roots of other trees, past the bones of our ancestors, deeper into the cool, dark earth. Feel them go past the underground caves, the underground streams, into the cold dark rock of the earth. And push them deeper still.
Go deeper and deeper until you begin to feel warmth. Your roots go deeper and it gets warmer and warmer. Feel the heat as you approach the beating heart of the earth mother. Now, begin to draw that warmth up your roots. Feel that warmth begin to climb your roots, up past the underground streams and caves. Up past the bones of our ancestors, up past the roots and the rocks and dirt. Feel that warm energy rising up your roots and into your feet. Feel that warm, pulsing energy spread up your legs, your thighs, and into your belly. Feel it fill your stomach and torso. Feel it spread down your arms and into your neck and head. Feel your body filled with that warm earth energy.
Now feel the top of your head, your crown chakra open. Imagine branches sprouting from your head. Up and up they climb into the starry sky. Feel them go higher and higher into the heavens. Now begin to feel them connecting with the stars and the moon. Feel that cool, silvery energy from the stars and the moon sliding down your branches. Feel that energy slide down and down until enters through your crown and begins to fill your body. Feel that cool energy sliding down your neck, into your chest, your arms and torso. Feel the mix of energy in your body, the warm earth energy and the cool sky energy mixing together, swirling inside of you as you stand between the earth and the heavens.
When you are ready, feel your deep roots and your branches begin to shrink. Feel them slowly come back to you. Feel your roots rising up from the deep earth and your branches lowering down from the heavens. Feel them come back to your feet and your crown and absorb them back into your body. Feel yourself here again in this moment. Feel the sun on your face and your feet on the ground (or your body on the ground). If you need to, place your hands on the ground to earth some of the energy. Pat yourself gently, touching your arms, your legs, your stomach. Feel yourself here, now, in this moment. And when you are ready, open your eyes.