G is for Grounding

larger-than-life Poseidon statue at COSI

larger-than-life Poseidon statue at COSI

I didn’t properly learn grounding until I’d been throwing energy around casting spells for a few years.

carrot taprootIt wasn’t that I hadn’t heard of it. I just wasn’t taught a proper technique. A lot of people ground by envisioning roots flowing down from their root chakra or the soles of their feet like a taproot all the way to the bedrock under the soil. Some meditations have you visualize your roots going all the way into the molten core of the earth Herself. I didn’t learn either of these right away. I was told to put my hands on the ground for a second and then go have a cookie. At the time I had yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease, so not only was I suffering the headaches, dizziness and nausea from being ungrounded, but I was also making myself sick eating cookies. Sometimes after ritual I’d be angry and prone to losing my temper for no good reason. On one memorable occasion, after a particularly intense ritual, I was doing laundry the next day when I slipped and fell down an entire flight of stairs, hitting my bottom on each one. It was the most bruised I’ve ever been, literally black and blue from my waist to my upper thighs. I felt like I’d gotten some sort of cosmic spanking and wondered what went wrong.
bedrockLearning to ground made all the difference. Because I’m a visual person, learning that part of the carrot we eat is its taproot helped me understand the analogy better. So did actually looking up bedrock so I could see what it would mean to send a taproot down to it.

My older son is going to turn 16 this spring and my younger son is going to turn 13 tomorrow. So I’m the proud mother of teenage boys. And while I love them, I won’t pretend this is an easy stage. My older son and I have been fighting lately in much the same way I remember fighting with my own mom when I was his age — which I’d delusionally convinced myself wouldn’t happen because I thought that was a mother/daughter dynamic and that a mother/son dynamic would be totally different. It’s totally the same.

One strength I do have at this trying time in my life is years of meditation under my belt. The other night when my son made a particularly upsetting remark, I felt myself get angry and immediately I felt the soles of my feet root to the earth and the energy of the anger grounded as soon as it arose. It was like lightning: I felt the anger surge right through me and immediately ground without me actively or consciously grounding myself. I was glad I’d put in the effort at spiritual practice over the years and my son is now the beneficiary of a meditation practice that means I’m not reacting the way my mom did when I was a teen (even though I’m feeling the same way).

Last night, after yet another incident where my teen and I could not see eye-to-eye, I went upstairs and took a bath. I felt grounded as soon as I got in the water. Not cleansed, which we usually associate with water, but grounded. I wondered for the first time whether grounding has to be done to earth, or whether you could ground to another element.

It made me think of the river. I’d grown up along the Ohio River and when I moved to Ohio State my freshman year, I felt ungrounded. I would walk each day to the banks of the Olentangy River that runs through campus and sit and meditate while looking out at the water. It was the river that grounded me, though I was sitting on land.

I thought also about how I feel when I visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati. Just walking into the aquarium makes me feel grounded. I pondered why this could be. I even started to think of mud (if water makes me feel grounded, does that make me mud? that’s one of the thoughts I had when I was trying to sort this out).

water spraying at Poseidon's Realm

water spraying at Poseidon’s Realm

There is a room at COSI’s Ocean Exhibit called Poseidon’s Realm. It’s my favorite thing at COSI. I’ve been known to sit in there while the rest of the family explores other exhibits. There is water streaming everywhere and even the stone floor and walls are wet. I always thought it was the giant statue of Poseidon that I liked so much, which I do, but I realized that in that dark watery room I feel grounded.

my younger son playing with the water bells in Poseidon's Realm in 2011

my younger son playing with the water bells in Poseidon’s Realm in 2011

A puzzle. Water grounds me?

It seems like when you have a question, life has a way of showing you an answer. I picked up Llewellyn’s 2014 Witches’ Companion and flipped through it at random, when I saw an article by Elizabeth Barrette called “Lies My Magic Teacher Told Me.” I’ll admit I was jealous that she’d thought of such as great article title. I suck at titles. They’re the bane of my writing. But the title wasn’t the only good thing about it; the entire article was helpful. One of the “lies” was “Ground to Earth.”

Barrette explains that “grounding is the process of connecting personal energy to an outside energy source” and that, while lots of people find it natural to ground to earth, you could also ground to other elements. She says, “The solution, then, is to ‘connect personal energy to a safe outside source.’ It can be any other the elements, and there are even other options beyond that. Try the most common option, Earth, first; and if that doesn’t work, try others. Each has its own visualizations, such as a kite for Air, an anchored ship for Water, or a volcano for Fire. Experiment and find what works for you.”

I didn’t try the anchored ship meditation for water, though I like the idea of a kite for air. What I did try was this: I lay on my back with my eyes closed in shavasana (corpse pose). Then, rather than tuning in to the ground under me, I imagined myself floating in my favorite lake on a sunny day. It isn’t as practical as standing or sitting and imagining a taproot (since you can’t just lie down on your back wherever you are) but if you have a few extra minutes and a place to do so, it works!

Just a note if you’re thinking of this from an astrological point of view: I’m not a water sign. I’m actually a Leo, though I don’t seem fiery to most people (I had someone explain to me once that the reason I didn’t like a certain person was because he was a Leo and that I “don’t understand what fire signs are like”!). I have most of my inner planets in Taurus and Virgo, so I’m earthy but for some reason I find water grounding. Not sure what that means, if anything.

What about you? Have you grounded to an element other than earth? How did you do it? What about the “other options beyond that” which Barrette alludes to — what else have you grounded to beyond the elements? Do you have a tried-and-true method of grounding that you always do?

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4 thoughts on “G is for Grounding

  1. I haven’t tried grounding to anything other than earth, but that is an awesome idea. I wonder what else is in this “Lies My Magic Teacher Taught Me” article!

    • I really enjoyed the article and I’m wishing more people would write about what they were taught starting out and how it compares with what they’ve learned along the way. It would be fascinating as a group compilation with diverse voices.

  2. I’ve recently started grounding using my place of power, which is totally imaginary. I don’t use it every time, but it’s super effective when I need that particular kind of energy.

    Thanks for a fascinating post!

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