Grounding - The Basics
Have you ever been driving and arrived home (or somewhere) and realized you didn’t recall how you got there? Have you ever found yourself in a situation at school, work, or with friends where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to remain focused on the conversation? Your response was probably yes to at least one of those questions, and the retort probably consisted of something to the effect of “I was distracted”, “I had other things on my mind”, or “I just zoned out”. These rebuttals are all perfectly normal responses; but do you know why you ‘zoned out’? There is a good chance that you, at least for a short time, were ungrounded or not properly grounded. Now, what does that mean?
When you become ungrounded, you lose your connection to the Earth and to yourself. You no longer operate effectively in the ‘here and now’. In short, you are unbalanced and disconnected. When you allow yourself to operate on ‘auto-pilot’ you lose your footing in what is actually going on around you. When you lose that footing, you become much more susceptible to outside influences such as energies and emotions. Now, wouldn’t you think good shielding would prevent that? Theoretically, yes. But no amount of shielding can be very effective without you being properly grounded first. It would be like floating in a little bubble as opposed to being in a bubble anchored to the ground…you are detached from your source.
How would you know if you are not grounded? Simple, really. There are some signs, or symptoms, that may commonly occur when you need to ground and center. Some of these signs can include: nervousness and agitation, becoming easily or unduly angered, being highly emotional, giddy, flighty, spacey or disoriented, as well as either an extreme lack or overabundance of energy or emotion. Any one, or more, of these signs may indicate that you need to relax and ground yourself.
Aside from helping keep you in control of outside energies and emotions by making you better adept to deal with them, grounding also is an aid in controlling your own energy and emotion. When you ground, you are balancing out your physical and spiritual selves which puts you in better control. Grounding puts you in connection with the Earth and raises your vibrational level so that you are more in tune with what is going on around you. It allows you to be mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally peaceful, concentrated and balanced, which further allows you to be in the present and in control. You become free to act and not just to react. Not only will this allow you to be focused and clear-headed, but grounding is also another way to stimulate and encourage a positive flow of energy…ridding yourself of the bad and bringing in the good. This helps you not only stay connected, but stay protected as well; as the Earth’s energy fosters protection.
Some may say that the best way to ground yourself is to do so with your feet firmly planted on the ground (or hands on the ground), but we all know that isn’t always a possibility. So it is best to find out what method works best for you in a given situation. Remember not all methods work for everyone…and not everyone is the same.
The first things you need to do to become properly grounded are relax and center yourself. Centering is a way to focus your thoughts on your ‘inner self’ and begin to create an inside balance that will help you direct your energies. To center, focus on what you feel to be your center of energy within yourself…this could be your heart, your abdomen, your head/third eye…wherever you personally feel your own energy resonates from within yourself. Focus your thoughts on that center of energy and feel how the rest of your inner self is connected to it. Concentrate on that connection until you feel that your inner self is aligned, focused, and completely connected to that center of energy. Next, concentrate on your breathing. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Be conscious of every slow inhale and slow exhale. Be aware of the connectedness of your breathing and your inner body. Continue this exercise until your breathing has become slow, deep and deliberate. Once that is established, you have successfully centered yourself.
Continue to breathe slow and deep; visualize that each breath reaches further through your body. As these breaths fill your body, they are not only connecting every part of yourself, but also ‘collecting’ any negativity that may reside in you (including random thoughts, pain, etc). Continue to push the breath through your body down to your feet (or hands) until you feel that you can push the breath out your feet (along with any negativity) into the ground. Visualize this breath becoming something tangible, like tree roots, and firmly rooting itself into the ground…wrapping around anything in the Earth (tree roots, rocks, the Earth’s core). With each breath, this connection should become stronger. With all the negativity properly gone, you can now allow the clean energy of the Earth to permeate through your ‘roots’ and travel back to your body. This becomes an exchange….negative out, positive in. This is how basic grounding works.
Now that you have an idea on how it works, why to do it, and the basic idea on how to do it, there are a few key ideas that you may want to keep in mind that may make your grounding experience a bit easier.
When grounding, visualize the color red; this can be the color in general or an object that is red, such as a red apple. Red is the color associated with the root chakra which is useful when grounding. Always be sure that you are breathing correctly. Most Westerners do not breathe correctly unless they are taught how to do so. We tend to breathe more shallowly than we should, and breathe too quickly. Remember to breathe low from your diaphragm, take measured breaths, and breathe slow and controlled. If it helps, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, pausing briefly between inhale and exhale.
Another key element is relaxation. Of course, grounding is supposed to help you to relax, but you will struggle to ground yourself if you cannot get your body to relax to some degree. Try to keep your mind as clear as possible…let all thoughts leave freely. Concentrate on the task at hand and if your mind begins to wander or stray thoughts seem to plague you, push them away and try to focus more on your breathing, your body, and connecting to the Earth.
Lastly, allow any negativity to go! Whether they are negative energies, thoughts, images, or emotions…allow them to be swept away by your cleansing breaths. Occasionally some negativity may prove stubborn and difficult to ‘remove’, but do not let that prevent you from continuing to try. Sometimes removing negativity can cause pain or discomfort. Be sure to allow that to happen and continue to ‘push’ the negativity out. The pain or discomfort will subside as the negativity flows away.
There are many different visualization methods for grounding. You will have to decide what works best for you. You can create your own technique as long as the end result is grounding! Some people work better with ‘tools’, which means items that are tangible such as stones, crystals, herbs, or an item to serve as a focus. If you choose to use tools in your grounding technique, there are several stones/crystals that naturally have grounding attributes such as: any red, black or brown stone/crystal, onyx, hematite, jet, obsidian, red tiger eye, tourmalinated quartz, apache tears, carnelian, fluorite, black obsidian, snowflake obsidian, smoky quartz, black tourmaline, unakite, adventurine, green amber, jade, malachite, moss agate, rose quartz. You can even use any clay object as long as it has not been decorated or blessed for another purpose. Simply hold onto the stones/crystals, or place them over your chakras…if the crystal has a point, hold the point facing down towards the Earth. It may also prove beneficial to keep a few grounding stones in your pocket to help you continue to remain grounded throughout the day.
There are some metals and herbs that are good grounding tools as well, such as iron, sage, or tobacco. Even simple things such as gardening or even eating can help you remain grounded! Any connection to the Earth is an aid. Try eating foods that have grounding properties such as red meats, any root or root vegetable such as potatoes, radishes, onions, turnips, peanuts, carrots, beets or garlic.
As for visualization techniques, there are several common techniques used. Again, improvise and work with what is best for you. One of the most common techniques is to “become a tree”. Visualize that you are a tree. Your roots extend from your feet (body) into the ground. Connecting to the Earth, these roots allow the negativity to leave and the positive energy to enter. Imagine your roots growing deep into the ground, connecting to all, keeping you balanced. The positive radiates from the Earth through all your branches and leaves.
Another simple technique is to “breathe yourself centered.” As you inhale, imagine that your breath comes in through the top of your head and stops at your hips. As you exhale, the breath goes down through the center of your legs and into the earth. Imagine that this exhaled breath wraps itself around a tree root, or a stone, or anything deep in the earth. With each breath, the connection to the earth becomes stronger until it is constant. This will keep you centered and grounded.
You could also try the ‘pathway/beam of light’ technique. Visualize a transparent white (or red, or any color) light beam coming from above entering your head at the energy center at the top of your head (the crown chakra). This light travels down your body in a straight line, taking with it all the negativity (and/or excess energy). As the light travels down to your feet, into the ground, you are becoming centered. Visualize this energy stream connecting deep into the earth. This pathway becomes a two way street…allowing you to connect and be grounded and allowing energy to flow back to you. Any one of these techniques, or a combination thereof, will give you a good starting point to learn how to ground.
Always remember to thank the Earth for the energy and grounding she has helped you provide; just because she offers freely, does not mean you can be ungrateful! Continue to practice any method of grounding until it becomes second nature to you. Grounding is one of the basic and essential tasks to learn in any magickal or spiritual path-working, or even just as a daily routine to keep yourself healthy. Once you have mastered the art of grounding, you are much better prepared to learn bigger and better things!
Please note: There are many ways to ground, and this article only reflects a few of many; it should not be considered the 'be all and end all' of grounding.