Lady Rhiannon Dragcruin- 4/10/2014
Grounding, centering, and shielding are terms that are thrown about in the Craft like confetti, beads, and candy at Mardi Gras, but what do they mean? Ever had someone tell you. “Well just ground and center and you will be fine!” but you have no freaking clue how to do that? I know I have…it is not always easy, especially in the middle of an excited state of mind or an emergency situation. So let’s talk about it…
What are some symptoms of being ungrounded and uncentered?
Irritability, manic behavior, anger, inability to sit still, Restlessness, tiredness, lack of empathy, lack of awareness, lack of focus, loudness that is uncharacteristic, short tempered, inability to concentrate, desire to isolate, feeling discontent or wanting something but not knowing what, lack of appetite, or extreme desire to eat or drink despite not being hungry or thirsty, substance abuse, depression, violence, rage, extreme sadness, etc… These can all be symptoms of being overloaded and ungrounded. The energy of different people and situations and emotions tends to cling to us if we are not consciously sending it away. And just like any physical load, each of us can only carry so much before we begin to be affected by it.
Grounding: What the Heck is it?
Grounding is the act of taking excess energy or negative energy and sending it to a safe place (the earth, water, a stone, a fire). Just like taking a live electrical wire and grounding it, you will be less excitable, more able to think, act, and receive positive things from others. One doesn’t always need to ground only for negative events or energy. One may also need to ground when one is spinning up because they are happy. (There is nothing wrong with being happy but it certainly can turn into an uncontrolled state and things can be done or said that will have negative impacts on one’s life.)
How the heck do you do it?
For every 10 people out there, there are probably 15 different ways to ground. The following are some ideas:
Taking a deep breath, Getting a hug, Sitting on the ground, taking a bath or shower, swimming, Sauna, Hot tub, running water over your wrists, sitting on a log in the forest, lying in the sunlight, taking a psychic shower, visualizing all the ick being washed off by light or rain or blown away by wind or burned away by fire, crying, walking in the rain, walking in the grass barefoot, digging your toes in the sand, staring at a lit candle, guided meditation, petting a cat, hugging a puppy, watching an aquarium, singing, dancing, drumming, sniffing your favorite flower, baking, making bread, weeding the garden, etc…
I think you get the point…it doesn’t have to be a formal, long, drawn-out event. It can be very simple but it *must* be intentional. Take some time away from stimulation to sort through and release the excess energy. Try some different ways to release this energy and find a couple of different ones that work because you, for example, may not always have a sauna nearby when you need it!
What happens if you have “grounded” but still feel scattered or off?
Then comes the next step- Centering. Centering is the act of bringing your own energy back from all the thousands of places that we send it every day and focusing back on our intentions in life. Every interaction we have with people, every little niggling thing that we do during the day takes energy. We leave pieces of ourselves scattered everywhere. Most of the time this is just a little energy…sometimes it can be bigger events such as trauma and that takes a different approach which we will discuss another time…but every little piece that gets scattered takes away from our focus and our ability to manage energy. Think about all the text messages you send each day, and the emails, and the conversations in the stores etc…. Interactions with family and the driving public are also taxing. Each of these is a little bit of you being scattered to the four winds. Centering is necessary to bring ourselves back to ourselves and to get or stay on task.
OK so you beat that into the ground but how do you *DO* it?
Again, everyone is going to have a different process to Center themselves. Some will hold a crystal that helps them focus, others will psychically reach out and find those pieces of energy and bring them back, some have enfolded this practice into their grounding and the act of sitting in the sun or with the toes in the sand or in a raging storm also brings their energy into focus. As I said…lots of different ways. We spend a lot of time outside of our own bodies and unaware of our feelings, both physical and emotional. That being said, it is not a lost cause and we can all learn to ground and center. It can take a more formalized approach if you have developed a resistance to being centered (often a defense developed due to some form of trauma). This can be through a guided meditation, receiving Reiki, massage or several other possible approaches. Each person has to develop their own method…we can each *learn* how someone else does it, but when it comes down to practical application, we can only reliably and quickly do what is natural for each of us. It is important to practice Grounding and Centering consciously to learn what works best for you. Also practicing this with intention can make it easier to notice what you are feeling and also to notice when you are not in balance or in sync with those around you. Being mindful of the state of your consciousness and your body can save your life!
OK, Frustrated yet? Because there is one more piece…Shielding.
Most of us have developed natural ways to shield…there are very few people out there who have NO shields at all. These are the things that keep us from taking on all of the free-floating crap in the world. They help protect us from everything from negative thoughts and intentional harm to big bad nasty beasties. They are the things that alert us to icky vibes and psychic vampires wanting to have a lick. They make the hair on your neck stand up in an empty room in an old house or make you look over your shoulder when a friend is sneaking up on you. They also keep your stuff from leaking out or a passing frustration from blasting the person who caused the irritation. They keep you hidden and protected.
There are many ways to envision shields…some are more efficient than others and some can be dangerous. A mirror shield (which is often one of the first things people think of) is dangerous. Have you ever seen what happens to a laser aimed at a mirror? Think about energy being sent at you hitting your mirror shield…how many innocent people may be hit by that refracted energy? A solid brick or steel wall also has problems…how do you see what is coming? How do things that you want to get out get out? Also neither of those encircles you. Always remember to shield about 3 feet under your feet too as well as above your head.
My personal favorite is to envision a semi-permeable cell wall. The cell wall is transparent…goes all the way around you…lets in what you want in (mostly) and keeps out what you want out (mostly) as well as lets unhealthy stuff out. It is flexible, responsive, and resilient as well as primarily self-sustaining. Experiment with different materials and designs. Remember to look up. Think about what properties you want your shield to have. How far out from you do you want your primary defenses? How many layers of shields do you want? Why do you want that many and not one more or one less?
Shields also have to be fed. Some people like to consciously tend their shields, others like to set up passive power sources for their shields. To consciously tend the shields, often a person will do maintenance while they do their daily meditation. The shields are created to alert the protected one of damage or trouble and the person will tend to immediate things as needed and will do a full survey of their shields as part of the grounding and centering process.
A person who chooses to have a passive power source may have jewelry that is charged and feeds the shields or have some sort of action that they do regularly that sends energy to their shields. Again the shields are often set to alert the individual of problems with their own integrity or they make a practice of looking at them regularly for maintenance.
How to set up a passive power supply is a completely different lesson and we will talk about it later. The important thing is to practice grounding your energy, bringing your energy back to yourself when it is scattered, and protecting yourself. It is not reasonable to expect to be able to handle and channel large amounts of magickal or spiritual energy or to be able to use your skills and talents reliably if your energy is all over the place! Much of this work can be done on your own, as it is a very personal thing, but it can also be helpful to talk with your teacher or others in the Craft for ideas and feedback on what they are sensing. Remember, no one can find the holes in your shields like someone you love! Practice with friends to check for vulnerability. Your shields and your awareness of them and of your friends’ and partners’ shields could be very important in many different situations.