Grounding and Centering

"Theologue" by Alex Grey

“Theologue” by Alex Grey

Take your spirit down, grow branches, grow branches
Send your love around, grow branches, grow branches

Gather at your center, all you’ve ever been
In your belly plant the seed of life that dwells within
Send it down into the ground to link with Mother’s heart
Where many does become the one by magick’s ancient art

Take your spirit down, grow branches, grow branches
Send your love around, grow branches, grow branches

Down until you meet the molten core inside the Earth
Reaching ever to her like death into rebirth
Share your love, your thanks, your tears,
The joy of sweet release
And draw her strength inside of you
Soothing you with peace

Take your spirit down, grow branches, grow branches
Send your love around, grow branches, grow branches

— “Take Your Spirit Down” by Sharon Knight, Songs of the Strengthening Year (song)

A common Neo-Pagan practice that helps people to get quiet and become receptive before rituals is called “grounding and centering.”

Grounding

Grounding involves visualizing one’s “chakras” in succession and connecting these mentally to the sky above and the earth below. Chakras are often thought of as “energy” centers located vertically along the spine. However, they also may be thought of simply as foci of one’s personality. Many of us tend to think of our self as located in our head, but much of our experience of self actually occurs throughout the body. Consider, for example, where in your body you feel love, or anger, or fear. Each of these locations is a different center or chakra.

The topmost chakra, the Crown, located at the crown of the head, connects a person to the transcendent aspect of the uni­verse and is associated with higher intuition. Moving down, the next chakra, the Brow or Third Eye, is located at the forehead between one’s eyes or just above the eyes. This chakra is associ­ated with the mind and thinking. The next chakra, Throat, is lo­cated at the throat and is associated with communication and self-expression. The next chakra, the Heart, is located at the cen­ter of one’s chest and is associated with emotions and passions. The next chakra, Core, is centered at the solar plexus or at the navel, and is associated with personal power, will, and self-es­teem. (I separate this chakra into two chakras, the Core and the Navel.) The next chakra, Sacrum, is located at the sexual organs and is associated with sexuality. The lowest chakra, Root, sits at the base of the spine or on the perineum. It connects one’s body to the material world and is associated with our most primal needs.

Grounding involves visualizing the chakras in succession, often starting at the top and moving down to the bottom. A per­son may then cycle back up to the topmost chakra. This is the most effective order for a person who is “stuck in their head,” so to speak. You can begin with any chakra. A person who is more connected to their body than their mental process may choose to start with a lower chakra. In order to connect the body with the physical world, the uppermost chakra can be “connected” to the sky above and the lowest chakra to the earth below.

When a person’s chakras are “aligned” in this way, they be­come “grounded.” A person who is grounded will feel more whole and more balanced. A grounded person will also feel more connected to the ground beneath them, almost as though they were rooted to the spot. One common method of ground­ing is to imagine oneself as a tree, with roots reaching into the Earth and branches reaching into the sky. Deep in the Earth is the water that the tree drinks from. High in the sky is the Sun that sustains the tree. All four elements are invoked in this way: earth, air, water, and fire.

Centering

Centering involves focusing attention on one’s central chakra, the Heart or Core, or another chakra that represents that part of oneself where you perceive your true self to reside, where all the chakras come together. Centering brings all of the disparate parts of oneself into harmony, so that a person can act from their whole self, not just from one part.

Merging

Merging is a third step. In group ritual, it involves connecting with the other people in the ritual. This may be accomplished by simply holding hands or making eye contact. In group or soli­tary ritual, it also involves connecting with the larger world, per­ceived as an interconnected web of existence of which we are each of us a small but vital part. If we use the tree visualization to ground, then imagining a grove of trees with interlaced roots can be a good technique for merging.

Updated 2019

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