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
(Down, down down in to the ground)
Gather at you 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, down down into the ground)
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
(Down, down down into the ground)

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

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. Chakras are often thought of as “energy” centers located vertically along the spine. However, they also may be thought of 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 seventh and topmost chakra, called the Crown, is located above the head, connects a person to the transcendent aspect of the universe and is associated with higher intuition. The sixth chakra, the Brow or Third Eye, is located on the forehead between one’s eyes or just above the eyes. This chakra is associated with the mind and thinking. The fifth chakra, Throat, is located in the throat and is associated with communication and self-expression. The fourth chakra, the Heart, is located in the center of one’s chest and is associated with feelings and passions. The third chakra, Core, is centered in the solar plexus or the navel, and is associated with power, will, and self-esteem. The second chakra, Sacrum, is located near the reproductive organs and is associated with sexuality. The first 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 out most primal needs.

Grounding involves visualizing the chakras in succession, 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. A person can begin with any chakra. A person who more connected to their body than their mental process may choose to start with a lower chakra.

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 were rooted to the spot. One common method of grounding is to imagine oneself as a tree, with roots that 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 we perceives one’s 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 a small but vital part. If we use the tree visualization to ground, then imagining a grove of trees with interlaced roots would be a good technique for merging.

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