The second in a continuing series of articles covering the basics of energywork. This article will cover the act of Grounding.
What is Grounding?
Next to centering, grounding is one of the most fundamental acts of energywork. It’s used to discharge excess or negative energies safely, and also to replenish your energy if you’re feeling a little low. Staying grounded also helps one to be fully present in their body, and aware of what is going on around them in the present moment. If your mind is wandering and you’re metaphorically “off in the clouds somewhere” or otherwise off-kilter, that’s a strong sign that you may need to ground. Grounding, in most cases, is exactly what it sounds like: connecting to the Earth, and sending any excess or negative energy down into the ground to be absorbed by the planet, then taking in fresh energy to replenish yourself, repeating the cycle until you feel pleasantly energized but not “bursting” with energy.
How do you Ground?
A Basic Technique for Grounding
As with centering, there are many techniques available for grounding. One of the simplest, and the most commonly used, is to visualize oneself as a tree. Even kids can do this one. Just close your eyes, perhaps take a moment to center yourself, and imagine yourself becoming a tree. Feel your roots extending deep into the earth, connecting and anchoring you to the planet itself. Feel the strength of the earth, the stability as it supports you, nourishes you. Feel yourself releasing any negative energy to sink down and be absorbed by the earth, while taking in fresh new energy through your roots. Continue the visualization for as long as you like, cycling energy back and forth, until you feel stable… energized, but not overflowing with energy, fully present in your body in the here-and-now. Other visualizations are also possible… you could visualize yourself as a mountain, for instance, rather than a tree.
Visualizations aren’t the only way to ground. There are a whole host of techniques for grounding excess energy that don’t require any conscious manipulation of your mental state. These range from activities like physical exercise to simply eating something. I’m a big fan of walking, myself, though make sure to stay hydrated. Some people also find working with certain minerals aids in grounding,. Iron is one of the most traditional for this, though it isn’t exactly gentle about it. Personally, I prefer copper if I’m going with a pure metal, unless I can get my hands on Bog Iron from New Jersey. I’m also a big fan of a combination of iron pyrite and magnetite known in metaphysical circles as “Healer’s Gold”. Other good stones for grounding include Moss Agate, Black Obsidian, Smokey Quartz, Staurolite, and Black Tourmaline.
What Comes Next?
Grounding in Other Elements
So far, this article has focused on grounding in the element of Earth. But it’s equally possible to “ground” in any of the elements. All of them have a physical component capable of anchoring one in the here-and-now, all of them have the capacity to receive and transform unwanted energies, and all of them have the capacity to help refill one’s energetic reserves.
The basic procedure for doing this is very similar to the exercises for grounding in Earth. If you care to ground in Fire, you can visualize yourself as the heart of a flame, continually releasing energy and taking in new fuel, at once stable and yet always engaged in the act of transformation. Equally, you could visualize yourself as a phoenix or a star, whatever imagery speaks to you. If Water is more your style, you might imagine slowly sinking into the ocean and letting yourself dissolve into the foam, merging with the waters, letting them carry any unwanted energy away while at the same time replenishing you, the boundaries between yourself and the larger ocean murky and unclear until it is time to return again to a more tangible form. For aficionados of Air, you might imagine simply letting a wind blow “through” you, carrying away what is unwanted and filling you up with its own energy. All of these are equally valid, as are any other methods of reaching a stable “grounded” energetic state. Nor are you limited to grounding yourself in classical Western elements… wood and metal from the eastern elemental system are just as valid, as are light and shadow. If in doubt, experiment. Try grounding in something and see if it works. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, try something else.
Grounding may seem fairly basic but without it it’s far too easy for someone working with subtle energies to become disconnected from physical reality, overloaded by more energy than their system can metabolize on its own, be impaired by negative energies, and overall simply become a less effective channel for energy. I strongly recommend grounding both before and after any act of energywork. During the working itself, it may be more appropriate to center without grounding.
As always, if you find any more ways to ground yourself, or any more techniques for taking grounding further, please feel free to share them in the comments section. The next article in this series will be on Attunement.