General

Ground Yourself!

Hello, lovelies!  I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing these past few weeks.  Why?  Well, everything happens all at once in my life, it seems and sometimes, all these different things dominate my time.  Sometimes, things spiral and go completely sideways (if you want the alternative definition, feel free to click here – language warning!). 

However, I’m back today with a post about Grounding Yourself – because that’s what I do when things go sideways.

12294861_10153641917131488_5284357467647346897_n

What is Grounding?

You may have a general idea of what it means just by simple context and definition.  As a Pagan, the term can also be commonly interchanged with “Earthing.”  It is the practice of reconnecting with the Earth by means of physical touch.  See, all things have energy, and that energy is transferable through touch.  So, when you walk barefoot across the grass, or across a beach, or you stretch out under your favorite Willow Tree or spend time in your Garden tending plants, appreciating bumble bees and dragon flies… this is grounding.  It’s reconnecting to the world of which you are part of.

Grounding is nothing new.  Pagans worshiped for centuries in nature because of the genuine effects of natural settings.  But today, we spend much of our time indoors, under artificial lights, surrounded by fake plants, with recirculated air and all sorts of electronics.  Some of us even attend churches that are the exact same combination – artificial everything.  That alone can wreck your body and mind.  Add to that a healthy dose of worrying about scheduling, time management, finances, and all these other daily things we stress about and you’ve set yourself up for a pretty unhealthy and often unhappy existence.  If you don’t already, you’ll end up eating antacids and drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake.

Humans are part of the world around them, so we need to remember that.  That’s where Grounding comes in!

How Grounding Helps

Grounding helps you because more often than not, the intentional act of interacting with a natural setting slows you down.  It is a conscious decision to take a moment to center yourself and reconnect with the world around you.

You have to consciously decide to walk across the grass, barefoot.  Your body processes the sensation of grass underfoot and the coolness or warmth of the soil.  You process the sunshine on your skin, the heat or coolness of the air.  You see the leaves on the trees or feel them crunch under foot in the fall.  You can smell the soil after the rain, and the freshness of flower blooms in the spring.  You hear the chirp of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers and crickets.  If you’re lucky, you see the glow of fireflies at dusk.

Feeling it yet?

The act of reconnecting with the Earth helps you feel more stable – the ground underfoot is sturdy, but has just enough give to cushion your step.  If you stretch out on the grass, you feel full body support.  You connect to the ground beneath you because your senses are momentarily pulled into overdrive.  Sure, you may still have all those worries and thoughts rambling around in your mind, but by intentionally pausing and focusing on just the sensations around you?  You can quiet the storm, calm the chaos.  It gives you a chance to breathe.

But what happens if you don’t have access to a natural location?  You don’t have time to head out and over to a park – where there are likely to be loads of people and you just don’t need more people in  your world right now!  What do you do?

Grounding is definitely best in a natural setting so, if at all possible, at least step outside your home or your work and get a breath of fresh air, a dose of sunlight, a sensation of wind on your skin.  Take a quick walk outside.  Even if it’s in the parking lot at work, the act of being outside will alone help!  However, if you can’t do that because, let’s say it’s 1 am and you’re dealing with all sorts of crazy drama?

I ground with rocks.

You read that correctly.  I keep rocks in my pockets.  Not big ones.  Not even a bunch.  Sometimes just a singular tumbled piece of petrified wood or a piece of amethyst for my dad.  Sometimes, I carry a piece of rose quartz to remind me to do everything with love and kindness.  Yes, you can pick up any rock that you find and use it.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Why rocks?  Because the act of holding a piece of cool stone in my hand helps me focus on a few things.  One: it’s usually cool to the touch.  Second: how long did it take the earth to make this little natural pebble?  Three:  if I need to, I can always throw it at someone (joking, calm down!).  So yes, rocks.  They’re an element of nature that’s easily portable and pretty to collect and generally accessible to anyone.

How to Ground

I ground in different ways.

First, I’m not a huge fan of sunlight.  Not going to lie.  I went through that Goth thing in High School and 20 years later, I’m still pretty much of the same mentality:  black clothes rule, the sun is evil, and long live eyeliner!  So, grounding for me normally happens at night.  My favorite method?  A comfy camp chair and a bonfire or a firepit.  Yes, that’s not the same as what I put up above but you know why?  Because I don’t want to sit in the grass in the dark.  Why?

I LIVE WHERE THERE BE MONSTERS.

So, I’m also terrified of those things.  I live in an area where Hobo Spiders (right) and Brown Recluses (left) are very, very common.  I don’t do spiders.  So, I’ll stick to my sitting outside in my comfy camp chair, watching a fire burn, and listening to crickets and frogs and watching fireflies.  That’s my preferred method of relaxing and centering.

During daylight hours, I do occasionally venture forth.  I enjoy doing yard work and playing about with my dogs.  It gives me a chance to be part of the natural element in which I live and it takes my mind off all the other things I “need to do.”  That’s the key, focusing your thoughts on the energy you pull in from the natural surrounding; it will clear your mind and help you focus more astutely on those things “you need to do.”

Grounding at work?  I work in a call center.  I’m around computers and electronics and people and recirculated air and all sorts of negativity all day long.  I keep rocks at work.  I haven’t braved the potted plant yet because it’s frowned upon at work.  I keep one of those wax warmer packs (just the wax, not the warmer), and keep it opened at my desk.  Scents that are earthy – pine or flowers or rainstorms – are pretty common.  I have a “Witches’ Blend” that’s a lot of spice and clove and it’s wonderful for bringing me back to a centered, energized place.

Meditation and Formal Grounding has a time and place, too.  I used to be very diligent to ground before rituals.  I wanted to make sure I was in the right frame of mind to do magick or speak with the Gods and Goddesses.  I would sit outside, monitor my breathing, focus on the feel of the earth under me… and inevitably, I would focus on how uncomfortable my position was, or how the mosquitoes were biting, or that loud car that went by.  But, I did sometimes come away feeling more energized.  For me, this wasn’t as effective as more impromptu grounding sessions, but it definitely has it’s place!  A formal practice, if you have a space where you’re comfortable and it’s quiet and you can really focus on the activity, can give you a sense of routine.  It can help you create a mental routine whereby even if you’re not able to go to your specific place, your mind can go back and the memories alone can help to center and calm you.  It’s good for trance work, too (more on that later).

Whatever works for you, works.  Use it.  It’s a process to be learned!  The benefits of grounding will definitely help you clear your head when anxiety kicks in or life throws you for a loop.

Advertisements
General

Where to Start?

Bookz

You’re new to the path.  You crave insight and understanding.  You know the Earth, nay, the Universe, speaks to you.  You feel a connection to all living creatures, to all natural elements around you.  You fancy gemstones and river rocks alike.  You love to garden.  You speak to pets like they’re human.

Where do you go from here?  How do you become Pagan?

You read. You learn.

Yes, it’s that simple.

You can give yourself any title you want – Pagan, NeoPagan, Heathen, Druid… the title isn’t important.  One becomes Pagan through study, belief, and practice.  As with any new interest, (and I say interest because finding one’s personal spiritual path starts with a curiosity, an interest,  in something different from whatever path you’ve been conditioned to believe was the only path), you start by studying.  To find the path that most speaks to you, you have to study multiple paths.

For me, I started with books.  Library books.  Purchased books.  Websites.  Blogs.  I read so much that I often forgot where I read what particular piece of information.  I spent months reading and re-reading, and not getting anywhere because I couldn’t properly organize what I learned.

Because of that, I advocate a true study approach.  Get yourself a notebook – it doesn’t matter what kind, but I recommend a three ring binder and loose-leaf paper and some dividers or a spiral notebook with different sections.  The reason for the dividers is so you can better organize the information you glean from reading all the books in the world.  (That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes if can feel that way!)

So you’ve got your trusty binder, your pen, lots of blank paper to fill… what do you fill it with?  Information.

The first book I read on Paganism was Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, by Joyce & River Higginbotham.  I also picked up Pagan Spirituality: A Guide to Personal Transformation by the same authors at the same time.  These two books offer a pretty good overview of the Earth centered path.

Read as much as you can get your hands on.  Good and bad.  Branch out – don’t just stick to “Paganism” topics.  Read books on other religious ideologies.  Read mythology books.  Read history books.  Study different cultures.  There’s a book for pretty much any interest.   Mind you, I’d already delved deep into Wicca, so I kept a Book of Shadows for notes.  Studying Paganism was “one more section” in that notebook.  It began as an interest.

Where do I find these books?

Free Options

If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime, you can download a lot of free books on different Pagan-Wiccan-New Age topics.  The internet is a good source of information, but as always, check your sources.  Don’t take one particular page (including mine) as the ONE true source of info.

Hit up your local library.  Most libraries have at least some sort of New Age section – books may be under a “religions”  section or even a “philosophy” section.  You can search the internet for specific titles and ask your librarian if they can do an inter-library loan for a title they don’t typically carry.

Finally, if all else fails, go to a bookstore and find a book that sparks your interest (again, typically in a New Age or Metaphysical or Philosophy section).  Park it somewhere and read it; take notes if you have your handy dandy notebook.  People do this all the time; there’s no shame in sitting in a bookstore, reading a book, and not buying it.  I advocate supporting authors as much as you can, but if you’re not in a place where you can buy the book at the moment, you can still enjoy it.

Buying Books

The internet is a vast collection of websites.  You can buy books online from major retailers (Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Amazon, etc.) or specific publishers like Llewellyn Worldwide.  Some authors sell their books on their own private pages, so once you do a general search and stumble upon an author you enjoy, see if they have their own site that they sell from.  Don’t discount start up authors, either!  They often offer an awesome perspective to study.

Thrift & Second Hand Stores are excellent options!  Have you ever been in a Thrift Store or a Second-Hand store that didn’t have books?  They’re usually crammed onto a shelf in some half-ass attempt to “organize” them.  They’re usually divided into “popular, current titles people will buy” and “everything else that no one will want.”  Yes, I loathe the way most thrift stores handle books; there… I said it.  However, personal grievances aside, I love digging through books in shops like these because I never know what I might find.  They’re usually super cheap, too.  What may be a $25 book brand new might cost $2 at a thrift store.  Most of the books are often in pretty good condition, but a word of warning: you may want to quarantine thrift store books for a bit.  Toss them in a plastic freezer bag and place them into your freezer for a week.  Book mites are bitches and will destroy your books quicker than you think.

Other options for thrifty purchases: yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, buy-sell groups online, and even social media group pages (I’m looking at you, Facebook!).

Yard sales, estate sales and flea markets often have really cut-rate prices on books.  I’ve found books on mythology, magic, philosophy, and even one book on Hoodoo at yard and estate sales.  Flea Markets often have that one cool dude who has a handful of metaphysical books, a bunch of candles, incense he tucks into a basic brown paper bag, and sage bundles along side the cabinet of expensive pewter statues, crystals, and jewelry.  Sometimes, you can find really good books at decent prices from said dude.  (No insult intended.  I’ve met some really cool dudes selling really cool stuff like this at flea markets!)

Buy-Sell Online Groups & Social Media Group sales pages can be a great way to find stuff at a good price.  I’ve bought stuff like this, and still do.  I normally don’t have a huge paranoia about people, but I want to make something very clear.  Some people are not cool and they use these sites to rob and possibly hurt you.

Please, please trust your gut instinct if you opt to meet a stranger for a sell or pick up.  Get a specific price confirmed before you go, only carry that much cash with you, meet in a PUBLIC, WELL-LIT area where there are other people around, preferably during daytime hours.  Don’t go alone.  If the person starts changing stuff up – “Oh, hey, can we meet at -x- parking lot after 7 pm?  I forgot I had x-y-z going on today.” – be wary.  Trust that instinct.  Don’t go if you don’t feel comfortable.  That might just be the Universe telling you to steer clear of trouble.

I want to learn, but I don’t like to read.

I am a bibliophile and a writer, so my go-to was comfortable to me.  So, what if you hate to read and don’t like to write or take notes?

Learn about the Earth in other ways. 

Do you love documentaries?  Watch them.  Learn about animals, plants, rocks, soil, natural weather phenomenon.  Watch documentaries about different places, people, religions, history.  Netflix and Amazon have so many titles to offer.  BBC documentaries are hands down my favorite.

Prefer a musical approach?  Branch out and listen to music from all over the globe.  Listen to old music, new music, folk music, music from places you’ve never heard of.  Abuse Google, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify… whichever music app is your favorite.

There’s also that weird idea of talking to people or finding groups.  So, even if you don’t go to the library for a book, often there will be a bulletin board full of “group meetings” posted somewhere at the library (or even City Hall?  Court House?  Favorite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop?  Local bar?).  Local group availability definitely depends on your physical location.  If you live in a small town, where there is legit no way Ms. Betty who runs the Gardening Club is Pagan, you can still legit join the gardening club if you want to learn about plants, soils, rocks, etc.  It’s information you can use to identify different plants to study the metaphysical properties of later.  Plus, you might make new friends!

If you don’t want to be all that social, Google is your friend.  Find groups online that share your interests.  Paganism?  Check.  Gardening?  Check.  Rock collectors?  Check.  Philosophy?  Check. There’s a group for all of that in the vast world of the interwebz.  (Please note:  I do not condone the solitude of the interwebs, but I do partake in it myself.  LOL)

Wait, wait, wait!  All that’s technology based!  But, I want a true Pagan experience here!  What about walking in the woods and collecting rocks and herbs and burning candles and sage and doing rituals under a full moon!?

You guessed my answer yet?  Go for it.  If you learn with a hands-on approach, take yourself out on a hike (be careful, please!).  Go outside into your own garden or backyard.  Study the lightning bugs.  Studying the ants and the way they move.  Collect that odd but awesome rock by the driveway.  Plant some buttercups.  Water the dandelion sprouting in your walkway.  Incense from the Dollar Store and Incense from the Ritzy Metaphysical Shop three cities over burn the same.  Bay Leaves bought in the spice section at the grocery store burn the same as bay leaves bought online.  Do. You.

There’s really no wrong way to learn or connect with your inner Earth Girl (or Guy!).

The point is, I’ve never been one to love unbreakable rules.  It’s why Paganism called me.  It’s why Paganism feels like home for me.  My spiritual path can go whichever way I chose to take it.  Studying the world around me, the people and cultures of this world, all the science-y stuff about this planet, other planets, the universe… it helps build my understanding of the Universe in which I exist.

 


Copyright © 2018 Gwen Willows Modern Pagan Spirituality
The contents of this blog may not be copied, re-posted, or modified, in full or in part without due credit to the original author and a valid link to the original content here at Modern Pagan Spirituality.

General

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my world. 🙂  Twenty years ago, I bought a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  My youthful curiosity quickly turned into a life long path that’s taken different directions and turns along the years.  After much consideration, I decided to share some of the information I’ve learned and collected over the years.

The quick version of my story: I was raised Baptist. I felt like I didn’t belong and soon quit attending church.  I began a study of different world religions, and soon I discovered Wicca. I never looked back.

Studying Wicca opened doors to other information.  As a child, I collected rocks and leaves and bugs and all other manners of nature. I played outside for hours a day and never noticed how hot it was or if mosquitoes were biting.  My dad would take us on long walks through the woods and around a big, man-made lake close to where he grew up.   Unknown to me, my dad had long ago stirred my love for nature. Wicca expanded that and explained it in ways I never really thought about prior.

As I studied Wicca, I found other paths – paths that spoke to me in other ways.  I began my study and practice of Witchcraft.  I found information about Paganism and began to realize that while Wicca was mostly my truth, I had other truths that Paganism answered.  I became, and still am, a Pagan Witch.

Through this blog, I want to share that view with you.  You’re welcome to glean what you can from my ramblings; I profess no expertise, only what I’ve learned.  All I ask is that you leave this space as you’ve discovered it:

No rude or derogatory commentary.
Don’t copy my posts without a valid link to the original blog post.
Don’t edit or modify my posts if you’re linking back.

Come back soon for a definition of “Modern Pagan Spirituality.”


 

Img-Tree

 


Copyright © 2018 Gwen Willows Modern Pagan Spirituality
The contents of this blog may not be copied, re-posted, or modified, in full or in part without due credit to the original author and a valid link to the original content here at Modern Pagan Spirituality.