Back when I was young and magic was new -or at least new in a 'wow, what I do has a name!' sense- I was skittish and flighty and super charged. I threw myself into this world I had discovered and sucked up every little tid-bit of information like a sponge. My natural instincts and 'talents' were fed with the rocket fuel of discovery and I was flying high without benefit of besom. I was a Witch and I wanted to learn everything. Now.
How cocky was that? Oh, the foolishness of youth!
I still haven't learnt everything more than two decades later. And I never will.
I still remember the night when, with candles flickering and incense burning, I first came across the concept of grounding. I was Wiccan then, or thought I was, and a new friend at an open circle asked 'have you grounded?' Torn between not wanting to show my ignorance and wanting to learn something new, my face must have displayed a myriad of emotions as I teetered on the edge of asking. He must have seen my naked thoughts and led me through the process with a simple 'why don't we do it together?' and for the first time I sensed ancient roots slowly growing from my feet, spreading out, delving into the cool earth.
I will always be grateful to that man, who so many years ago, taught me to slow down and take things steady.I had my whole life, and beyond, to learn, there was no rush.
I still use that method of grounding on occasion. I have a gentle fondness for it and it reminds me that no matter how far I walk along this crooked path there is always more to learn. It doesn't work for me in quite the same way anymore though. Living as I do in a first floor flat I find it hard to shake the image of a rogue root growing through my downstairs neighbour's head, or his dog, or protruding through his T.V screen in the middle of Eastenders, as he sits all unawares in his ground floor home below as my roots reach for terra firma. And that makes me laugh. A fit of the giggles overtakes me, which can actually be very grounding in its own right. A good old belly laugh is so underrated. Trust me, it works wonders.
Before I started to write this post I googled 'grounding tehcniques'. I don't know why, curiosity I suppose, but many of the sites I cast a cursory glance over made the whole process seem....how shall I put it? Airy fairy. Which to me seems counter productive.
Over the years I have learnt that there are indeed as many different ways to produce the desired effect as there are people. What works for me may not work for you but I have found the most mundane and simple things are the most effective. One can visualise roots, or a mighty oak, or a whole bloody forest full, but it won't do the job so well as washing the dishes, or scrubbing the doorstep, or having wild sex.
Parenthood is possibly the most grounding experience it is possible to have. I defy anyone to remain in a post-ritual buzzy haze while changing dirty nappies or cleaning up puke. I accept, however, that following that particular route if you are currently childless simply to achieve that perfect grounded state, may be just a tad reckless.
So if you don't have a little, smelly, sicky thing of your own or they are beyond the age where such things are necessary (although if you catch your overgrown baby as he comes in from the pub he might oblige with the puke) what are you to do?
I didn't start this last week feeling I needed to ground and yet I have been pulled lately towards activities that have done just that. Repeatedly. All week I have felt the need to get out, to touch the earth, to connect, to ground. I have walked for miles in the pouring rain, as it soaked through my clothing, and felt its touch upon my skin. I have stood upon the cliffs as the winds howled and simply standing upright was an achievement. I have delved deep in the woods and felt the dirt beneath my feet as I walked barefoot with mud squelching between my toes. I have cooked and cleaned and baked and scrubbed, down on my knees and happy to be there.
Sometimes life has a habit of running away with us. We get swept up in the whirlwind that can be everyday life. People, places, thoughts, pass by in a blur and we become so accustomed to the feeling that we no longer notice we are running at a hundred miles an hour and need to slow down, that we need to ground.
This week something within me took over, something wiser than myself, and it forced me to do what I needed to do.
Through the wind and the rain, the mud and the miles, through hard work and a belly full of cake, I am now, well and truly, grounded.