And then there's the grounding that you really (really!) should do before working any serious magic, whether alone or with a group. For me, this is where "big" magic begins. (There's "big" magic: I need a new job, the country needs a new president, my really sick friend needs strength, the river needs healing. And then there's the equally-important, but more frequent, magic you do on the spot w/o much oppt'y to prepare: Don't let me hit that squirrel! This e-mail will be effective. This orgasm will strengthen my rosemary. The judge will be open to my arguments. I'm casting a bit of glamour as I walk into this room.) Rule of thumb: if you made up a rhyme for it, mixed herbs for it, lit a candle for it, danced and drummed for it, did it with a reasonably large group of other people, performed the great rite for it, it was big magic.
I spend a bit more time on this big magic grounding than I do for my morning grounding or my throughout-the-day grounding.
I relax my whole body, that place near my right jaw where I almost always tense, my scalp, the soles of my feet, my belly, my sex, my earlobes. I run my roots down deep into the Earth with attention to the specific location. Gravel? Water? Leaf mold? Clay? (I've almost gotten good at grounding in clay.) Animal bones? Acorn debris? (Not for the next few years. Virginia's oak this year were bereft of acorns. No one knows why.)
I work with a group of women and, by now, I know how their roots feel, whether they're still too tense to have truly grounded or whether their roots are strong, deep, entwined with mine. This only comes, IMHO, from long and regular practice together. Who's still so tense that her monkey mind is keeping her from grounding? What will call her back to the task at hand? Who's the most relaxed tonight, the most aware, the most intense? How can I encourage other roots to entwine with hers?
It can take time to know when you're grounded enough to work magic and the stronger the magic, the more thoroughly you need to ground. If you feel weak after the magic, headachy, seriously in need of carbohydrates, too spacey, out of touch, wrapped in cotton, disoriented -- you didn't ground deeply enough, If you do effective magic and feel tired but good, you were grounded.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."