Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Getting To Know The Ground

If you're going to practice grounding, it helps to be familiar with the ground. Garden, even if you've only got a tiny spot or a few window pots. Pull weeds for a friend or volunteer to do it anyplace with a garden: a hospice, a library, a park, a nursing home. I do a lot of weeding, it's one of THE most oddly calming meditative devices that I know. And when I weed, I spend some time examining the roots of the plants that I'm pulling out of the ground. Different plants have different kinds of roots and I find it helpful to have a visual library of lots of different roots inside my head when it's time for me to sink my roots down into the ground. Over time, I've learned that I usually have two sets of roots. A very energetic set of roots, clear and glassy and filled with blue and gold swirls. (Didn't say it made sense. That's just how they appear to me when I begin sinking them into the ground.) And, a second set that's like some young trees that I've pulled out of the ground. Woody and tough as hell, even if a bit thin, with lots of small "hairy" rootlets shooting off the larger "branches".

Go outside and sit on the ground. At a park, near a river, in the mountains, beside a tree. How does it feel to your ass, to your legs, to your back, to your hands? Stretch out on the ground. How does it feel to your belly? Is it sun-warmed, or still damp and chilly from the last rain? What is it saying to you? What do you want to say to it? If you're going to have a relationship with it, you might want to introduce yourself and become familiar with it. Before you go, you know, invading it with your roots.

When you ground and drop your roots into the Earth, I find that it helps to be aware of how the ground is really feeling these days. It's hard and cold in winter, here where I live. Lately, the top layer is squishy from the wealth of recent rain that we've had. Some mornings, the first few inches are frosty. Come Spring, it will likely be wet, as well, but it will warm gradually. In Summer, the ground here can get parched and, especially in the afternoon, the first half an inch or so can be warm from the sun.

When I ground sitting at my altar, as I sink my roots into the ground, I note the top layer of rich soil, the lower layers of red Virginia clay. I note worms and bugs and moles and the roots of the deep old oaks that surround my home, whose roots form a network of protection around this cottage and its grounds. I sink my roots deeper, noting the bones of my ancestors, becoming one again with the Earth, welcoming my roots, grounding me. I sink my roots lower, past the aquifer, through layers of solid rock that nourish me, down deep enough that the ground begins to warm, lower and deeper -- and spreading out wider and wider all the time -- to the very molten core of Mother Earth, the part of my Mother most full of energy. And then, I begin to draw that warmth and energy up.

With practice, you'll likely find that the ground "feels" different when you ground in different places. My circle of wonderful women often does magic on Capitol Hill and, there, the ground feels more marshy to me, a bit less solid, easier to penetrate and more apt to move around a bit. The ground beneath my office feels even marshyer, and more oppressed, burdened by too many buildings and too much concrete. I have to work harder to get grounded there. When I was in the mountains of Vermont recently, the ground was cold, full of tiny rocks, and it "tasted" mineral-ly, like mineral water with a strong taste.

You can approach grounding as an abstract task, a magical practice that doesn't require you to get your hands, well, dirty. And that may work for some people. But, for me, grounding is about developing a real relationship with the ground, with Mother Earth, the kind of familiarity that allows sudden access when necessary: Let me in old friend, I need this and I need it now.

Picture found here.

No comments: