The Sky is a roaring ocean of astral (star) forces. The earth in its dance with the moon is hurtling and spinning through the solar winds.
Before we can do any magic we must open ourselves up to these energies. We must make ourselves the bridge between earth and sky. When we are successful the energy flows through us in both directions and we may draw it off to direct it in the ritual. This process of building a bridge is called Grounding and centering.
Grounding is the mental process of connecting with the Earth, it is usually accomplished through a short meditation. Centering is finding your center of spiritual as well as physical balance. When you are centered the things you encounter are less likely to throw you off balance.
The grounding meditation at the beginging of the ritual should accomplish three things:
1). it should establish a vertical axes within the participants;
2). it should open channels to energy flow both up and down; and
3). it should stabilize those energy flows leaving the individual and the group on a higher plateau.
These are some methods of grounding and centering.
A simple grounding meditation to guide the group into a similar mind set. Any brief meditation that brings a sense of stillness will do. Such as:
"Let us stop a moment and find our centers,This is a simple poem that sets the proper tone for a ritual.
Feel the strength of the earth that supports us
Feel the freedom of the air that surrounds us
Make yourself the tree that connects them
Rooted in the earth, branches reaching for the sky
Wiggle your toes into the dirt
Dig down into the cool ground
Comb your fingers through the wind
Reach for the sun
You are a sacred part of the cycle of life."
To this place of quiet beautyThis is a physical meditation for finding your center that I learned at a Neopagan dance workshop.
We have come from busy things
Pausing for a while and waiting
for the thought that quiet brings
(From the Binghamton NY, UU Children's Service.)
Rock back and forth from your left foot to your right foot until you are sure that your weight is evenly distributed. Then rock forward and backward from heel to toe until your weight is evenly distributed from front to back.
Think of a plumb bob dropped through the center of your body, dropped all the way to the center of the earth. The other end of the plumb bob reaches straight up to the sky and your body is aligned perfectly with the string stretched between Earth and Sky.This simple repetitive chant was taught to me by my student NightSwan. It can be sung as a round with the low voices doing the down part and the high voices doing the up part, or simply recited slowly as it is.
Sink down, sink down, sink deeper, sink deep.Some people use grounding like the grounding wire on electrical appliances that drain off excess energy, or like a well to draw energy from.
Reach up, reach up, reach higher, reach high.
Grounding can be like a foundation to build a sturdy house, or it can be the grounding of a tree with its roots in the earth and its branches in the sky. Starhawk's tree meditation is very good for grounding and learning to draw up energy.
The tree is a very dynamic image for the movement of energy. The roots burrow down into the earth searching for water and minerals which they send up to the leaves. the leaves bend toward the light of the sun and spread themselves out to catch the light. Which they photosynthesize and send down to the roots, and on and on. A tree is constantly working burrowing into the earth and stretching for the sun it bends and wriggles and pulses with energy. The damp earth holds our roots in safety as we reach for the sun's heat and whisper to the wind.
The tree meditation reminds me or a passage in "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett where Magrat calls upon the vital energy of spring to make dead wood grow.
"It wasn't a promising place. The old planks had been down here in the darkness all these years, away from the clock of the seasons...On the other hand... Granny had said that somehow all trees were one tree, or something like that.... And it was springtime up there. The ghost of life that still lived in the wood must know that. or if it had forgotten, it must be told. She put her palms flat on the door again and shut her eyes, tried to think her way out through the stone, out of the castle, and into the air, into the sunlight...And then, without warning, the hammer that can drive a marshmallow-soft toadstool through six inches of solid pavement or an eel across a thousand miles of hostile ocean to a particular pond in an upland field, struck up through her and into the door.© 1998 Sheherazahde, Braided Wheel Tradition
"The door gave a warning creak. Several of its planks twisted in vegetable agony and there was a shower of rock splinters when nails were expelled like thorns from a wound, ricocheting off the stone work.
"The lower parts of the planks extended questing white roots, which slithered across the damp stone to the nearest crack and began to auger in. Knotholes bulged, burst and thrust out branches which hit the stones of the doorway and tumbled them aside. And all the time there was a low groan., the sound of the cells of the wood trying to contain the surge of raw life pounding through them."