Not Being Grounded
by Nimue Brown, reposted from Nimue’s Website Druid Life.
Grounding is a strategy that many Pagans use after magic and ritual, or simply as an everyday practice. The idea is to come back into your body, connect with the ground, the physical, your roots etc. Over on facebook recently my friend Tre raised issues about what you do if your body is a place of pain, or if you’re happier with your head in the clouds.
There are certainly times when the last place I want to be is in my own body. There have been times when I’ve come out of rituals and not done anything grounding because I needed to hold the sense of something floatier, more magical, less of this world. A lot of the time I’m big on being in the world and being present, but not all the time. I waft in and out at need.
Earth as an element brings up associations with certain ways of being and feeling. Rooted, stable, feet on the ground, firm, strong and boundaried – and these things are all well and good if they suit you. However, if you’re much more of an air person, then being grounded might feel heavy, oppressive, pinned down and otherwise uncomfortable. Aside from the soles of our feet, we are mostly in the air, not in the earth. Our bodies are solid, but our lungs are airy and we spend all of our days bringing air inside us. Being in a state of airiness may make a lot more sense for some people.
You can reassert your boundaries and come back to yourself with air-focused meditations. You can engage with your breathing to settle as an airy being. You can feel how your body naturally reaches into the sky rather than connecting it to the earth. You can visualise protective bubbles surrounding you – these are all established techniques and there is no need to be earthy about them.
While I’ve been exploring these ideas it struck me that I’m often more water oriented when it comes to settling into myself. I seek out physical encounters with water when I need to feel my own edges. Many of the meditations I favour are about being on, or in water. I go to the stream when I need to calm myself. While magical practices are more likely to deploy water for cleansing, it’s not the only way to approach this element. Floating on water is just as valid a way of coming back to yourself as being on the ground.
Sometimes I find I have to seek the ungrounded. For me, that most often means being on a hilltop, exposed to the enormity of the sky and the energy of the wind. I crave the open space. It’s easy for me to feel too weighed down. Sometimes the earth is a place of comfort, but not always. Sometimes I need to stretch my arms wide to greet a vast horizon and let my soul rise with the songs of the larks.
Grounding has a role if you’re moving between magical space, and mundane space. It may not make sense to do this if you aren’t coming back. Not everyone has the scope to choose, but if you are running off to the woods for a while, if you are escaping the clutches of capitalism, if you are able to run away… maybe you don’t need to transition out of magical spaces and into ordinary ones. I have tested this a bit, there are rituals I did not close, circles I did not leave, and I do not believe that has harmed me in any way.