During my early forays into neopaganism, I always read that you have to learn how to ground, center, and shield in order to do any sort of magic. While I vaguely understood the concepts, I never really understood why they were so necessary or even how to do them. Frustration kept piling up until, one day, I decided that I wasn’t going to learn them and just go on with my religious research. It’s not like I was going to actually do magic in my life.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
Now that I’m doing magic and journeying, I realize I need to learn these things. Several times, especially after a particularly intense trip into the Lowerworld or an intensive ritual, I feel exhausted, light-headed, drained, and most of all, hungry. When I complained about this to a friend, he said, “You should ground yourself.”
I’ve read so many forum posts and articles, and watched so many videos, of suggested ways to ground, center, and shield–everything from “extending your roots into the earth” (to ground), to “extending your light and drawing it back into you” (to center), to “imagining a bubble of energy around you” (to shield). But none of these and similar techniques have worked for me. It’s highly frustrating to realize that I have to come up with my own techniques, ones that are, perhaps, vastly different than what I’ve read or heard.
I think I finally have a handle on grounding, at least. I noticed that after particularly intense activities, I always felt hungry. Eating instantly made me feel better, as it simultaneously cleared my head and sated the craving. At first, I thought that eating to ground is a bit cumbersome because it requires having actual food on hand, but I’ve come to accept that having food available will simply be a requirement of my magical practice. And of all food groups, I’ve noticed that grains and fruit make me feel the best.
The whole idea of a magical and/or energy shield is quite easy to understand, but for some reason, the concept of a protective bubble never felt right to me. I’m not practiced with any kind of defensive magic in general; mine is more offensive and aggressive. Then how am I supposed to shield?
Today, I got the idea in my head of a 360-degree barrier of shadow-stuff with multiple fanged maws, eyes, and claws. For some reason, this makes more sense than a glowing sphere of energy. Then I remembered that I encounter entities of shadow-stuff in my journeying, so I put on my blindfold and played a 6-minute Lustmord song to draw me into the Lowerworld.
I emerged out of trance with the terms of a contract. “If you want us to do it,” they said, “offer us food.”
After coming out of my initial shock, I snatched up one of my pendulums and asked it three questions:
- “Will those things help me if I offer them food?” Yes.
- “Is it safe to do this?” Yes.
- “Do my gods approve of this?” Yes.
I tested it with questions I already knew the answers to, and it got them all correct, so… I guess it looks like my method of shielding will be something quite different than others’ methods. Now comes the tricky part of finding out what they are, what they like, and how often I should put out food.
Centering, honestly, gives me the most difficulty. I understand the idea behind it: to gather my scattered energies and bring them back home where they can settle. Nothing I try makes me feel that way, though. On the other hand, I’m never so busy that I feel so scattered and exhausted, so maybe that has to do with the difficulties I’m experiencing. I start a new work shift at the end of the month, so I’ll see how I feel after that.
For those who do ground, center, and shield, what are your techniques and how did you discover them? How do they make you feel afterward–safe, secure, re-energized?