by Katalin Koda
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
As we develop along the path as healers and magical practitioners, we find that certain tools enhance our practice immeasurably. One of the most important aspects of good healing and magical work is to ground and center. As a Reiki Master, I have found that these are two crucial elements to the practice of Reiki and healing as well as in magical arts such as creating sacred space or casting spells.
To ground is to bring our awareness into our bodies, to draw down into ourselves breathing right here, right now. When we do this we find our center and become better aligned with the continuous and ever-changing flow of life. To ground and center ourselves is like repositioning ourselves at the center of a wheel or mandala. We are reconnecting with being in balance between our feminine and masculine, at the center of the four directions, more clearly aware of our presence on Earth in a particular space. This gives us a clear and potent connection to Earth, which allows our healing work, our magical work, and even our basic day-to-day activities to become lighter and more energetic.
Grounding and centering not only provide a kind of container to hold the energy that moves through us, but they also gives us clear boundaries. In this way it is like we are creating a sacred vessel to hold the energy that is raised up and utilized in our work. In the practice of Reiki, I have found grounding so essential that I made it one of my Reiki Warrior tools as seen in my book The Sacred Path of Reiki: Healing as a Spiritual Discipline. I found that students, when receiving the sky-like attunements in Reiki Warrior classes, occasionally became overwhelmed by the rush of energy. Sometimes they felt light-headed or spacey and could not follow through on all the Reiki techniques. That is when I added certain techniques to aid students in their Reiki processes.
One of the techniques is called the Grounding Cord exercise, which is very useful when practicing Reiki. I teach each student this method and have them do it before a Reiki session as well as after, in conjunction with the Auric Cleanse. This way the student connects directly into the Earth, which aids the practice of healing. Studies have shown that the frequency measured around healers’ hands during times of healing matches the very same frequency at the center of the Earth. This is a clear indication that we are able to directly contact and use the powerful Earth energy as an aid to our healing and magical work. In Hawaii, the sacred dance of hula also mirrors that special Earth energy, but more specifically the volcanic flow. The dancing of Pele, the sacred Goddess of Fire on the Big Island, uses rhythmic rising and falling, swaying, and flowing to emulate the same rhythms of the flow of lava from Halema’uma’u Crater. The ancient people have known about this for millennia, as well as that the direct connection between our bodies and the Earth is crucial for healing and magical work.
When we set up a Sacred Space, we can create as we usually do, giving offering to the four directions and calling in the elements associated with each direction. We then honor the Earth and the Sky, and find our center in that space for a few moments by concentrating on the breath. To ground we can visualize our Grounding Cord. To do this, sit quietly in a chair or meditative position. Focus on the breath for several moments. With each exhalation imagine your consciousness sinking down into the root chakra, located just below the cervix in women and at the perineum in men. Focus for a few minutes on dropping the awareness with each exhalation into the root chakra, perhaps visualizing a red, spinning orb or disk. Feel the warmth and centering of this point in the body. Then, imagine a cord of light, perhaps the same brilliant red color, growing down toward the center of the Earth. It should be a few inches in diameter. Imagine it growing through the floor below you, into the soil of the Earth. Notice the feeling of being connected directly, energetically with the soil, then the rocks, and the water below the rocks. Allow the grounding cord to grow further down through the crystals and minerals of the Earth and finally into the molten core, the brilliant warm energy of planet Earth. Inhale that energy up into the body and exhale back into the Earth center. Allow yourself to feel grounded, connected, and centered. Perhaps the grounding cord stays brilliant red or moves into another color (any color works). If you have trouble visualizing, maybe you can sense or feel that quality of groundedness. Some may associate sound or smell with this exercise. The main purpose is simply to reconnect with your body being right here, right now, grounded on the Earth.
When you have mastered this simple but effective exercise, you can use it every day. Try changing the color of the grounding cord to bring in different qualities or feelings. When you are traveling in a car imagine the grounding cord running along with you, keeping you continuously connected to the Earth. When you are lying down visualize the cord either bending down from your root chakra or simply going straight down, whichever seems simpler.
During Reiki or healing sessions, the Grounding Cord exercise also works to not only anchor us to the Earth, but also to release any unwanted energy that may be triggered by the healing. Ideally, we as healers will not take on anything muddled or stagnant from a client, but sometimes it can happen. By using the Grounding Cord exercise as a way to release excess energy, we can aim to not take on anything from our clients. At the end of a healing session, simply imagine anything muddled or unclear flowing back out of you and your aura and into the Earth’s center, where it will neutralize. For those who are Second Degree practitioners of Reiki, try using the Grounding Cord exercise before sending your distance healing; this can enhance your Reiki practice by bringing even more energy into the healing session because this, in essence, is creating a clear container. Knowing that we will clearly not be carrying our client’s trauma or drama with us, we are able to go much deeper into the healing process.
Similarly, in magical work, when we ground and center we are able to access a much stronger potential of magical energy. For example, when we are doing a Full Moon Ceremony, we can use the Grounding Cord exercise after creating a sacred space. This will bring us more powerfully into the center of our space and provide a very strong energy to use when we then call down the moon, do an abundance spell, or create a magical talisman. The use of visualization is common to most magical practitioners and the Grounding Cord exercise is a very earthy and real way to enhance our creative work.
There are many other ways to ground and center as well, and I encourage you to experiment. Walking barefoot on the grass, in the soil and Earth, is an excellent way to feel our selves in our bodies. Too often our feet are overly soft and sensitive, having spent years in heavy shoes or overly arched in heels. When I lived in India I was often impressed by the feet of the locals, which literally gripped the Earth so naturally, giving them an incredible sense of balance and the ability to walk across any kind of landscape.
Other great ways to ground include:
- Using crystals like obsidian, hematite, or onyx during healing or magical work; these heavier stones will give you a direct connection to the more solid aspects of the Earth
- Lighting incense or herbs to evoke our connection with smell
- Playing an instrument that helps to focus the mind; drumming or playing any kind of rhythmic instrument provides you a chance to connect with the Earth
- Eating heavier foods, such as meat, bread, or potatoes; if this turns you off, try roots like carrots or beets that will nourish the body and give you an extra boost of minerals
- Dancing, walking, hiking, and moving the body will reconnect you with your heartbeat
- Magical work (including chanting, singing, creating a Sacred Space, and casting spells) helps to refocus your energy in alignment with the natural world; practicing these arts require you to be more aware of the rhythms of nature, such as the cycles of the moon, the seasons, and daily shifts
- More Gratitude, Less Attitude; remembering to be thankful for all the abundance we encounter each day helps us to be more present, grounded, and focused
Although this list may seem obvious, we live in a society where watching the day slowly turn to night, witnessing the dawn, drumming to the stars, dancing our feelings of anger or joy, or feeling the soil under our feet are not necessarily daily activities. Too often I have worked on clients whose feet are overly arched in semi-permanent heels and their minds are filled with the restless activity of mental chatter. By taking time out each day to reconnect with the Earth, to ground and center, we are giving ourselves true nourishment. This is essential in our healing and magical work, as well as connecting with those in our everyday life.
Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, tension, or stress, take off your shoes and let your feet breathe. Open up your lungs with deep breaths and use the Grounding Cord exercise to reconnect with the center of our Mother Earth. Remember, this is a very real and wonderful connection, one that should be honored each day. We so often forget that sense of gratitude as we rush off to fulfill our tasks and by grounding and centering we can reclaim that in a very simple, effective, and present way, one that does not require any special skill or years of practice. It is vital to remember that we are in a physical form, one that will all too soon dissolve. Let us enjoy it while it lasts!
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2009. All rights reserved.