Title image for lesson 5- thresholds and shields, grounding, centering, shielding

Class 5- Thresholds and Shields

When was the last time that you walked into a room and could tell the emotional energy?  Have you ever caught someone else’s bad mood?  What about positive energy?  One of the things I hear from students fairly regularly is that they are empathic.  Everyone, to some degree or another, has the ability to feel these energies.  Depending on how you are exposed to them, some people have their energy detectors turned to a high degree.  This is particularly true of people who have experienced trauma, as they are often on ‘high alert.’ The process of grounding, centering & shielding is a fundamental skill that we will be working on together.  The goal is to give you the ability to connect with the earth, and the energies around you, align yourself and be able to tap into the calm of the earth, and create a volume knob for the energy around you, giving you the tools to accept or reject energy coming your way.

There are some considerable downsides to always being attuned to the energies of the places and people around you.When I was a kid, I had a very hard time transitioning between the Montessori school I went to that had a very calm and nurturing energy to the local public kindergarten which was loud, frenetic, high energy, and full of chaos. My parents ended up withdrawing me and I did not go back to that public school until over a year later when I had developed more skills in grounding, shielding, and meditation.

While it can be nice to be forewarned about your partner’s bad mood, or if your pet is in pain, letting that bad mood ruin your day, or feeling the pain of your child or pet as your own personal pain means that you are not equipped to actually help your partner, friend, child, pet etc.  This is why it is important to regularly ground, center and develop healthy shields and boundaries.

Grounding is the first step in establishing your personal shields, because it allows you to shed energy that is not your own, and replace it with calm, healthy energy from the earth.  It helps you from being influenced by other energy and allows you to refocus on yourself.

That process of refocusing, and coming in to your own personal power is what we refer to as centering.  Connecting our minds to the power centers within ourselves.  Aligning your mind and energy gives you the ability to focus that energy to do your will.

Using your personal energy, the energy from the earth, and your will is how you connect with and enforce your shields.

We keep coming back to ‘know thyself’ as an important theme in witchcraft.

If you go around picking up any and every energy that you come across, it will become very difficult to know who you are, and what your own will and motivations are.  How do you know that you are in a bad mood because of things that are going on in your life, or if you are in a bad mood because you were in the same room as someone who was experiencing a bad mood? Having proper boundaries, regularly practicing grounding and centering, and maintaining a shield are all ways in which you discern the self from what is around you.

Often students who have a hard time with shielding, do because they are so concerned about tuning out from what is around them.  They have become accustomed to constantly feeling the emotions of others, of places and spirt, and have a hard time willing themselves to tune that out.  As you progress with your shielding you will learn to use an energetic volume knob, allowing you to block out what is not beneficial for you, but still be able to attune to those around you at will.  Think about how much better it would be to know someone is unhappy but not to be unhappy yourself?  To go into busy places and not be sapped from your personal energy by those around you?

A healthy shield does not have to be a complete sensory block on those intuitive tools.  It does need to be something you can pull up to a full strength to prevent being bowled over by the energy and emotions of the world around you. Grounding, centering and shielding gives you tools to set boundaries for what you want to feel, experience, and be influenced by.

 

Grounding Exercise

Stamp your feet and clap your hands

Find a comfortable position, preferably seated outdoors on the ground, but on the floor or an appropriately supportive chair is perfectly reasonable and find something that is comfortable for you.

Align your shoulders over your hips, and your head on your spine. Make sure your shoulders are down and back, and you are resting comfortably.  Feel yourself balanced.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a moment, and let the air back out through your mouth.

Take another deep breath in, feel your stomach expand, the air filling your lungs, nourishing your body.  Let the air out through pursed lips, pushing from your belly, releasing tension and negative energy as you do.  Do this for an additional 3 breaths.

Visualize roots beginning to expand down from your spine

See your roots connecting down, into the ground, through the earth

Feel the earth, cool and moist around your roots

Feel your roots go down, around other roots, rocks, and the critters that live in the earth

down and down, connecting with the earths energies

as you feel your roots spread into the ground, take in a breath and begin to sing

“My roots go down, down into the earth, 

My roots go down, down into the ground, 

my roots go down, down into the ground, 

My roots go down.” -Modification of Sarah Pirtle’s song –  view a performance of the original song:

Feel the energy of the earth enter your roots, traveling up and up

feel the energy traveling up the roots and up to the base of your spine

Feel the energy coming up through your spine, and entering your body,

the clean, bright energy of the earth moving through your spine, and out through your hips, your legs, and returning through your body back down into the ground.

Feel the energy of the earth coming up through your spine and through your ribs, pushing out anything negative and mingling with your breath.  Feel the energy displacing anything negative and filling your body with its clean, bright connection with the earth’s energies. As you breathe in, feel that energy continuing to climb your spine, up and out through your shoulders, down your arms, and spilling out of your hands, returning down into the earth, creating a completed circuit.

Feel that energy flow up your spine and up through your head, up through your crown. Up and up creating a fountain above your head, raining down on the earth around you, and returning back down.

Feel the connection brighten when you breathe in, and dim slightly as you breathe out.  Allow it to fill you and displace anything that is no longer serving you.  Breathe in and out, feeling energized and completely connected with the earth.

Take a moment to thank the earth, for all that it does to support us, for sharing its energies with us, and for sustaining our lives.  Then allow the energy to recede, back through your crown, back through your arms, leaving behind only the energy that will support you in your highest good.

Allow the energy to recede back down your spine, and back down into the earth, leaving behind enough energy to support you and your workings, but not overcharging.  Allow all excess energy to return down to the earth.  When you are feeling calm and energized visualize your roots returning back up through the earth, up and up, and returning to their home at the base of your spine, knowing your connection with the earth is always there.

Open your eyes and rejoin the physical world. Stamp your feet a few times, and clap your hands!

Centering

Grounding and Centering are often combined together into a singular exercise, but it is important to get a concept of centering outside of grounding techniques as well.  That is what this exercise is for. 

As you progress with this exercise, it will not take the same level of concentration.  As you are more familiar with the process you can move from the longform to something much more simple.  This is the form that I follow now when I connect to my center: 

In I go to see my center

Following the path from my mentor

I feel my power within

pervading all under my skin

Light spinning and returning 

illuminating but never burning

It swirls and moves, like a galaxy inside

My soul providing the gravity, it’s guide

This vision I hold in my mind:

My body and my soul are aligned

But for now: 

Find a comfortable position, preferably standing outdoors with your feet shoulder width apart, your shoulders and hips aligned over your feet and your arms relaxed at your sides, but seated on the ground, on the floor or an appropriately supportive chair is perfectly reasonable– find something that is comfortable for you.

Take in a breath, and follow that breath inward, feeling it as it expands into your lungs.  Release any additional tension you may be holding in your shoulders, in your belly, or in other parts of your body as you release your breath.  Continue following this process, breathing in through your nose, following the breath, and releasing tension and negativity out through your mouth. 

Allow your breathing to return to an automatic process, while your mind continues to remain inside.  Visualize darkness while you feel for your place of balance, somewhere between your hips and your shoulders. Sway slightly back and forth until you feel where your center of gravity is.  Feel it in the base of your lungs and between your heart and your groin.  When you can feel this spot, envision Turing on the light. 

With each breath, feel the light grow, filling your body.  See the light radiating out from your center, radiating out to skim across your skin before returning back to that single point, somewhere between your heart and your belly button  Push out anything you see where you may have a dark spot, or a blockage.  Really feel yourself align, and the energy in your middle.  Feel it in the way you are balanced, keeping that ball of energy centered around your center of gravity. Feel yourself full of that energy.  

When you are ready to, open your eyes knowing you are aligned, connected and at one with yourself and your power. and ready to go on with your day. Re-center whenever you find yourself exhausted, grumpy, or feeling off-balance.

I

Stone Exercise for Grounding and Centering

Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a moment, and let the air back out through your mouth.

Take another deep breath in, feel your stomach expand, the air filling your lungs, nourishing your body.  Let the air out through pursed lips, pushing from your belly, releasing tension and negative energy as you do.

Repeat this three times before allowing your attention to move away from your breathing, and resume a natural rhythm.

Close your eyes and hold out your hand.

Feel your stone in your hand.  Feel the weight of it, feel its coolness or warmth, its texture, the smooth and rough points.  Really feel the stone- does it have any points? Divots? Bumps? High points or low points?

Using your minds eye focus on your stone.  Look at it as it catches light.  What colors is it?  How does it look in sunlight? In shade? In moonlight?  Does it have any shine or sparkle or is it fully matte?  How would you describe it to someone else?

How does your rock connect with the earth?  Visualize where you found it.  How did it come to be there? How is it connected with the earth?  See yourself holding your rock and holding a connection with the earth through your rock.

Take a moment to simply spend time with your stone, enjoying its weight in your hand.

When you are ready, bring your focus back in, and feel your breathing in and out.  Once you reconnect with your breathing, go ahead and open your eyes.

You should feel calm, centered, and balanced while connected with the world around you.

Shielding Exercise

Shielding Exercises are best done after grounding and centering.  You want to make sure you’re not keeping anything yucky inside with you in your shield, and it is good to be coming from a clear, energized, and centered place when connecting with your shields

Find a comfortable position, preferably standing outdoors with your feet shoulder width apart, your shoulders and hips aligned over your feet and your arms relaxed at your sides, but seated on the ground, on the floor or an appropriately supportive chair is perfectly reasonable– find something that is comfortable for you.

Hold your hands up at your shoulder height.  Slowly push out until you start to feel resistance-  this is where your natural boundaries are.  Practice feeling this boundary.  Does it feel solid, or amorphous.  Do you find it in the same place each time, or does it tend to expand and contract between times that you are connecting with it?

When you connect your hands with this shield, visualize it as full of energy.  Connect with your core, and start to layer energy into your shield, visualizing it beginning to glow and take a more physical form.  Think about things you attribute safety and security to, and visualize your shield having the best attributes of those things.  Visualize your shield repelling negative energy, repelling outside influences.  See your barrier preventing these things, repelling them like a ball bouncing off, or some dark muck sliding off.

Thank your shields for protecting you.  Thank the earth for providing the energy, and sustaining you.   Thank the spirits of mirrors, of crystals, of rocks, of leaves, or whatever else you incorporate into your shielding to keep you safe. Thank any spirits, gods, or goddesses that help guide you in your work.

When you are ready, open your eyes, and know you are protected.  Reinforce your shields whenever you think of it, sending a small spark to check and reinforce them at your will.

Class 5 Handouts:

Quiz 5

Class 5

Shielding

Tree Grounding

Stone Grounding and Centering

Witch Centering

 

Homework

Create a list of your beloved dead, as well as your spiritual ancestors (people who have impacted your thoughts, spiritual practice, theology, ethics, etc. who you may not actually be blood related to)

Bring in small (small enough to fit inside or attach or wrap around an egg) items that you associate with safety and protection or the feeling of being safe.

Bring in clean and empty egg shells if you happen to have them…

Be prepared for a slightly messy class (glue, paint, etc) in an outdoor space with no running water.

Do grounding and centering and shielding exercises, consider trying Ariel’s Grounding and Centering posted below.

Make a plan for what you want to add to the Altar for our Samhain ritual, and bring in anything you would like to use to dress the elemental candle, or ritual candle assigned to your role.  I will bring some candles with me, as well as some essential oils and a few herbs so we have a place to start. If there is something in particular that you would like to include (especially if it is an herb or an oil) please give me 24hrs notice to make sure I have it or a suitable substitute with me.

Catchup on your reading 🙂 I promise the Charge of the Goddess and Aradia will be worth the time.  There are some links below to explore if you are interested but it is not required.

Listen to this Grounding and Centering, and try to do it several times before we meet again.  If you are interested in more from Ariel, consider signing up for the whole course.  We will visit more of his work as we progress with the class. https://www.arielgatoga.com/awp

Books on grounding, centering and Shielding

The most famous book about Shielding is Psychic self defense by Dion Fortune –  Personally I find it a bit challenging to work with.

My favorite book on shielding is “The Witches Shield” by Christopher Penzack

 

Here are a few Patheos articles on grounding – centering & shielding that may be helpful:

Quick ways to Ground and Shield | Lisa Wagoner

Grounding for Beginners | Christopher Drysdale

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/theothersideofthehedge/2017/06/side-hedge-2/

Protection Magic Basics | Christopher Drysdale

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