What is Centering and Grounding?

Although a lot of people look upon the terms “grounding” and “centering” as one in the same, in truth they are two very different things that are often used in conjunction together.

Centering, which is usually done first (although not always), is about drawing in your chaotic energy. Imagine your energy as a sphere that surrounds you. When you are feeling chaotic, distracted, scattered, etc, the particles of energy in this sphere are agitated and disorganized.

In centering, you are taking these particles of your energy and drawing them from the sphere and in closer to yourself, even into yourself. Drawing these energies in, they condense and calm, ceasing their agitation and disorganized behavior. This is called Centering. It is bringing your energy “to center” in order to “piece yourself together” and calm your energy into a state of solid stability.

Grounding is usually done after centering, although some people do them simultaneously (or only do one or another depending on what works for them). Grounding is taking that stability within you and connecting it to “an anchor”. There are lots of things you can use as an anchor, but in my case it is always very literally… the ground.

Grounding helps preserve the centering that has been done, giving the stability found in the centering a more solid and long-lasting quality. It can also be used to help release excess energy that can build up when one is dealing with things like nervousness or anxiety, or otherwise balance out one’s energies.

My go-to way of grounding is through rooting. This is when you allow yourself to connect through your feet (or other part of your body touching the ground) and imagine your energy creating roots that dig down into the earth and spread beneath you. These energy roots create an anchor that helps cement stability in place, and allows a give-and-take of energy with the earth to level out any excess or depletion taking place.

I center and ground many, many times a day. It is a habit that takes a few second at a time, or can take a few minutes if done consciously and with intention for a stronger effect.

In spellcraft, these techniques are especially important as they are used to help condense and prepare your energy for use and direction. Casting a spell without centering and grounding would be like shooting an arrow out of a bow with the feathers loose. The energy (arrow) may get where its going, but it sheds a good deal of energy along the way (the feathers) making the spell less effective,

By centering and grounding first, you are essentially securing those feathers to the arrow (creating fletching) so that when the arrow flies, there is no loss of energy along the way and the arrow’s accuracy is greatly increased. Thus, your intention and energy in the spell is not wasted and flies true as well.

This is why you will find in the large majority of witchcrafting communities, when people ask why a spell didn’t work or why it went awry, the first question usually posed by those with experience is “Did you center and ground first?”

Music to Craft By

Today’s question is brought to you by two of the witchy type servers that I’m a member of on Discord. Both servers asked the exact same question within a few days of each other and I thought it might make for a good topic here.

Prompt from Server #1: “What song(s) put you in a witchy mood?”
Prompt from Server #2: “What kind of music do you like to listen to when you work magic?

Okay, so I love music. I really do. But, there are a number of activities that I can’t do while listening to music. Because I have sound → sensation/smell/taste synesthesia, music can often have unintended distractionary repercussions, so I have to be careful to what I listen to and when. For example, I have a playlist of music I can listen to while driving because none of the songs cause me physical sensations that would distract me from what I’m doing. I couldn’t guarantee that if I were listening to the radio, where a song or sound might come up that could create a painful pinch in my hand or arm, or a pins and needles sensation in my foot or leg.

For this reason, most of the time when doing spellcraft and different spiritual workings, I don’t use music as it can create “phantom sensations” that can be distracting. That said, I do have a playlist full of certain songs that safely “fit the mood” that I will use when I want to include music. Some of those include…

Terra Firma by Delerium


Silence by Delerium


Dissolved Girl by Massive Attack


Black Milk by Massive Attack


All Mine by Portishead


To Be Free by Emiliana Torrini

Not all of these (or all of those on the playlist) are sensation-free sound. But none of them create unpleasant sensations, smells, or tastes that might distract me from my focus. And, of course, all have the same “vibe” to the music that helps “set the mood” that I like for spellcraft and witchy-type activities. I think that for a lot of people, music can really add another level of depth to their practice, and even another element of “flavor” to the magic itself.

#31DaysofWitchcraft Prompt 12 & 13 (non)VR to Heather Carter

Heather Carter on YouTube put together a series of prompts titled #31DaysofWitchcraft that she’s been working her way through since the beginning of May. I really like this idea, but I can’t handle the responsibility of any more daily posts, so I thought that for the next few weeks, I would do one (or a few at a time) for the end of week “My Pagan Perspective” posts and work through them a bit at a time.

spellbook

12. Do you have a separate witchy name? Why, or why not?

My “witchy name” is the same as my online name.  It’s Twist the Leaf.

This name comes from a line in a ritual that my sister and I wrote together as children.

To be fair, when I first came online, I used just “Twist” and then “Twist the Leaf” for circles and pagan events and activities.  But over the years, the two have melded and I now use Twist the Leaf in most places, and “Twist” as the shortened version here and there.

As for why.  My mother used to take my sister and I to a lot of Wiccan functions, and having a “witchy name” was all the rage in those circles.  I chose my “witchy name” initially in order to finally get them to stop pestering me about choosing one, but over time it’s become… more than that.

I no longer go to those events and haven’t for… at least fifteen years or more. Other than my sister (and our mentor recently as she’s been living with us for a bit now), my practice is primarily solitary.  But the name has stuck, and these days it seems that I’m actually more comfortable being called Twist than I am called by my birth name.

13. Do you write your own spells, use pre-written one or do a mix of both?

I write my own spellwork, or at times work on it together with my sister.

This falls back on the way we were raised. To be honest?  I don’t spend a lot of time reading pagan/wiccan/witchcraft books.  This isn’t how I learned my craft.  Because of this? Although I knew that published books had spells in them, I didn’t realize these were actually spells people used.  Like, letter for letter and word for word, used like a recipe to bake pastry.  This realization that people actually do that was baffling to me.

My sister and I were taught to write our own rituals and our own spellwork.  We were taught that it is a part of the process of casting a spell to do the work behind the spell, which includes doing the research to know what elements to include in the spellwork, and constructing the spell and wordwork ourselves.   I guess that because of this, I assumed that the spellwork in published books was there as a “jumping off point”?  You know, providing ideas and examples… but not there to be used as-is.

Systems of Correspondences

Today’s prompt is brought to you by one of the Discord servers that I am a member of.  Just as a side note… the reason I do not link these Discord servers is because each server has their own rules about if you’re allowed to share them publicly and how, and it’s a pain in the ass to look it up for each one so I just don’t share them.

On to the question… “What systems of correspondences do you tend to work with most? How do they play a part in your practice? (Ie: the cardinal directions, elements, magickal herbs, etc)

correspondances

The Elements – These are essentially the touchstones of my craft.  I do not have five points when I create a circle.  I have four.  This is because the representative for “spirit” resides inside the circle, not at one of the outer edges.  I (not surprisingly) connect most strongly to the element earth, with water following close behind.  Then air… and lastly fire, which is an element I’ve never had a very close affinity with.   The elements in spellcraft and my path align up with the same correspondences that you see for the elements in the tarot.  That is to say….

Fire (Wands) represents the inner spark of passion, willpower, and drive.
Water (Cups) represents the emotions, relationships, creativity, and intuition.
Air (Swords) represents the mind, intellect, and communication
Earth (Pentacles) represents the physical realm including health, resources, finances, etc.

Spirit/Divinity – As previously mentioned, for me spirit/divinity is not a point upon the circle’s perimeter (not that I cast circles all that often), but resides at the center of that circle. Spirit/Divinity (in my practice), is defined as the energies of creation, evolution, and balance.  Because of its distinction as being separate from “The Elements”, I gave it its own section in these correspondences.

Plants of All Kinds – I’ve always been very connected with plants and rich, moist soil. I have two green thumbs and eight green fingers, and I love plants of all kinds so much so that my university education was focused in the areas of botany and horticulture.  It is no surprise, then, that plants and soil would be something that I incorporate strongly into my spellcraft and practice both through their spiritual symbology, practical uses, medicinal uses, and otherwise.

Lunar Cycles – I depend on the cycles of the moon to lend energy to both my spellcraft and my gardening.  You can learn more about that latter part here:  Farmer’s Almanac – Why Garden By The Moon

Seasonal Cycles – My wheel of the year is built around seasonal cycles (as opposed to the god/goddess journey or whatnot).  My celebrations align with the solstices, equinoxes, and cross quarter points lined out by seasonal changes. Which, I suppose, means it could also be said that I work with weather cycles as well.

Stones and Minerals (esp. semiprecious stones and precious stones) – I’m a jeweler.  I make amulets and pendulums and other magically enhanced items.  It would be weird to me to do this without using the appropriate stones in the process.

Colors – This one is more rare, but there are magical correspondences that have to do with colors, especially when using candle magic, thread and knotting magic, etc.  I do occasionally incorporate this into my spellcraft, but not all that often.

I’m sure there are plenty more that I’ve not included, but this is a list of some of those I use most often.