Why do We Ground and Center?
The terms centering and grounding are often used interchangeably and they are very similar. Both are full body experiences, in which we attempt to bring the three selves together, fully realized in the present moment. Both have obvious physiological effects on the body: heart beat slows, breathing deepens and the brain moves from beta waves, which are associated with awakened consciousness to delta and theta waves, which occur during sleep. This shift of consciousness begins the move into the realm of magic and otherworld communication.
What is Grounding?
While centering brings our focus inward, grounding encourages us to reach out, to acknowledge and build our relationship with all that surrounds us. To many ancient cultures, the natural world was permeated and surrounded by an energy that wove all life together to form an interdependent web. The Egyptians referred to it as the khu, a shinning essence of light; in Hindu culture it became prana or sacred breath; in China, chi; and to the Algonquian Indians of the Northeast United States, it was known as manito. When we ground, we establish our place in the sacred web and attune to the energies that will help focus and empower ritual and magic. Magic is not supernatural, it is dependent on the natural, and is defined as the manipulation and direction of energy in accordance with the will of the witch. Through grounding we tap into the currents of the earth, begin to sense and understand the flow of energy and learn to clear and release excess personal energy back into the cycle.
What is Centering?
While in grounding we are releasing energy and becoming one with the land. In centering, the focus is turned inward, seeking the source of power within. It elicits a feeling of wholeness, inner balance, and confident power when we bring the three selves into the present moment and realize the combined potential of mind, body and spirit. The center has been described as a source of sacred power, the Divine Spark that exists in each individual and the place of origin that connects all life to the collective unconscious*. It is difficult to put into words exactly what your center is, but all of us recognize when we are "off-center". When words spill out followed immediately be regret, when we are crippled by indecision, have the nagging feeling that we are acting inappropriately or feel powerless and overwhelmed, we have lost our center.