Notes from the Apothecary

February, 2019

Notes from the Apothecary: Cumin

is a fragrant spice in the apiaceae family, meaning it’s related to
carrots, parsley, and the similar looking caraway. We use the seed of
the plant in both cooking and magic.

has been used for thousands of years, and most likely originated near
Syria, based on evidence from nearby excavation sites. Cumin was a
table spice in Ancient Greece, a tradition which continues today in
Morocco. The Romans adopted the use of cumin, and Spanish and
Portuguese colonists eventually brought the spice to the Americas,
where it is enjoyed in a range of cuisines.

Kitchen Garden

is one of those mesmerising flavours that simply doesn’t taste like
anything else. When I was first learning about cooking Indian food, I
had not realised that cumin was such a commonly used ingredient.
Adding it to my store cupboard changed my life. Most curries I cook
now have whole cumin seeds fried until they pop and release their
smoky, earthy goodness into the hot oil. Every chilli con carne is
blessed with my kitchen’s holy triumvirate of cumin, coriander and
turmeric, making the house smell simply divine.

seeds and ground cumin are both readily available in grocery stores
and supermarkets. I’ve found that the best value way to buy cumin
is to visit an Indian or Mexican store or wholesaler, as shops that
don’t specialise tend to bump the price up.


seeds are used as a natural medicine all over the world. Alleged
cumin medical properties include being an anti-inflammatory,
diuretic, antispasmodic, carminative, aromatic, digestive, and an
emmenagogue. In their book about healthy seeds, Danny Sarmiento
writes that cumin helps prevent the harmful effects of stress on the
body. That must be why I love a cumin heavy curry on a weekend after
a hard week!

also states that cumin can offer relief for asthma sufferers as it
may dilate the airways. There’s also some indication that the seeds
may be effective for treating diabetes.

seeds are filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals including iron
and manganese, so they’re a great addition to just about anyone’s

Witch’s Kitchen

lists cumin in his encyclopaedia of magical herbs. He states the
spice is masculine, associated with Mars and fire, which makes sense
when you think of how this spice is often used in hot curries and
Mexican food! Heat is definitely linked to cumin. But I also find it
earthy, and grounding.

to Cunningham, the spice is used for protection magic, to ensure
fidelity, for exorcism and to prevent theft. Bread baked with cumin
seeds won’t be stolen by spirits, so if you follow this
superstition, don’t leave cumin-spiced bread out for the fair folk!
Cumin can be burnt with frankincense to create a powerful protective
incense. Scatter cumin and salt to create a protective boundary.
Carry in a pouch at handfastings to drive negative thoughts or
energies away from the happy couple. Or add some to the wine later
on, for an exciting wedding night!

and Hearth

cumin seeds with fine salt. Walk the boundary of your home at Imbolc
or the Spring Equinox. Sprinkle the protective mix while you
visualise your home as a safe and special place. Imagine the sun’s
returning light suffusing your home with a warm, comforting glow. The
salt and spice mix will keep negativity at bay, whilst allowing love
entry, and encouraging loyalty.

Never Knew…

an old superstition that you should curse and shout as you sow cumin
seeds, to ensure a good crop.

All images via
Wikipedia or Wikimedia commons.


About the Author:

Mabh Savage is
a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestorsand Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Finding Your Own Way

December, 2018

Chapter 8

The Shamanistic Path

I add this section for those who are interested in the spiritualistic or shamanistic aspect of meditation. This is simply an introduction to the world of the shaman. For those who wish to delve further, I would advise finding a reliable teacher to help them. In the last twenty years, there has been a widening of interest in the healing and spiritual practices of our ancestors and many have found a pathway back to a more earth-centred method of teaching and healing.

As always, trust your own instincts. Find out as much as you can before becoming too closely involved with any particular individual. We all go through challenging times, – but if this person is not handling the important aspects of their lives very well, then perhaps they are not for you.

If they care more about money than the work they are doing, then they are most likely not the right person to teach you. If they take on too many students, then they may not be able to give the support needed. Many shamans offer healing and counseling. If you are interested in learning from someone, then this may be a good way to find out if your paths are compatible. Even a good shaman may not be suited to you personally. Be prepared to take the time needed to find a way forward. A good friend who is a powerful shaman told me that the teacher will find you when you are ready. We work on ourselves and the universe guides us to where we need to be. I am always suspicious of weekend courses which promise to turn someone into an instant healer /shaman/counsellor with a nice shiny certificate.

What we know of the early religious practices of mankind is based largely on cave paintings and a few archaeological discoveries. Most anthropologists base their conjectures loosely on the tribal cultures which still existed in remote places up until quite recently, – before becoming overrun by modern society.

It is widely believed that shamans have existed as a separate class for at least 30,000 years.

It is my own belief that many men who were unsuited to hunting became shamans. In many ways, their initiation was as tough as that of the warriors in many cultures. Often they were buried for several days to symbolise a journey to the underworld.

Those with minor disabilities which would have made them unfit for hunting were able to help their tribe by performing rituals for success and journeying inward to help find the best places to hunt for game. They would then be on hand to protect the camp during the hunt and use divination to resolve any disputes. Contacting the ancestors may have been an important part of their duties and healing diseases by the use of herbs, and in serious cases, ‘soul retrieval’

In soul retrieval, the shaman enters the underworld to find the lost soul of a tribal member. The afflicted may have a mental illness or a fever or be near death.

The shaman must be confident and courageous, or he too may become lost in the vast realms of the underworld and perhaps never return.

I would find this idea quaint, – apart from having witnessed the effects on what could easily be called “loss of soul” on a good friend. He became lost during a badly constructed ritual for past life journeying which was popular in the 1970’s. Something rather nasty returned in his stead.

It took most of the night to evict the ‘entity’ and return this young man and he was never quite the same again. I am aware of the theory of disassociated personality complexes, but it is hard to call them that when they read minds and try to tear your throat out. This is why it is best to get a teacher before tackling more advanced work. Always set your boundaries and your intent. Use whatever help is available to you and meditate in a safe and a sane way. Take things slowly and easily.

My own ideas on how early shamanism was structured, are based more on my own experiences than on the little that is known of early man. Because a group of people may live a nomadic lifestyle or exist in buildings suited to their locality, made of straw and mud, – it hardly proves that their culture has not advanced in 30.000 years.

In 1980, I went to see a small collection of artifacts, taken from Newgrange, Ireland, which were on display in a private library in Dublin. I went with a friend, who I will call Susan. We were invited to go there by the leader of a Rosicrucian group we were involved in. All we were told was to look for an item listed as a ceremonial mace head and see what connection we could make with the object. It was an egg-shaped stone with spiral patterns and a hole through it, large enough to fill a man’s hand.

As I gazed at the object, I found myself back in Newgrange, sometime around the building of the passage tomb. A young man dressed in furs sat in front of a fire using the object to grind something in a bowl. He had a clubbed foot. When I commented on it, he laughed and told me it was why he was chosen to be a shaman. When I compared notes with Susan, it turned out that we had shared the same experience. Our accounts of the vision matched perfectly. Oddly, I forgot about this experience for many years until the memory came back to me one day. I wrote the poem below to remind myself of the journey.

Trance is a powerful tool for spiritual exploration.

It can be triggered by many methods.

Hypnotism is the least trustworthy and most dangerous method.

Wounded Heart

Do only fools and cripples live in longing for the light?

Are wounded hearts the only ones who venture deep into the dark to draw aside the veil?

They, who wander aimlessly in woods and fields, to search for wisdom long before the dawn,

Have pity for the poets and the artists who have felt this sense of exile since the day that they were born.

A simple, egg-shaped stone, small enough to fit inside my palm, became the key.

I gazed upon the spirals on this artifact and little did I realise the tale it had to tell.

My friend and I transported back in space and time to when it last was used.

At Newgrange barrow, we both stood, amazed, astounded and bemused.

The shaman sat before a fire, with robes of fur, and mischief in his eyes.

Grinding herbs with stone and bowl, our sudden apparitions seemed to cause him no surprise.

It happened forty, and five thousand years ago, I scarce remember all he had to say.

But one thing stood so clearly in my mind, it stayed with me until this very day.

He seemed quite young for one so wise, with a boyish face and long dark hair,

But, when I gazed upon his crippled foot, he quickly picked up on my stare.

I commented upon the injury at which he saw me glance,

He laughed as if I was a clumsy child, and asked how else would he have had his chance?

The wounded walk the lonely path, and fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

The blind can see the things which normally are hidden by the light, – their vision knows no end.

The beggar and the vagabond have riches that a king will never know.

And when the journey has no maps or charts, the child within us knows which way to go.


About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge on Amazon

Crystal Connections

January, 2018

Petrified Wood

Also known as Agatized or Fossilized Wood, Petrified wood in all actuality is Quartz and possesses some wonderful healing energies. Once rooted deep within the earth, these crystalline structures have a strong Gaia connection plus grounding and ancestral healing energies. Additional attributes that I have felt from working with these crystals is a fortified strength and a type of wisdom that can only come from something that was and is so deeply connected to the Earth. This peaceful stone is especially good to work with when you have inner turbulence and need to regain or re-establish some inner peace and balance.

Since my dad was a rockhound, Petrified wood was plentiful in my dads rock collection. He collected them from the many trips he made to Canada, Montana, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. A couple of my favorites are the Agatized Limb Cast that is a translucent milky green color and a near black one that has a bit of druzy in it. Honestly I love all Petrified Wood but those are just my favorites because they’re not the typical pieces that you see.

The history these beautiful gems hold and are willing to share with anyone that is called to work with them is genuinely something to behold. To establish a deeper connection with these crystalline structures, sit with them in quiet meditation and ask what type of earthly wisdom they want to share with you. Be sure to take in the grounding strength they have to offer, and allow their Gaian energies to envelope you in a warm loving motherly hug.


About the Author:

Shiron (Shi) Eddy hails from the Pacific Northwest and shares a home with her husband, a Great Dane and a cat. Her love for crystals and minerals came from her dad who was an avid rock hound in his younger years. Shi happily shares her knowledge of crystals with anyone who is drawn to them, but especially loves to help people connect with minerals that involves their metaphysical properties. When she’s not networking with other crystal and mineral lovers, Shi can be found making jewelry, painting, crocheting Goddess dolls, selling her wares at shows or spending time with family and friends. You can find her jewelry in her shop ShiJewels or follow her on Instagram.

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

July, 2014

Grounding: A Pet Peeve
When I was first introduced to the Pagan community in the early 90’s, I noticed a trend with workshop leaders and with some of the ritual leaders when it came to grounding. They would start off in a dreamy voice…
Close your eyes…take a deep slow breath in…now breath out slowly… (repeat a few times)
Now, drop a cord or visualize roots extending from your feet/base of spine…allow all negative, pain, sorrow… (etc.) to flow from you and into Mother Earth, She can take all of this from you…now bring up Her healing energy…
Ok, stop right there. Our beautiful Mother cannot take all of your pain, sorrow, negativity or whatever. Not, that is, unless you extend that cord or your roots all the way down to Her Heart Center, that fiery core, and ask that it be transformed into something healing and loving for all of Her children.
Well the first thing that comes to mind is: what makes some people think that She wants any of our negative energy? Has She asked you for it? Did She say, ‘Yes, dump all of your negative energy into me along with your garbage, nuclear waste, and poisons. What’s one more negative thing being dumped into my body’.
The second thing is that if you are not responsible to what happens to that negative energy, if you are just dumping it, then that negativity is resting in the top soil. What if someone with empathic sensitivity comes along and picks it up unconsciously? Have you ever been out somewhere, feeling fine one minute and the next your mood changes and the slightest little thing sets you off and you don’t know why? Of course sometimes we just walked by someone and pick up their negative energy, but it’s the same principle. We always speak of self-responsibility within the Pagan community; shouldn’t this be one of the things we are responsible for?
Years ago I was explaining this to some students, about sending the energy all the way down to Mother Earth’s fiery center and asking for it to be transformed. One student said that, that wasn’t the way she’d been taught by another teacher. The teacher she named was well known in our area as a Shamanic teacher and healer, though I’d never met her. I told my student that this is the way I teach grounding.
Well, I got a call from the local Shamanic teacher, a very nice woman, whom I am friends with today. She told me that her former student had shared with her the grounding technique that I use and that she never considered running the energy to the core or transforming the energy into something positive, she just assumed that it would just take care of its self. She also mentioned that she had been teaching grounding for 20 years.
My grandma, who was a wise woman, taught me to always ask the earth to take away any negative energy I might be holding within and to transform it into something wonderful and healing. This is not the ‘only true and right way’ to ground. Much has changed within the Pagan community since the 90’s and with that many of the things being taught at that time has evolved. If you take anything from this post, I hope it is being mindful of how you dispose of your energy to Mother Earth.
Blessings on your Hearth & Home,

The Magickal ARTS

April, 2014

The Gates of Sound


You breathe deeply into the meditation of grounding; preparing and anchoring yourself in anticipation of entering sacred space. You step forward and cross the threshold of ritual space and pass between two drums placed on either side of you echoing the rhythm of your heartbeat. A rush of energy moves through you and you immediately feel the core of your center respond in resonance.  Boom-boom, boom-boom; each dual strike syncopating the placement of one foot in front of the other carrying you into the space of magick and arriving through the Gates of Sound.


Music soothes the soul, quiets the mind and sets the listener in a space of tranquility and peace. Music unleashes the prime instinctual nature and rouses the passions, spirit and emotions of the listener to a place of alertness and action. Music inspires what will become art or a piece of great writing. Music links the atoms and cells of its vehicle in grace and fluid motion, or syncopated frenzy. Music beats out the rhythm of the heart and carries the journeyer to realms hidden and remote holding treasures of deeper mystery. Music carves its way through the energetic fields surrounding and like the ephemeral flutter of butterfly wings, lightly etches its feathery strokes; forever changing all in its path. This month we’ll begin a journey exploring the definition of, energy and form that sound takes and its transformative qualities that create the music of the Soul that becomes the harmonious composition of the Universe.


Music is only one aspect of what is included in the definition of sound. Some may say that music is the structured pattern of sound’s rhythm. And, that when sound is unstructured it becomes noise. I believe these are merely the semantics used in an attempt to categorize what essentially moves of, and in its own accord as it recreates its own definition in response to where its energy is directed. Music is the most overt expression of sound, primarily because we are conditioned to recognize its signature of pattern and perk up in attention as the sound moves through the receivers of our auditory experience.


It is scientific fact that the brain responds in accord with the signature of rhythm that is provided it. If we look at this response using the definition of artistic expression it is clear why so many of these forms of creative beauty are used to access the deeper response of the soul and elevate conscious awareness to a place of inspiration. Sound applied through the dynamics of music takes many forms and in its most structured is used as therapy to heal, calm and stimulate function because of this innate stimulation of resonance of the neural pathways to specific electrical patterns. We’ll take a look at the specific sound patterns of music in future writings.


At a physical level, our ears are the tools of auditory experience, but this is only the beginning of the auditory responses of our subtle senses. The transparent sounds we encounter act as depth charges on our psyche and emotional, mental and ultimately physical response play out the discord or harmony we have taken in. If we think of sound in these ways, we also realize that volume and tone play only a small part in what the effects will be. The intention placed behind an almost silent utterance of negative energy will produce the same desired effect as one of more audible level. Conversely, an invocation bolstered by a voice that is loud and full in its calling will draw nothing to itself, if intent is not strongly in place as the cannon of carrier. Each action moves sound, breath and rhythm in a specific way, but as with all magickal practice, the intention provides the suitable structure for success and the ultimate point of resonance that attracts the desired goal.

In the mundane experience, we are continually surrounded by the vibratory signature of sound, and are largely unaware of the responsive resonance of those powerful waves of vibration moving through and within our bodies. The profound inference of this statement is that when we become aware of the effects of certain sounds on our emotional, mental and active states we can use these as potent tools of magickal working, spiritual practice and transformation. In example, nothing touches us to the core of our being like a piece of beautiful music and likewise, the same sensations are evoked at the sound of new life being birth and the first cries of a beautiful baby. Similarly, music can agitate us if certain pitches and rhythms are used just as that same crying baby can rub nerves raw if encountered in an already stressful state.


Much of the sound and subsequently altering of our own state of resonance is transparent. The white noise hum of electrical objects, that when electricity fails brings us to the startling awareness of the real meaning of silence. The clicking of the keys of the computer keyboard as we type. The daily opening and closing of our car or house doors as we arrive and leave. The rubbing of our hands together for warmth and the swish of clothing brushing across our skin as we move about. All of these and more form the multiple gateways of sound through which we forever move as we go about our daily tasks. In the space of eventide we are still subject to sound. The rhythmic or annoying sound of breath as we move into dreamscape that becomes the gentle wave holding us at the fluctuating levels of consciousness can easily become the abrupt awakening that occurs when snoring reverberates through a quiet bedroom. The white noise of the air conditioner that aids our sleep or the all too loud ticking of the clock that keeps us on edge. All these and more effect the quality and thus level of dream state we are able to achieve in any given night.


These sound patterns move cyclically and create their own geometric patterns that are then embedded within our own to form points of resonance for future reference. This is how we are often not even aware of the sounds that routinely surround us because we are already attuned to their specific signature. Think about the country dweller who is acutely aware of the sounds of nature and can “hear” the change in the seasons. Arriving in the city, that same individual is deafeningly aware of the sounds of sirens, cars, and city equipment. The city dweller barely notices these things because they are attuned to the frequency of the cityscape and would most likely say that it is “too quiet” in the country, never hearing the gentle rustle of the butterfly as it moves through feathery greenery.


Years ago I was listening to multiple compositions of music to select one for a piece of choreography and came across something called the “Tabula Rasa” by Arvo Part. Basically the music is a geometric structure of sound that repeats the same basic set of notes with minor variations and dynamics as the completed composition. The intriguing part is how the music winds and weaves its repetition of notes around a central core of sameness. This sameness is the point of resonance where each responds to the other in like manner. This is the resonance of the country fellow and the sounds of the country and the city woman who thrives in the bustling rhythm of the city.


Initially what attracted me to this piece of music was the title, “ The Tabula Rasa”, and as I dug a little deeper into what that title might imply, I was inspired by the etymology of its origins. The term in Latin equates to the English “blank slate” (which refers to writing on a slate sheet in chalk) but comes from the Roman tabula or a wax tablet, used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it to give a “tabula rasa”. I liked this idea of mind being molded by experience and the many permutations that it may take on, while still operating from a central core of knowledge.


I believe this principle to one that is a staple of spiritual progress. This is the idea that we go through, or perhaps better stated, allow our minds to periodically return to this state of the Tabula Rasa as we inch along the Path. And, by so doing new levels of thinking can be formed that are then integrated and woven into those that are firmly rooted. And, each of these periods when there is a pause, opening and influx of new information brings us to greater awareness of the process of mind, inspiration and creating something new from their union. This is the same principle used in composition of the rhythms used within an inspiring piece of music. And, it is for this reason that music in the form of a chant, drumming or metronomic invocation is used in ritual. This state is also what produces other artistic modes of self-expression. As I sat listening to the music weaving its labyrinthian story, this is what spoke to me and flowed out from my resonance with it into an affirmation that I set down on paper.


May I be as the

Tabula Rasa

That the hand

Of the Divine may

Write the words

Of wisdom

Compose the

Symphony of Life

And, paint the

New worlds

Of the future




For this month’s exercise I’d like you to take a journey into sound using the various forms of music. Pick a genre that you don’t normally listen to and sitting with full attention on how the music makes you feel, allow the sound to move through and around you. When you have finished listening, write down your impressions. Did it make you want to get up and start moving? Did it evoke specific images or emotions? Would you consider listening to this type of music again, now that you’ve had experience with it?


Repeat this exercise for several different types of music. Looking back reflectively on which you connected most deeply to. When you’ve done this for several sessions, try to tune into the sounds that surround you as you move through your day that you have not actively sought to listen to. These would be the sounds of whatever method of transportation you may take. Even if you walk to work or school, there is a rhythm and sound that will be made when foot strikes the pavement. Mentally make note of any that really rouse specific emotions in you. These might be excitement, surprise or annoyance. Spend some time comparing how, if at all the experiences differed from chosen listening to being caught up in a rhythm not of your own choice or design.


The more you become aware of the sounds that are continually creating energetic flow and affect, the more adept you will become at selective hearing and intentional response.


Next Month:  We’ll take a look at The Sounds of Ritual

Wicca 101

October, 2010

Grounding and Centering

Grounding and Centering is a very basic concept, that isn’t just a Wiccan thing. It’s something you can find outside of witchcraft, and well established and and widley practiced…..they just might not call it the same thing.

Grounding and Centering in something practiced in Yoga, to help align your Chakras. It’s practiced in meditation, in the Catholic Church through saying “Hail Mary’s,” and so on and so forth.


There are many different ways to ground out your energy. Some people use a candle, others use breathing techniques. I use a beach.

Imagine standing on a sandy white beach, ankles in 3 or four inches of crystalline blue water. Close your eyes on the beach and feel the waves breaking gently against you. Imagine moving all the energy in your body down to your feet, and as the waves go out, they are taking it with them, even as the energy of the sun soaks into your body, replacing the old energy with clean, new energy.


Centering is basically finding the center of who you are. Some people refer to it as the quiet part of their mind, others use a Chakra as a representation, and I use a ball of light.

Stand or sit as you feel comfortable, close your eyes and start tuning out all the excess “Noise” (itches, sounds, etc) and take the energy in your body and focus it to the center of you, into a ball of light. Focus on that ball of light until you feel yourself start to balance out, and relax.

Grounding and Centering is a great way to take a few moments and rebalance you internally. Also, it’s something I strongy recommend prior to meditation (which it smoothly transitions into) or ritual/spellwork of any kind.

Hally’s Hints

September, 2010

Grounding Your Energy

When we consider that we are made up of predominantly water and energy it is no surprise how sensitive we really are; sensitive to our external forces whether it is planetary alignment, the moon stages or even projections from other people.

The amount of times we can go home from a party feeling drained and put it down to having a late night never considering we may have assisted someone unload onto us. The downside of this is that if we are unaware of this, we believe it is our own energy reflection and a whole internal process begins to deal with it. The thoughts that follow can be in line of “what’s wrong with me” or “why I am so emotional” all the while not recognising that we have kindly taken something home.

It is important to include grounding in your day to day life, particularly for those that work with energies. With this said, a good practice of grounding is recommended irrelevant because it will assist with decreasing stress from work, removing energies that may have been consumed through food or gained through touch.

Before I go into the basic fundamentals, one thing to understand is that energy is a beautiful and powerful thing. We each have the ability to use it to our advantage providing us with greater awareness, directed energy to assist with focusing and healing.

Like with many elemental attributes it is important to respect the boundaries including your own. I will never advise to use energy to harm another or for greater gain through injuring someone. When I speak of taking advantage it is in line with maximising the potential of your own skill to assist you in furthering your spiritual journey.

Using our attributes to manipulate another will only result in this coming back by three, if you are lucky, not to mention that chain reaction this can cause throughout the planes. Worst of all, this will take you to a dark place which can create a spiralling hole that you find yourself drawn to more and more. Then, eventually you find yourself consumed with nothing else and to get out of this is near impossible. Naturally something I advise to avoid at all costs particularly when we have everything we need within us to provide us with light, love and happiness. Sometimes the dark can seem very tempting, rest assured it is a farce and will cost more than you could ever imagine.

We often consider that easy is better because we tell ourselves it’s all too hard and so seek some form of reprieve. The funny thing about easy is that is a matter of perspective. We believe the unknown to be fearful and hard because we have no control over it, yet will look for an easy out when it does not provide anymore of a guarantee. Using your energy is along the same lines. Because it is part of who you are allow it to naturally guide you and assist you, which in turn will be very easy. When it is forced it will be hard and we tell ourselves that it can’t be done – simply it is a matter of working with the energy rather than against.

In terms of grounding daily there are multitudes of ways this can be done and it really comes down to your own personal practices.

  • Initially I would smudge myself and my home before I left for the day and when I came home.
  • Now I have a salt lamp burning in every room and cleanse my home regularly.
  • I also do the traditional Reiki grounding of placing the palm of the hands on the balls of the feet (same hand to same leg, never cross over) and allow the calm to fill me.
  • There is burning white sage regularly.
  • Also, eating grounding, rustic foods will also assist with grounding. Ensure it is cleansed from external energies and this can provide a harmonious way of grounding.

When you ground yourself consider the senses that you have and use this as a basis for grounding:

  • Taste – eat grounding food.
  • Smell – smudging, burning incense or essential oil.
  • Feel – smudging, holding the salt lamp and taking a breath in, hugging a tree, sitting on the earth (or embracing plants in your home or garden).
  • Hear – lie on your couch, bed or somewhere comfortable and listen to the universe; the birds, the wind, the rain.
  • See – Look beyond the material world; see animals, the universe live and breathe by sitting in a garden or looking out of your window.

As energetic beings we are very powerful and very blessed to experience life in such a myriad of ways where each day provides something fresh for our senses.

The more our awareness grows the more we are able to connect to our ethereal selves and the universe in its true and natural state. It is this power that is so beautiful and in this, we want nothing other than to be.

New to the Craft

March, 2010

Grounding and Centering: A Basic and Essential Concept

I bid welcome to all of you who have returned (or are just finding me) to read my second column posting on the topic of “Grounding and Centering.”  It is a gift to have the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and even a greater pleasure to have made the acquaintance of those who have sent me e-mails.  In this posting we are going to discuss a topic that I view as essential to spiritual development whether within the guise of the craft or not.  The practice of grounding and centering is employed by not only those of us who consider ourselves Pagans by origin, but by those who practice the ancient arts of Shamanism, Reiki, and many other Eastern religions.  In order to best address this topic we are going to first start out with the concept of centering and follow that with grounding.

The process of centering is actually quite simple and is a key component (in my opinion) of the grounding process; something that is necessary before any magickal workings or rituals.  Most people generally center themselves by visualizing a large light coming from within and seeing this light surround themselves.  Often, many people think of a “Happy” thought such as family, friends, or even an event in their lives that was important.  This will lead to a harmony with spirit, which exists within you.  The Chakras are also an additional component of this process and we will be discussing them in greater detail in the next month of this column as that in itself is a lengthy discussion!  However, I would recommend doing some research on the Chakras and their colors to help out with their locations in the visualization process.  If you do have questions on this and don’t wish to wait till I cover this in greater detail next month, please e-mail me ([email protected]) and I will be happy to explain this in greater detail prior to the column posting.  With no further adieu we shall move onto the concept of grounding and a simple exercise to make it all come together.

Within the scope of the Craft, grounding is considered an exercise that helps to firmly plant a witch into a more relaxed state of mind.  In going above and beyond this simple statement, the concept of grounding will also help in regaining energies, letting go of the fears and anxieties of the day, boosting confidence in oneself, and establishing a more balanced approach to ritual and meditation.  This is achieved by being completely aware of your body as well as being present in the moment both mentally and physically.  In general, the best way I can describe being aware of your body comes when the relaxation starts to hit you mentally.  For example, let’s say that you are sitting in your chair and breathing in and out, in and out.  If you take a moment, you will notice how you body sits in the chair and most importantly where your weight is being transferred to.  This begins the process of grounding; the process where you become aware of your body and begin to transfer your weight to the object that your weight is being placed upon.  Soon you will begin to relax and forget about sitting in the chair, moving into your own mind and deeply relaxing.  A feeling of peace will come over you and all the tensions of the day will begin to float away, like water into a stream.  It is at this moment that you will begin to feel much lighter and in complete control of your environment and what is going on.  Once this stage is reached, many of us lil’ witches like to visualize a bit and imagine things (negativity, thoughts, emotions, etc…) leaving our body, mind, and spirit.  Since this is the case and we are all here to learn, I have selected an exercise that is brief and simple to help with grounding.

It is most logical to assume that many people know this or perhaps do this particular exercise as it was taught to me many moons ago.  Please remember that this is not the “end all be all” of exercises as there are so many ways to accomplish the task of grounding!  Anyhow, to begin the process of grounding, find a comfortable position and start to relax through breathing.  I prefer to breathe in deeply for a few breaths, and follow that by holding to the count of three and releasing on the count of three.  The wondrous thing about this is that soon your mind will take over and you will not have to worry about it!   Once you begin to feel relaxed and at ease, imagine a white light above your head that begins to flow down into you.  Feel the tensions, anxieties, stresses, and negativity of the day begin to be collected by the white light and think about it flowing out of you.  As it flows from your body (generally your feet) imagine particles of black (negativity and the aforementioned) leaving your body and flowing back to mother earth.  Upon completion of this process be sure to stop the flow of white light into your body as this could lead to excessive energy buildup.  For a more advanced approach to this, consider a root coming from your base chakra and going into the earth, transferring energies as it goes through the layers or even imagine yourself sinking down through the layers of the earth.  This works quite well and when completed, please be sure to release any energies you may have retained.

There are many signs and symptoms of energy retention, so please be sure to drain all energies when completed so you don’t experience any of the following:

  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Feeling of being off balance
  • Disorientation
  • Feeling of hyperactivity (can manifest as restlessness, mind going crazy, and inability to stay still)

It is important to realize that even if these symptoms are not present, always be sure to ground regardless and release all energies until you are sure they are gone.

I realize that this is an entry level description of this process but going into great detail would take pages upon pages which I am sure you do not want to read!  This is not to say that I am lazy, but I do believe that a person should always seek answers on their own as well.  As mentioned above, if you do have questions about this or would like to seek friendship I am always open to such things.  I choose to utilize my Myspace for this purpose as it also allows those of you reading to see who I am.  I can be reached there at:

I look forward to any questions, messages, or friend requests that you may have!  Until next month where we will delve into the Chakras, Brightest Blessings to you all and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to write as well as continue my own education.


January, 2010

Grounding into the Elements

The holidays can be a hectic and trying time.  There is always someplace to go or something that needs to be done.  So, as the new year comes and things start to settle down we often start to feel melancholy because we deal with the loss of friends and family as we gravitate back to our own lives.

It can be difficult to readjust and find the balance.  When that happens it’s often good to get back to basics.  I can’t think of anything more fundamental and more basic to most pagans than the elements.  In almost every path they are honored. So, in that respect we will be grounding into the elements and reconnecting with the earth to bring balance back into our lives.

This meditation and grounding is written to be done indoors, but is easily adapted to outdoor and group use.  You’ll want to gather items that represent each element.  Some suggestions are: Earth – Use a rock, a crystal or a dish of salt.  Air – You can use a feather, burning incense, or a fan turned on low.  Fire – Place a lit candle, a statue of a dragon, or a red flower on your altar. Water – Use a container filled with water, a shell, or a picture of mermaid or water deity.  Remember these are just suggestions; use the items with which you have a connection.

Arrange the items you’ve chosen on your altar or in front of you where you can see them.  Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Repeat this several times feeling more at peace and centered with each exhalation.  Allow the day to melt away from you as you focus on balance and tuning yourself to the elements.

We’ll start with the element of earth to provide us a good foundation.  Touch the item you have that represents earth.  Feel the weight of it and the texture.  What does this item represent and mean to you?  Contemplate the subtle strength and stability of earth and what it brings into your life.

Place your hands on or through (incense) item that represents air.  Though this element is not always tangible it is always present down to our very breath.  What does the item you’ve chosen represent and mean to you?  Consider the creativity and inspirational nature of this element.

How is the element of fire represented on your altar?  Take the item and observe it, if it’s a flame, or consider what other way you may have chosen to recognize fire.  What does the item you’ve chosen represent and mean to you?  Fire can both destroy and provide rebirth.  Ponder what the element of fire and the passion and rebirth it can bring into your life.

Finally, take the item that represents water from your altar.  What does this item represent to you? The element of water is often representative of emotions and intuition.  Reflect on how water manifests in your life and the tranquility you seek.

You have taken each element in turn.  You’ve contemplate what each item means to you.  Now, considered what you want to bring into your life from each that would bring you personal balance.

Finish your grounding by reciting the following:

    Through the elements I find strength, inspiration, passion, and peace.
    Each has its place and through them I find my balance and poise.
    The strength of the standing stones sustains me.
    The inspiration of the breeze carries me.
    The passion of the flame lights my path.
    The tranquil waters bring me comfort and peace.
    These are the aspects of the elements that I draw to me.

As I will it so shall it be!