Greetings, witches and friends! I bet you can’t believe it’s already Witchcraft Wednesday again. Neither can I. You lot are INSATIABLE, I tell you.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about grounding lately. That yearning that we witchy folk get when it’s just been way too long since our feet touched the dirt or the sand or flowing water that wasn’t coming out of the taps in our own house. As you are well aware because I won’t stop bitching about it, we are in a (lovely) apartment with no garden. In the UK, we are allowed to go out for one walk per day, and that walk has to be essentially from and back to our own houses. So we’re not allowed to drive anywhere to then do the walking.
In normal pre-Covid times (2019 P.C.?) Jessie and I would go a few times a week to the nature reserve in the next town, or sort of between our town and the next. It’s about a five minute drive, and it brings us to this beautiful place that is flanked by the canal on one side, the river on the other, and an assortment of woods, fields and paths in between. I’m getting teary just thinking about it. Loads of people walk their dogs there, so you always see happy puppers, sometimes ones who have just had an accidentally on purpose swim in the river, and they are endlessly joyful to behold.
BUT in these, the times of Covid-19, we have but one walk option left to us that presents any kind of nature, and that is the beginning of the canal walk in our town. Now, don’t get me wrong – this place is beautiful. There are ducks and swans and geese and sometimes even a squirrel. But no longer can we greet joyfully the pups belonging to other people. And the council hasn’t got enough staff to collect the rubbish in the parks and along the canal so… basically, it’s trashed.
I talked about this last week on the podcast with Louisa Moon. Sometimes you find yourself looking at the space and seeing the trash – and then, if you re-adjust your lens, you see the ducks, and the fishies springing back to life, and the little smiles on a couple of people’s faces because they’re out of the f*cking house.
But – when we reached the end of our last walk, Jessie asked me, “Do you want to take your shoes off and ground?” which was very, very sweet and made my heart beat a little harder. However, I looked at the ground, and it was … filthy. Like, really filthy. Empty bottles and wrappers and dog sh*t bags and all sorts. And I couldn’t look past it.
So the question of the day is:
How can I ground myself with no access to the actual ground?
Philosophical, right? Existential? Feeling confused?
Yep, I’m telling you to meditate again.
I know, you must be so bored of me telling you this. Tough sh*t, meditation is the best. So for this, we’re going to do the old root chakra connection to the Earth thing.
For this one, I do want you to sit on the ground, if that option is comfortable and available to you. Otherwise, sit in a chair and try to place your feet or legs or hands on the floor. The idea is simply to have your body connected with the Earth in as close a sense as possible. If you can find a space where the sunlight will hit you, all the better.
Once you are comfortable, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Try to still your body and your mind. Deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Try to hold those breaths for even beats. So, in for four, hold for four and exhale for eight is a favourite of mine. As you exhale, imagine those spiritual roots of yours beginning to sprout from your skin and finding their way to the Earth. Each breath brings you further into yourself, and each exhalation takes those roots further and further into the ground, towards the Earth’s core. Imagine them spreading into a solar system, connecting you to Mother Nature, to the rock and the dirt and the lava far below. Feel them flicker and move as you connect more deeply with the ground.
I like to stay here for a good ten or so minutes if I have the luxury of time, but there is no need, really, to time it. Just stay until you feel that connection growing again. When you are ready to come back into your body, reverse the process, and with each in-breath, draw those sparkly roots back towards your body, until all of that power of the Earth is fizzing through you.
Now is a great time to do some spell-work, as well – you’ve got all of that energy coursing through your veins.
Go on a treasure hunt
This is for those of us who can go for a walk but not to anywhere particularly natural. The concrete jungle-dwellers.
We are going to find some nature. Before you leave the apartment, focus on what you are trying to achieve. Open yourself to Mother Earth – you’ll see her if you’re looking, no matter where you are.
As you take your first steps out, feel your feet on the road or pavement. Pause to think about the earth that lays beneath it; the rocks, the crystals, the underground networks of water and lava. You are only a block of cement away from it all.
As you wander, just look around – a tiny plant springing out between pavers, or a pigeon cooing, or an earth worm nestling into the mud. All of these things are nature – even the pigeons, who are probably the rats of the skies. They may be terrifying, but they are still creatures of the Goddess, okay?
Just engage with the nature you do find (although I do not recommend trying to engage with city pigeons). Touch the leaves or flowers, feel their energies. Feel the sun on your face, or the wind blowing against your cheeks. Look up at the sky – notice the colour and whether there are clouds in it. If it’s raining, close your eyes and feel that rain on your skin a la Natasha Bedingfield. All of this is nature – you can find it anywhere.
If you really can’t, or if you’re not able to leave your home space because of shielding or illness, never fear. I recommend finding some beautiful pictures of natural spaces or things – flowers, bunnies, fish, whales, whatever makes you feel connected to the natural world – and put them up. Cut them out of magazines or print them out, and put them where you can see them. Look at them, think about them, imagine how they smell and feel. You can engage by using only your mind.
Adopt an un-killable house plant
This is for me, okay? I have a bad track record with house plants, mostly because we’re on the ground floor and there isn’t enough sunlight to keep them thriving. Except this one cactus. I’m pretty sure it came from IKEA about four years ago, and it’s still alive. It’s kind of outgrowing its pot, though, so I’m going to have to deal with that, but it’s faring much better than the parade of coriander/cilantro plants which have been brought home only to be thrown away when I’m not looking because Jessie knows I don’t have the heart to condemn even a very-dead plant.
So find ye a houseplant that cannot be killed. This is going to be your connection to nature. Nurture it, talk to it, whisper sweet nothings and, for the love of the Goddess, water it but only as much as it needs, okay? Whichever kind of plant you get, make sure it’s hardy and that you google the instructions to keep it alive.
Having just one living houseplant will cheer you up, I promise. Here is a list of house plants that are hard to kill:
- Sansaviera / Snake plants: succulents who can adapt to just about any living condition and light availability.
- Aloe Vera: these babies do best in bright sunlight and basically go to sleep when it’s not sunny enough.
- Ponytail Palm: super adorable, although they do best in bright light, so this is a good one if you have a lot of natural sun in your space.
- Ferns: if you want to sparkle up your bathroom, a lot of ferns will tolerate low light and high humidity, making them ideal companions for your bubble baths.
- Cacti: these are my favourites because they are very forgiving. You basically give them a drenching every couple of weeks when their soil is dry, then leave them in a sunny spot. Just remember to use gloves if they are spiky.
Thus we complete this Witchcraft Wednesday. I know it’s not a spell, but it’s important, anyway.