Sunday, 20 March 2011
Finding Balance in a Time of Chaos
Today is the Spring Equinox, one of only two days in the year that day and night are of equal length. From today, days will be longer than nights, daily increasing their dominance until the Summer Solstice in June.
Today is a day to pause and consider balance and equipoise. Yet at the same time, even more extreme events than usual are occurring around the world. Revolution and disorder in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and many other countries. Devastating earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, leading (in Japan's case) to further chaos from first the tsunami and then the terrifying prospect of nuclear disaster. Financial crisis in country after country and the resulting job losses, inflation and devastating cuts in welfare for the most needy in our societies. All played out against a backdrop of unusual weather patterns and uncertainty.
Unsurprisingly, people are wondering what on earth is going on. Literally. The pragmatic blame the politicians, the bankers. Those of a more esoteric bent blame Uranus moving into Aries, or invoke 2012 prophecies to claim the end of the world is nigh. Conspiracy theorists mutter darkly about The New World Order and HAARP. The wackier end of the Christian spectrum claim in cruel self-righteousness that their vengeful God is smiting non-Christians. And just last night, many of us were holding our breath in wonder at a Full Moon closer to the Earth than she has been in 18 years and wondering, could that have anything to do with anything?
But who knows? None of us really. My own theories combine the pragmatic approach mentioned above, with a sprinkling of the esoteric - fused with the certainty that sometimes, shit just happens.
But when shit does happen, how do we cope? How do we find balance in a time of chaos and upheaval?
Ground. Take a deep breath and ground.
Grounding is a fundamental skill, one that we witches and Pagans talk about a lot. But quite frankly, we don't always walk our talk, or give grounding the attention and respect it deserves. After all, grounding - how dull is that, when you could be 'up there', bouncing off the stratosphere?
Well for one thing, bouncing off the stratosphere (or wherever you happen to be, astrally) turns out to be no fun whatsoever when you can't get back afterwards. Imagine a prolonged roller coaster ride. However much you love roller coasters, at some point you just want to feel your feet on the ground. Grounding properly first, before you enter a trance or attempt astral travel is essential.
However, grounding is also a useful skill for anyone to have in their tool kit. How often in times of crisis have you made rushed, foolish decisions because your head has been in such a whirl? How would you like to feel calm and steady instead of stressed out by the day's events? How good would it be to feel that you are approaching problems and times of difficulty from a stable place?
There are many ways of grounding, but one basic way that you can practice virtually anywhere is this. Take a deep breath in and out. Take a moment to really concentrate on sensing your body and its edges. It may help to run your hands briskly over your body - arms, shoulders, head, torso, legs - to really feel those edges and remind yourself that this is you, this is where you are right now. Breathe deeply in and out, and feel your feet firmly planted on the earth, feel that connection. Know that you are a part of the earth. Imagine roots growing from the soles of your feet into the earth, keeping you grounded, stable, connected. Breathe deeply in and out. Remember that connection. Then bring the roots back into your feet, knowing all the while you are connected to and supported by the earth.
Some people absorb energy from the earth in this way. If at any time you feel you have a surfeit of energy and feel too 'buzzy' you can return any excess by putting your hands on the earth and sending it back. If this is not feasible (because you're in the supermarket check out queue for example!), try consciously exhaling the excess on a slow, gentle outbreath.
Practice grounding. Don't beat yourself up if it's difficult to start with. We all have different skills and strengths, and grounding, like any skill gets easier with practice. You will also be able to do it more quickly. The true skill is to be able to ground quickly, even in the midst of chaos, panic or emotional distress. If you practice grounding regularly when you don't need it, you will be able to ground easily when you most need it.
It may help to take time to notice how you feel when you are grounded and relate this to a word, a musical note, a colour or a scent (or you could combine these by visualising the word written in your grounded colour. Or sung to your grounded musical note. Or visualise your grounded colour whilst calling up a sense memory of your grounded scent). With practice your word/note/colour/scent can become a shortcut to the feeling of 'grounded', and that can help get you there almost on autopilot.
I wish you a balanced and harmonious Equinox. As the year tips toward summer, may we find our feet firmly planted on the ground, even if our heads are in the stars.