It’s been an intense time for me and probably for many of you as well. With so many planets in retrograde, I’ve been feeling quite a bit of emotional havoc. I’m glad that beginning with the new moon in Virgo, all planets revert to direct motion and hopefully, the confusion will end. The moment when the moon enters Virgo seems a fitting time for things to calm down, since Virgo is an Earth sign associated with steadiness and practicality. As a result, I think it’s a time for a ritual in which I ground and center again, to get in touch with my body as a part of Mother Earth, as well as connecting with my spiritual core. Perhaps you’d like to do the same.
So what is grounding and centering? Usually people talk about them as one and the same. But I believe that they are two separate aspects of any meditative practice.
Grounding allows you to feel rooted in your body with your feet planted on terra firma. It involves being physically present and connected with the Earth. The easiest way to ground is to lie on the Earth and feel Her solid, supportive essence beneath you. You can experience your oneness with Mother Earth by envisioning yourself as embraced by Her essence, or as an integral part of Her. Another way to create this state is by imagining roots growing out of your feet (if you’re standing) or from the base of your spine (if you’re sitting). You can create a link with the Earth by visualizing your roots as they descend into the center of the planet and then envisioning the Earth’s energy rising into your body. If you perform one of these exercises, you will feel your presence in the here and now on planet Earth.
While establishing your link to the Earth, you can simultaneously connect with your spiritual core by centering. Being centered involves feeling energetically balanced and tapped into your spiritual essence. Finding your physical center of gravity is a good place to start with this practice. And so is smiling. Both of these activities tend to create a relaxed mindset. Sitting with a gently erect posture helps you experience the resonant vitality at your core. My favorite way of centering is to breathe in and out as I picture energy flowing within my vertebrae from the base of the spine to the crown of my head, through the chakras located there. Grounding establishes your presence in the here and now, while centering opens you to the sacred potential of this time and place. Grounding says, “I am here and now,” while centering adds, “This moment is sacred.”
So this week I’m going to perform a ritual that begins with grounding and centering. Actually every divination needs to begin with grounding and centering. As I wrote in The World is Your Oracle, grounding and centering “will gently nudge you into the present moment, and it’ll also take the edge off any tension, like anxiety, excitement, or the strain that come from trying too hard. All of these things have a tendency to block oracular counsel.”
So I’m going to use a simple breathing meditation to ground and center. And then I will use a “Mudras” meditation as my divination. A mudra is a special hand position employed in Hinduism or Buddhism to invoke one of a variety of energies and qualities. These symbolic poses resemble asanas, the postures used in yoga. But they only involve the hands, so you might call them “finger yoga.” As far as I know, traditional Hindus and Buddhists don’t use mudras for oracular purposes. But I’ve found that undertaking a breathing meditation while holding a mudra can answer a divinatory question.
Since this new moon is in Virgo, I will be concentrating my divination on fixing what hasn’t been working for me. Virgo is a great problem-solver, who also focuses on well-being. This sign is resourceful and organized. So when the moon enters this sign, our emotional life should calm down (NO MORE RETROGRADES!), and we can once again focus on self-care.
Since Virgo is an Earth sign, the mudra I will be using is Prithivi, a a finger asana that represents the Earth in the Hindu pantheon. But you can also use the chin mudra, the stereotypical finger posture associated by North Americans with Hinduism (see related image). Since the thumb symbolizes cosmic wisdom while the index finger designates the individual or human spirit, this all-purpose hand gesture represents unifying human and cosmic consciousness, a good way to attain your deepest knowing.