4 Techniques for Grounding: Conclusion

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Looking back on this series, three ideas stand out. First, there is no simple magick. Second, writing helps me learn magick. And third, developing techniques is the main way to test models.

There is No Simple Magick

I thought grounding was simple. It’s one of the first things we teach beginners, and we explain it simply: You just built energy, excess energy gives you a headache,  so release it into the ground.

Now I’m realizing, no magick is simple when you get into how it really works. Grounding is less complex than energy healing, or manifesting, or shielding, or most of the other things we do with magick. But understanding grounding still requires understanding energy signatures, how they mix, how to subtract one signature from another, and how to build energy that, when added to other energy, produces your normal energy signature.

None of that is simple, because at its heart, magick is complex. That’s the price we pay for accuracy.

Writing Helps Me Learn Magick

I developed two techniques in the course of writing this series.

Technique #4 (grounding by building more energy) came to me on the train. It was the morning after seeing my friend use technique #3 (grounding via ethereal software), and the only reason I was thinking deeply about grounding was to prepare for this series. If it weren’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have thought hard enough to see the technique.

And the good version of technique #1, energy flushing? I thought of it as I wrote that post. I was testing the basic, release-your-energy version of grounding, and realized that building energy as I released it would probably flush the unhealthy signature out. That technique, which is now my preferred grounding method for beginners, came from writing that post.

To anyone considering starting a blog: Writing forces you to revisit old problems, and re-solve them with the tools and skills you have today. It helps me learn magick, and it will probably help yours, too.

Test Models by Developing Techniques

The testing in this series is how I generally test new models of magick: I find a technique that the new model says should work, and the old model says should fail, (like building more energy to ground), and I try it. When it works, I figure the new model is on to something, and I start using it.

I also look for techniques the new model says should work particularly well, that the old model wouldn’t single out as anything special, like building more energy as you ground. The standard model doesn’t necessarily suggest it would fail, but it definitely doesn’t predict the technique will work better than just releasing your energy. And when the new model is right again, I become more confident in it.

I build confidence in the new model by using it, by seeing it accurately predict more non-obvious techniques. (“Non-obvious” meaning that the old model either said it would fail, or didn’t consider it particularly special.) There’s never one single test that makes me say the new model is correct, but the more I use it, and the more it’s right, the more confident I become. Until eventually, it’s just easier to speak as though the new model is correct, at least, until a better model comes along.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Advanced Grounding (Technique #4)

Friday, May 10th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This series started back in January, and this technique builds on concepts in the first post. You might want to review it now.

The standard (incorrect) model of grounding I grew up with says that the headache that sometimes comes after energy work is caused by too much energy, and that grounding is about releasing the excess energy. My model of grounding — the one I’ve developed as an adult — says the headache comes from getting your energy in the wrong signature, and that grounding is about returning your signature to normal, and has little to do with the quantity of energy.

When I started this series, I hadn’t thought seriously about grounding in years. It was a solved problem, so why bother? But, returning to grounding after doing lots of direct energy healing work, it was immediately obvious that my grounding model made an unexpected prediction: You should be able to return your energy to its normal signature — that is, you ought to be able to ground — by adding more energy, rather than releasing the energy.

The traditional model, of course, would predict that adding more energy would make matters worse, no matter its signature. And whenever two models predict opposite results, there’s only one thing to do: Test it.

I admit, I was a bit nervous. Clear-cut tests — places where you can be wrong, and know you’re wrong — do that to a person. It’s only natural, and I say this in the hopes that you will accept your own nervousness and do the test anyway.

But I tried it, on the subway ride home from seeing the ethereal software-based grounding for the first time. Then I tried it again, with different types of energy, and a few more times. And each time, adding more energy (in the right signature) grounds extremely well.

Here’s the technique. It’s designed for me, using all the building blocks and techniques I know. It’s useful because it doesn’t open your shields or release energy into the area around you, which can attract unwanted attention from spirits and other mages. But just a heads up, it’s not novice-friendly. (If you’re looking for a good beginner technique, use energy flushing.)

The Technique

Simply build the right signature of energy in your body. That’s all. The key, of course, is figuring out the right signature.

To do that, I need to introduce a concept from math and physics, delta. It just means difference, or change. If you have a glass of water at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and you heat it to 45 degrees, the delta is 5 degrees.

Here, we’re interrested in the difference between your normal signature and the weird signature in your body that’s making you need to ground. We’ll call the difference between those two signatures the “delta signature.” If you imagine your normal signature as green, and your current signature as yellow, then the delta signature is blue, because yellow + blue = green — that is, (current signature + delta signature) = target signature — and here, the target signature is our normal, grounded signature.

Of course, imagining green and yellow and blue won’t get you anywhere. Signatures aren’t colors, finding the delta signature is a bit tricky, and you need to guide your mental muscles through the process. That’s why this is an advanced technique. It’s something I learned for energy healing, and we’ll cover it in Book 3, but for now, I just want you to get the concept.

But back to grounding: You build energy in the delta signature, mix it with your current signature, and they add up to your normal, grounded signature. When I do this, returning to my normal signature gets rid of my headache and weird feelings immediately. (Though if you waited a while to ground, maybe 30 minutes or more, the weird signature would already have seeped into your cells, and it’ll take a few minutes before they fully return to normal.)

There was an interesting side effect, too: Adding all this energy to my body, while remaining in my normal signature, made me feel slightly more alert. Not as alert as the technique designed to increase alertness, but enough to be noticeable, and to show me that alertness is the actual result of having extra energy in your body’s normal signature, not a headache or any other problem as predicted by the standard model of grounding.

Two notes:

  • The delta signature will be different depending on the signature you’re in at the moment. It’s not a single universal signature; it’s something you calculate each time you ground.
  • If you build too much energy in the delta signature, you’ll push yourself past your normal signature, and into another weird signature that causes headaches and other problems. If this happens, calculate a new delta signature based on your body’s current energy signature, build some of that new delta signature, and go more slowly, so you can stop once you return your energy to normal. (Or use the energy flushing technique, then try this advanced grounding again later.) (Note: This didn’t happen to me, but it’s clearly predicted by the model, so figured I’d mention it.)
If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Grounding Method #3: Ethereal Software

Friday, April 12th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I’m resuming the series on grounding. If you don’t remember the other three posts in the series, you might want to re-read them now.

I love when magick surprises me, because I almost always learn something.

A month or two ago, I set up shielding for a friend, who we’ll call E. We were experimenting with erotic energy, and wanted to leave some connections open overnight. I set up the shielding so I’d feel safe, using a technique I’ve done before to shield Lisa.

(The technique is to make a connection into the person you’re shielding, find all their open connections, and close them. (Anything they use, you would filter rather than close, but most open connections are just hanging open, unused.) It’s similar to this technique, just done on another person.)

E settled into bed, then complained that she couldn’t ground anymore. Specifically, she couldn’t feel the ground through her energy. She was surprised — I hadn’t expected this to happen, so I hadn’t talked about grounding. I don’t recall how surprised I was, but my first guess turned out to be right: Her grounding was based on ethereal software.

Here’s how I think it works: Grounding is really about resetting your energy to its normal signature. And, just like some ethereal software can provide energy for healing, this ethereal software would drain away unwanted energy and provide energy in a healthy signature for the person. Or something like that. The point is, any of the techniques in this series could be implemented in ethereal software, rather than done directly by the mage. You’d then ask the software to ground you.

But, back to debugging E’s grounding, and how I know it’s based on ethereal software. I made a guess: The problem is I blocked her connection to her ethereal software. So I asked her to try and ground, which engaged that connection. Then I traced the connection, found some non-threatening ethereal software. Then I opened the connection. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. When I asked E to ground, she had just grounded her chest — her heart chakra, if you like those terms. She didn’t think it would matter, since to her mind, grounding is grounding. I thought she’d engaged all her grounding connections — I didn’t realize it was just her chest, and I never checked what part of her body the connections went to. The result was, only the connection from her chest was active, and she could only ground there, not anywhere else in her body.

Attempt number two: I connected to her chest again, and followed her connections to the ethereal software. Then I turned around, and followed the software’s connections back to her, and un-blocked all those connections.

This one worked. E was able to ground again.

For me, there are three salient ideas here:

  • This sequence of events only makes sense if E was using ethereal software (or some other external, always-connected force) to handle her grounding. If she was grounding by opening her shielding, I wouldn’t have been able to find connections from her chest to the ethereal software, and I wouldn’t have been able to find connections from the software back to every point in her body for attempt number two.
  • Ethereal software can do grounding. It seems obvious now, but I’d never thought of that. I always assumed grounding was about the mage releasing the energy, not about the mage getting help to reset their energy signature.
  • We were surprised when her grounding turned off, and even more surprised when her grounding only turned back on in her chest. Being surprised by magick is fun. First, I usually learn something new (like I did here), and second, it’s always nice to have another reminder that the part of magick I’m working with is real and external, and not just me projecting my expectations. (Seeing what you expect rarely surprises you, after all.)
If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Grounding #2, and Why I Don’t Trust Visualizations

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This post is about changing the way I ground: Going from a visualization to a conscious technique, and why that’s worth doing.

I started working with energy in 1991. Back then, I did magick via visualization. My grounding visualization was something standard, like energy out my feet. I don’t remember the details, but they’re not important.

Some time in the early 2000s, that basic technique stopped working. I mean, it worked OK, but it wasn’t sufficient. I can’t recall exactly why, but it was around the time I started awakening more mental muscles, working with more energy in a broader range of signatures, and generally shifting from playing around with ethereal software to really doing magick. I needed something better to clean up afterward, and particularly to clean up after being drained by the more-skillful spirits that were starting to take notice of me.

Last post, we fixed that problem by building energy as you ground. If someone had handed me that post in the early 2000s, I would have used that technique. It’s simpler and easier than the one I came up with. But at the time, I didn’t fully realize that grounding is about signature, not quantity of energy. And, lacking that understanding, I couldn’t see the better technique. My model just wasn’t good enough.

That’s one reason I’m sharing this technique: It’s a concrete example of how a weaker model results in worse techniques.

Here’s the technique:

  • Establish a connection through the room you’re in, through the wall, and into the area outside your house. (You could also establish a connection into the earth, if you prefer.)
  • Maintain that connection, and connect the other side to the energy layer of your body.
  • Energy flows from high pressure to low pressure, so you’ll expel the energy. And because you’re sending the energy far away, you can expel a lot more of it than you can by just releasing the energy into the area around you. (Or at least, I can.)

Hold on, didn’t I just describe a standard grounding visualization? “Imagine a pipe, going from your chakras to deep inside the earth, draining away the bad energy.”

This is the hardest part of writing about conscious magick: Indeed, that is the standard visualization. But what you visualize and what your mental muscles actually do are two different things. Of course, I wasn’t able to spot that until after I switched from visualization to conscious magick.

For me, the standard visualization just releases energy into the area immediately around me. (That was last post.) But consciously engaging my mental muscles (the ones that handle connections), then consciously connecting out (not to the area immediately around me, but into the air outside my house), then using that connection to ground — consciously doing all that results in entirely different, more effective magick.

Yes, that more effective magick happens to match the standard visualization. And maybe someone more experienced with energy (and visualizations in general) would have gotten their mental muscles to do this full technique with just the standard visualization. But the question is: How would you know? If you aren’t directing your mental muscles consciously, how would you know if you’re getting the full technique or a simpler, less useful one? And if all you have are visualizations, and your best visualization isn’t working — where do you go from there?

That’s why I focus so much on consciously directing my mental muscles, and why I generally find that intent and visualizations are not enough.

Even today, even though my mental muscles know how to do the full, more effective technique, the standard visualization still just dumps the energy into the area around me. To get the proper technique, I still have to consciously step through each step. That’s part of why I don’t trust visualizations.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Grounding Method 1: Expel the Energy

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I first learned grounding the way most people do: By visualizing energy flowing out my feet and into the earth. At the time, I didn’t know how to watch my mental muscles work, so I assumed the visualization was literal, and that the energy actually was flowing out my feet and into the earth.

To write this series, I went back to that technique to see what my mental muscles really do. I built energy in my body, then visualized it flowing into the earth, watching everything with sensory connections. Rather than flowing into the earth, my mental muscles released the energy into the area around me — some out my feet, some into the chair I’m sitting on, some air in front of me. It just released the energy.

But that’s how my mental muscles turn that visualization into change in the world. One of the challenges of writing about magick is that I don’t know how your mental muscles will respond to a visualization. One of my friends uses a similar visualization, but her mental muscles use ethereal software to drain her excess energy — that’s method 2 in this series. And I could imagine a person who spends more time moving energy through their body using this visualization and sending the energy out only their feet, instead of into the area around them. That’s why I rarely talk about visualizations — it’s hard to know what actual magick is created by the visualization.

My advice to you: Read all the posts in this series, see which resonates with your experience. Try some of the tips, see what works. That should give you some idea of how your mental muscles implement the visualization to ground.

(Note: This grounding method is particularly simple, so I expect it’s a common way for mental muscles to implement the intent. That’s why it’s method #1 in this series. And minor refinements, like sending the energy out only your feet, probably won’t affect the overall results.)

But back to this method: I tested it several times, with varying quantities of energy, and with various signatures, some pleasant, some less so. The grounding method isn’t terribly effective: Each time, the excess energy left my body, but the energy that remained in my body was still in an altered signature.

Remember last post, where we discussed how the real point isn’t to eliminate excess energy, but rather to return your energy signature to normal? Well, this technique fails at that goal.

The technique isn’t entirely ineffective: It does reduce your overall energy level, which lets your body start returning to a normal signature. But that takes a while. Half an hour, maybe? Hard to say how long, and probably varies from person to person, but if you often feel a bit of a buzz even after grounding, this is probably what’s going on.

Let’s return to the model of grounding I described last post, and see if we can debug this technique. Remember how I talked about your energy being blue, then you absorb yellow energy and wind up with green? And how, if you just add more blue energy, it takes a long time to dilute the green and return to normal? Well, what if we add more blue (normal) energy while we ground, flushing out the pool of green energy in the body?

I tested it several times, with several different energies, just like before. Each time, I built energy in my normal signature while grounding, and each time, I felt almost entirely back to normal afterward. Much more effective than simply releasing my energy. I’ll call this technique “energy flushing,” and it would become my standard grounding technique if I didn’t already have methods 3 and 4 in my tool box. (Coming up later in this series.)

Related Thoughts and Tips

  • If you think of grounding as getting rid of excess energy, it seems dumb to build energy while you ground. At best, it’s useless, and at worst, it’s counter-productive. That’s one of the reasons I’m confident in this model of grounding based on signature, rather than quantity: That model suggests a technique I’d never think of with a quantity-based model, and the technique is quite effective. To put it another way, the model makes a prediction — which the other main model disagrees with — and the prediction turns out to be correct. That’s how I test my models.
  • As a debugging note, if you’ve been in an unusual signature for a long time — several hours, say — it will take your body a few minutes to return to normal, even after you return your energy to normal. I don’t have a technique to fix that — the solution is to not stay in an unusual signature for extended periods. But just a heads up on a somewhat-common complication.
  • Not sure how to find your normal energy signature? Get yourself to a normal, peaceful, calm mental state, then note the signature of energy in your body. Engage the mental muscles that work with energy, and think (or say), “When I ask for energy in my normal signature, this is what I mean.” Maybe phrase it in a way that feels more natural to you — the point is, get into a normal state, then name that state for your mental muscles.
  • Before grounding, it’s a good idea to remove any connections you might have open to other people, places or spirits. See this series for details.
If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

4 Methods of Grounding — Intro

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Until recently, I thought of grounding as simple: You release your energy into the ground. A does-what-it-sounds-like sort of technique.

It turns out, there are at least four effective ways to ground: Release your energy into the area around you; Release it into a more distant location; Use ethereal software; Or rebalance your energy without releasing it. If you’re grounding yourself, it pays to pick the right technique for the right situation. And if you’re working with someone else, it pays to be aware that they might ground differently than you.

This series will cover all four techniques, how I encountered or developed each, and the tradeoffs involved. But first, let’s discuss what grounding is (Hint: The standard definition isn’t particularly useful), and why we’re getting rid of energy in the first place (Hint: It’s not because you have too much energy.)

What is “Grounding?”

You probably know the standard definition: Releasing energy into the earth. You visualize your energy going out your feet, into the earth, and you return to normal.

There’s a problem with that definition, though: Energy going into the earth is the visualization — the way we communicate our intent to our unconscious mind. What if the unconscious mind does something else to make that intent happen? Wouldn’t you want to know?

More often than not, the visualization doesn’t quite line up with what actually happens. But the intent is a good starting point. So, let’s define grounding by the intent:

Grounding is any technique for returning your energy to its normal state.

(“Any technique” is probably overly-broad. I’m sure there’s some odd technique that wouldn’t count. Mea culpa.)

Good. Now we can talk about all the different ways your unconscious mind can do that — including some techniques that your unconscious probably won’t figure out without conscious guidance. But first, let’s discuss what “normal state” means.

“Normal State” is about Signature, Not Quantity

It’s natural to think of grounding as solving the problem of too much energy. That’s why you release it: You have too much, so you have to get rid of some. Makes sense.

The problem is, this doesn’t square with observations:

  • If I build a large quantity of energy matching my body’s normal signature, I hardly feel anything — just slightly more alert. But if I build even a small amount of energy in an unusual signature, the feeling is pronounced and obvious.
  • Other mages notice connections and energy easily when the signature of that connection / energy is different than their body’s signature, but do not notice the connection / energy when it’s in their body’s normal signature.
  • If I create energy in an unusual signature, I’ll feel weird. If I then create more energy in a particular signature, such that when energy #1 and energy #2 mix together, they produce my body’s normal signature, I feel normal again. So, adding more energy (in the right signature) returns me to normal, even though I had a lot more energy. (We’ll cover that technique later in this series, so you can try it too.)
  • Lastly, other techniques: In energy healing, the quantity of energy doesn’t matter much, but the signature of that energy is vital. Same with erotic energy — the key is the signature. And if you read the first item and thought, “Feeling more alert sounds useful,” well, I already have a technique that works better than building more energy in my normal signature, and it involves building a small amount of energy, but not in my normal signature. The key is signature, not quantity.

Now, if you’re absorbing energy from someone else, then the quantity you absorb matters, because it will mix with the energy already in your body. Think about it this way: If your energy is blue paint, and their energy is yellow paint, you can see how absorbing a little will leave your paint-energy mostly blue, but absorbing a lot will shift you through green and eventually to yellow.

It’s the same with releasing energy: If you want to return to your normal blue color, and the energy in your body right now is green, you’ll have to mix in a lot of blue to dilute the green. But if you first release the green energy, you can start from a mostly-clean slate, and just build your own normal blue energy. That’s the point of grounding: To release the energy that’s got the wrong signature, so you can start fresh.

What’s the significance of blue, yellow, and green? Nothing. I just picked some colors.

And now, we’re ready to discuss grounding techniques. (Starting next post in this series.)

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.