Looking Into Habits of Effective Wiccans
Wiccans who are successful and effective, both in their spiritual and general lives, tend to have some coping skills and lifestyle choices in common. These practices and paths are far from odd or eccentric — just often missed amid the haste of everyday business.
Grounding power or Earthing power means to connect personal energy with the Earth. In times of stress or anxiety, grounding is a way to release excess energy from yourself. At times when you need energy, grounding enables you to draw it up from the Earth, offering a wellspring of power that can flow through you without exhausting your own resources.
To ground yourself and release energy, sit in a comfortable position and flatten the palms of your hands on the ground or floor, or lie down, placing your body flat on the ground. Take three deep breaths. Visualize (picture in your mind) the energy flowing through your hands or your body and into the Earth. If you need energy, visualize the energy flowing up from the Earth and into your body. Maintain the visualization until you begin to feel the desired result.
An alternative method is to sit or stand upright and imagine the excess energy flowing down your spine and deep into the Earth. Some people picture themselves as a tree with roots sinking into the Earth. If you need energy, imagine the energy flowing up from the Earth and traveling up your spine.
After you have grounded excess energy, you may want to center your own energy or power.
Your physical center is your center of gravity, your place of balance, where your weight is equally distributed. It is usually somewhere between the breastbone and the navel, although for women it may be lower. You also have an energy center, the source of all your personal energy. It's probably in the same area as your physical center. If you don't know where your center is, try picturing something that you truly love (your dog or cat, a piece of music, and so on). When you bring up that loving, self-satisfied, serene, warm feeling, try to pinpoint its source in your body. That is your center.
To center yourself, relax your body into a comfortable position (the same position you used for grounding will work), and then rest your mental, emotional, and physical awareness at that spot in your body.
Shielding is a technique to protect yourself from negative, counter-productive, depleting, or even dangerous energy. Shielding is a simple process.
In your mind, create a clear bubble or sphere of energy or light around your body. It moves with you and protects you. Instead of a bubble, you also may construct, in your mind, a shield of energy or light layered over your skin. With practice, you may become able to shield your car, your bed, or your entire living space.
Visualization is the ability to experience something in the mind, instead of in physical reality. If you can visualize, you can form a complete mental image of a person, place, object, or event. Visualization enables you to see, hear, touch, and taste in your mind. Most people can experience the senses in their dreams; visualization allows you to do it while you're awake.
Visualizing something in the nonphysical world makes it much more obtainable in the physical world. For example, if you can visualize yourself as the author of a successful novel, you are more likely to achieve that goal in the physical world.
To get the idea about how to visualize, follow these steps:
- Remember a time when you were very happy or content.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
- Picture yourself back at that scene in the past. Try to remember the event vividly (if possible, engage all of your senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and feeling).
- Try to practice visualization during the time just prior to or just after sleep. These times offer enhanced interaction with the unconscious mind.
Meditation is a technique to turn off the mundane chatter of the mind and achieve profound contemplation or deep relaxation. Meditation is reported to have many positive effects on the mind and the body (reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and relieving pain). Some people meditate only for the health benefits or as a means of relaxation. Other people incorporate meditation into their spiritual practice and use it as a way of gaining insight or communing with Deity.
For Wiccans, meditation is a way to clear the mind and prepare for ritual, magic, or divination.
The two basic types of meditation:
- Concentration meditation focuses the mind on a single image, sound, object, mantra (a repeated, usually sacred, word or phrase), or the body's own breathing.
- Mindful meditation doesn't focus on a single purpose; the goal is to remain aware of all the thoughts, feelings, sounds, and images that pass through the mind. A person trains his or her mind to notice each perception or thought that passes without stopping on any one of them.
The following is a simple concentration meditation:
1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. If convenient, change into comfortable, loose clothing and remove any restrictive jewelry or eyeglasses.
2. Focus on the sensation of each breath as it moves in and out of your body. An alternative is to focus your attention on the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, or prayer, doing this silently or whispering.
3. Every time your attention wanders (which occurs naturally), gently redirect it back, without judging yourself.
Anxiety obstructs the flow of energy. Stress and anxiety take a tremendous toll on physical, emotional, and mental health, and they erode quality of life. Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents, and suicide.
The best strategy for coping with anxiety and stress is to choose a method and stick with it. Practice relaxation for half an hour every day.
For Wiccans, relaxation may be part of the preparation for ritual. Relaxation aids focus and concentration.
A common exercise is to breathe deeply, and focus on and relax each of the muscle groups in the body, one at a time (the hands, and then the arms, and then the shoulders, and so on).
Good health improves the quality of life, including spiritual life. Rewarding ritual, especially effective magic, requires stamina and concentration. A fulfilling spiritual practice is easier to achieve for someone in good health, physically and emotionally. Regular aerobic exercise benefits the body, as well as helping to reduce stress and protect against depression and other mental and emotional disorders. Everyone's exercise needs and abilities are different. Ask your doctor to develop the best plan for you, based on your age, fitness level, lifestyle, medications, available equipment, and so on.
Many people regularly don't get enough sleep, and catching up on weekends doesn't work. Sleep deprivation diminishes physical and mental functioning. Lack of sleep reduces productivity, weakens concentration, impairs memory, and poses a threat to safe driving.
Nobody can function at peak physical, emotional, and mental levels without proper nutrition: the right foods in the right amounts, as well as plenty of water. That's the goal, but few people even get close. Without sufficient vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, phytochemicals (from fruits and vegetables), and water, no one can live up to his or her potential.
Many Wiccans find that serving the larger community encourages their own self-development, builds inner strength and empowerment, anchors their spiritual practice, and provides a deep sense of satisfaction.
Generally, Wiccans believe all living beings come from and are a part of the Divine energy, and the Divine is within everyone. Everything is interconnected. All of nature is an unbroken circle or web of energy, manifested from Deity. Any action within the web of life affects everything else. For Wiccans, the concept of community encompasses all of the natural world, including people and animals. All people are equal in the web of life. Doing harm to anything, even by neglect or apathy, violates Wiccan ethics. Any energy that a person sends out into the world is ultimately returned to him or her with three times the intensity.
The following are examples of Wiccan service, based on shared beliefs:
- Preserving the Earth and its resources
- Protecting animals
- Ending poverty
- Ensuring equality of people of both sexes and all races and ethnicities
- Helping to sustain indigenous cultures
- Promoting conflict resolution
- Championing education
- Supporting the arts
- Working for legal freedom of religion and equal protection for the Craft
All people seek pleasure; it's one common drive that reminds us of our interconnection. Humans desire and respond to pleasure, play, and laughter. Laughter is therapeutic, releasing endorphins (chemicals in the brain) that create a sense of well-being. Laughter also may boost the immune system, elevate mood, improve brain functioning, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.
A need for laughter is part of the way that humans have evolved, and people are manifestations of Deity. Joy, laughter, delight, and bliss are expressions of the life force. Wicca is not a religion of sacrifice, self-denial, and repression of emotions. It is a spiritual path of celebration and satisfaction.