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Animal spirits: totems for root chakra work

I am a Chakra junkie. I love exploring the energy of the Chakra system, and I am always looking for new ways to connect with and experience that energy. Lately I have been seeking to link chakra energy into the interconnected web of life by invoking the spirits of animals who embody that energy into my chakra work.

The first, or root, chakra – Muladhara – is the center of earthy, stable energy. The animals that bring that energy are solid and heavy, with one exception.

african_bush_elephant_big_animalDespite weighing 10,000 pounds, elephants walk softly on the earth. Nurturing elephants fare well in their often harsh natural environments, and demonstrate a strong commitment to their group’s protection and survival. As a symbol of safety and strength, elephants can be called on to support first chakra explorations. In addition, the gentle eyes of the huge elephant are full of ancient wisdom. The elephant is a worthwhile companion for your grounding practice.

highlandbOx represents strength, endurance, stamina, prosperity and productivity. These characteristics reflect the energy of the first chakra. Consider a pair of oxen as your guardians while you settle into a deep, rooting meditation.

 

bullThe bull is the Earth Lord, embodying abundance and contentment when calm. When running, the bull’s thundering hooves make the earth quake. Call on bull to bring power to a deficient first chakra.

 

shutterstock_mole.jpg.CROP.original-originalMole is neither heavy nor strong, yet offers a strong connection to the earth. Moles represent the ultimate in groundedness. Ask mole to teach you about eating right, an important first chakra lesson, by sharing her knowledge of herbs and roots.

To connect to the spirit of these first chakra animals, you can simply meditate on them or their qualities. You might also try imagining yourself in the body of the animal. What would it feel like to move like an elephant, an ox, a bull or a mole? You can also call on them as guardians during any root chakra work.

Can you think of any other animals with first chakra spirit?

 

Essential Oils to Connect with the Earth Element

EOGroundingAromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. The base notes of some essential oils are grounding and connect you to the qualities of the Earth Element. Add a few drops of oil to the wax of a burning candle or diffuse to activate its grounding properties.

Cedarwood-Essential-OilCedarwood and Cypress oils both come from trees with deep roots. Cedarwood oil draws earth energy. It purifies and promotes relaxation and balance.

CypressCypress oil encourages a long, enduring life. It cultivates the earthy qualities of quiet, security and grounding.

Frankincense

Frankincense is a deep, earthy scent. It provides protection for the body by stimulating the immune system, as well as emotional calm.

PatchouliPatchouli is considered a powerful aphrodisiac, but it also combats negative emotions and promotes stamina. Patchouli’s scent grounds the spirit into the physical body.

SandalwoodSandalwood encourages spiritual and emotional well-being through deep meditation. It supports the meditative state by grounding and focusing energy and creating protective space.

VetiverVetiver is another very earthy scent. It cleanses, grounds and centers spiritual and mental energy.

Learn more about essential oils and find out how to order Young Living oils here.

Feel the Earth Element in your body with these three yoga poses

EarthElementMountainNext weekend I am teaching a yoga workshop called “Elemental Yoga” at the Central New York Pagan Pride Day Festival in Syracuse, New York. I’m very excited. This is the first time I’ve ventured out of my comforting Adirondack mountains to teach yoga to strangers, so I’m also a bit nervous. I have been doing lots of grounding work over the past few weeks, drawing nourishing energy from the earth, while at the same time inviting my vision for the workshop down to the physical level so it will manifest.

Yoga always helps me stay grounded and centered, but these three simple poses are my go-to poses when I need a quick refocus.

  1. Mountain pose. Tadasana is the basis of all standing poses in yoga. It embodies the grounding energy of the root chakra and brings awareness to your postural alignment. Stand with your feet no wider than your hips and your toes forward. Soften your knees, spread your toes and balance your weight between the balls of your feet and the center of your heel. Drop your tailbone and reach the crown of your head up, lengthening your spine. Relax your arms by your sides. Close your eyes and imagine your weight dropping into your feet, like you are trying to be so heavy that no one can lift you off the ground. You might sense your feet sinking into the floor or, if you are outside, the ground. Keep your knees slightly bent – if you lock them it will be harder for you to keep your feet heavy.
  2. EarthElementLotusLotus pose. Padmasana originated in the meditative practices of ancient India and is still used by modern-day practitioners. This centering posture presses your sitting bones, your physical “roots,” firmly down. Due to the hip and knee flexibility required, full lotus pose, with both feet placed on the opposite thighs, is not available for everyone. If you find it difficult, you can modify by bringing just one foot onto the other thigh (half lotus pose) or simply crossing your ankles (easy pose). If you practice Padmasana regularly, be sure to alternate which leg is on top to avoid developing imbalance in the hips. Once you get settled in your seat, lengthen your spine, lower your chin slightly and become aware of everything that is touching the surface you are sitting on. I find that just a few minutes focusing on my physical connection to the earth is calming and helps me to feel present.
  3. EarthElementCobraCobra pose. It is difficult to get closer to earth energy than to have your belly on the earth in Bhujangasana. Lie face down and stretch your legs back, feet hip-width apart, and press the tops of your feet into the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread, and hug your elbows to your sides. Keeping your pelvis pressed into the floor and straightening your arms as you make space to do so, lift your heart. Relax your shoulder blades down your back, draw your lower belly slightly off the floor and lift the top of your sternum. Draw your ears away from your shoulders, lengthening your neck. Feel the tops of your feet, your thighs, your pelvis and your low belly on the earth. If you are in a time of transformation or change, add extra oomph by closing your eyes and imagining you are shedding your skin, slithering out of whatever you are letting go of in order for change to happen.

Grounding with Stones and Crystals

The ongoing volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, near Bardarbunga, has already become the largest lava eruption in Iceland since the 19th century.

The ongoing volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, near Bardarbunga, has already become the largest lava eruption in Iceland since the 19th century.

I’ve been following the seismic activity and subsequent eruption in and around the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland with fascination. I live in an area where the mountains were created by glaciers, not volcanoes, and the ground rarely shakes, so it’s easy to forget that even the Earth is sometimes unsettled. Over the last few weeks, there’s been lots of shaking going on, all over the Earth, and there was another volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea. We are in need of some collective grounding, and there are some stones that can help.

Snowflake obsidian is black obsidian with whitish-gray spots of radiating needle-shaped cristobalite crystals.

Snowflake obsidian is black obsidian with whitish-gray spots of radiating needle-shaped cristobalite crystals.

There are a number of stones that are particularly grounding. In honor of the volcanic eruptions, I have to start with Obsidian. Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass formed from molten lava that cools very rapidly. It’s origin creates an instant connection to the core of the Earth. Obsidian is a powerful, protective stone that absorbs negative energy and enhances resilience.

Metallic grey hematite was popular for jewelry in Europe during the Victorian era.

Metallic grey hematite was popular for jewelry in Europe during the Victorian era.

Hematite is another grounding and balancing stone. It is mined as the main ore of iron and is somewhat magnetic. Use hematite to relieve spaciness, to protect your aura, and to enhance your memory.

Smoky quartz is very comforting and calming.

Smoky quartz is very comforting and calming.

Technically, smoky quartz is caused by irradiation and traces of aluminum built into its crystal lattice. Smoky quartz is a very physically and psychically protective and grounding stone. It also removes negative energy of any kind and transforms it to positive energy. Smoky quartz enhances survival instincts, and can help one reach personal and business goals. It is also used in assisting in making wishes come true by grounding their essence in reality. Thus, it is a stone that brings abundance, prosperity, and good luck.

Jasper is known as the "nurturing stone."

Jasper is known as the “nurturing stone.”

Jasper is a common stone and comes in many beautiful colors and patterns. It offers gentleness, comfort, and relaxation. Jasper is associated with agriculture, gardening and prosperity. It also grounds and protects you during astral travel by keeping you connected to your body. Jasper helps you become peaceful and centered.

Scientists have long been intrigued by the unique electrical and magnetic properties of tourmaline.

Scientists have long been intrigued by the unique electrical and magnetic properties of tourmaline.

Black Tourmaline is a powerful stone, with a long history among many cultures of providing protection during ritual work. It is best known as a grounding and protection stone. Tourmaline takes negative energy and grounds it into the earth where it is transformed back into pure potential. It also promotes a sense of power and self-confidence, allowing for a clearer, more objective view of the world.

You can work with any of these stones by holding one during meditation, placing one on the Root Chakra during healing sessions, wearing a bracelet made of stone beads, or placing them on an altar or another sacred place in your home.

Growing Roots: A grounding meditation to connect to the Earth

GroundingMeditationWhen things start to feel out of control or unsettled, I spend a few minutes practicing a simple, grounding meditation. Seated firmly on the floor or, even better, outside, I settle into my breath, then imagine growing roots.

To get you started, I recorded this simple grounding meditation to help you visualize your own roots. Once you get the idea, you can practice growing roots whenever you need to feel more settled and stable.

Thanks to Mark Piper, a talented local musician and awesome friend (and my guitar teacher), for the background music.

Getting to know the Earth Element

Tree roots and boulders encountered while hiking.

Tree roots and boulders encountered while hiking.

When I chose “Elements of Wellness” for my services, I was considering not only the various aspects of creating health, but also of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Each of these elements has unique qualities that you can tap into to become balanced and whole. In our Spirit Circles, we invite each of those elements to lend their power and aid to our intentions.

I resonate most deeply with the Earth Element (most likely because I’m a Virgo, an earth sign along with Taurus and Capricorn). Earth is where you put your roots, both physically and energetically. To me, Earth is home. It represents stability, security, nourishment and quiet stillness. When you think of Earth, think of mountains, stones, tree roots, bears, wolves, winter, midnight, and the colors green and brown.

Some ways you can connect to the Earth Element are:

  1. Grounding meditations. Sit solidly and imagine roots growing from your tailbone down into the earth. Feel yourself getting heavier and sense yourself being anchored in place.
  2. Walk on the earth. Whether you take a walk around your neighborhood or climb a mountain, direct your awareness to the feel of your feet on the ground.
  3. Explore crystals and stones. You can simply spend a few minutes holding one in your hands and noticing the feel. Particularly earth-y stones include hematite, jet and emerald.
  4. Practice mountain pose. Embody Earth.
  5. Grow vegetables or fruit trees. Enjoy the pure nourishment from the earth.

An Earth Day meditation: connecting to your animal guide

I wrote this guided meditation for an Earth Hour ritual and thought it would be good to share it today in honor of Earth Day. Enjoy the recording, or borrow the script and share the experience with your nature-loving tribe.

Guided Meditation for Earth Hour

Close your eyes and allow your breath to flow naturally. With each breath, feel your body become more relaxed.

Imagine you are standing on a gravel road at the edge of a forest. In front of you are five stone steps down to a path that leads into the trees. You start down the steps. At the first step your body becomes completely relaxed. At the second step your mind quiets. On the third step you feel peace flowing through you. At the fourth step you know you are in a safe place. As you step onto the fifth and final step your vision becomes sharp and clear and the light seems brighter and the colors more vivid.

You follow the path into the trees, fully taking in everything that you see. You notice each subtle hue of the green leaves and the brown dirt. Here and there a yellow leaf left over from the fall catches your eye. The light filters through the treetops and dapples the path in front of you. You look up and see bits of blue sky between the tall trees. You see the varying textures of the tree bark, some smooth and some gnarled, knotted and rough. You notice tiny flowers on delicate stalks nestled against the root of one tree and you wonder how they came to grow there. Twigs and pebbles crunch under your feet. You feel a slight, cool breeze that rustles the leaves. You become aware of mossy smells and the singing of birds high above you and the buzzing of insects around you. You can feel life here.

You continue down the path, stepping carefully to avoid the small green plants which have sprung up between rocks. As you move deeper into the forest the light fades and the air becomes damp and musty. The path becomes softer beneath your feet. Moving on, you notice the sound of running water ahead and walk down the path toward the sound. Suddenly you step into brighter light and find yourself on the bank of a wide stream. You can see the sun overhead here and the sunlight reflects on the water. The stream is rocky and the water tumbles over the worn stones in a series of small waterfalls. The spring sun is melting snow at higher elevations and the water runs quickly by, carrying leaves, small twigs and a few water bugs over the rocks.

You sit on the damp, cool moss on the bank and watch the water flow by. As you watch, a small green lizard scampers onto a rock, then you move slightly and he disappears between the rocks. The sun is warm despite the breeze. You are filled with peace just being in this place.

A rustling in the trees on the opposite bank catches your attention, and you look up to see an animal emerge from the trees. What kind of animal is it? Let it be whatever first comes to mind. It sees you and moves cautiously toward the stream. You catch its eyes and it stops, watching you. You know you are safe here and do not feel fear, just awe at being this close to this animal. You have a clear, unobstructed view and can see it in detail. You can see the shape of its body, muscle and bone. You can see the shape of its feet, its tail, its jaw. You know there is power in that body, the power it needs to survive in the forest. You notice its texture – fur or scales or feathers or skin. You imagine what it would feel like if you could touch the animal. You can see its colors – not just the body colors but the color of its eyes. And you look into those eyes and feel a connection, and know this animal has a message for you. What is it telling you? What would this animal have to say? Perhaps it is just a message of mutual respect, perhaps it is something else. Let the message come to you. Trust that whatever message you hear is the right one.

You repeat the message to yourself a few times, wanting to remember it. Then you look down, breaking eye contact, and the animal turns and wanders back into the trees. You watch it go, grateful for the opportunity to see it so close and for the message it shared with you. Knowing your time here is done, you stand, turn away from the stream and walk back along the forest path, through the darkness under the thick trees. A few more steps brings you back to the place where patches of light illuminate the path ahead and before long you can see the stone steps.

You walk to the steps, taking one last look at the trees behind you, then put your foot down on the first step and start to climb. On the next step you become aware of your breath. On the next step you feel your body. On the next step you become aware of the room. As you reach the top of the steps you are back in the present, bringing with you the animal’s message and the sense of peace you found in the forest. Take a few deep breaths before you move back into your day.

* * *

I’ve done this guided visualization a number of times and have noticed that I am drawn to certain animals during times of stress, other animals when I am feeling introspective or down, and still others when I am happy. What animal came to you? Did it’s message surprise you? I’d love it if you’d comment and share your experience.

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