25 years ago, before I was even of legal drinking age, I discovered paganism and read everything I could get my hands on. The area I was in didn’t have much to offer, so I read things Like Starhawk’s “Spiral Dance,” Buckland’s Big Blue Book (the driest book that ever was created), and “The Witches Bible Complete” (the Farrars are totally fucking nuts.) It would be a few years before the easily readable, easily digestible “To Ride a Silver Broomstick” was available anywhere near me.
I spent years reading, wondering where all of the older pagan women were and why they weren’t out and about teaching. I would go on the 90’s version of the internet, largely just chat rooms at the point, and old women witches would scoff at newbies and say they didn’t have time for them. My 19 year-old self found this hurtful and unfriendly.
My 44 year-old self totally understands why the older pagans didn’t want to engage with newbies. I don’t want to engage with newbies either. There are so many newbies who not only don’t know their athame from their chalice but who want to tell YOU how things work because they read a 300 word article on the subject once. I’m not going to waste time telling someone who is convinced they are more knowledgeable that magic is going to kick their ass. They will learn the hard way like most people do.
I rarely engage in pagan discussions on websites or forums or Facebook simply because I find it frustrating in the extreme. In this day and age of people wanting to do the their own thing, many people have decided that magick and energy work don’t have rules. So many people come to paganism because of a restrictive Christian upbringing, so the disregarding of rules makes a certain sense, as these people are looking for the opposite of what they were raised with.
However, not applying rules and guidelines to a spiritual practice is both stupid and dangerous. Energy overload is a real thing, and often newbies at rituals can pass out or throw up because they don’t know what they are doing. This is why all rituals that work well have a grounding exercise in the beginning of ritual and at the end of ritual. If you start off grounded you won’t pick up too much energy and when you finish off with grounding, you’re going to get rid of any excess energy.
In every book on magic and paganism I’ve ever read (and let’s just say that I’ve read everything I can get my hands on in this subject) you start of with cleansing and grounding and that is how you end.
The other day, I foolishly tried to interact with someone on a local pagan group on FB. This person simply asked if they were alone in having to ground after ritual. First of all, this question shouldn’t need to be asked. You should already know that it is one of the steps of ritual. If you haven’t read up on paganism other than articles online, expand your knowledge base with actual books, so you don’t do it incorrectly.
I replied that the poster was indeed not alone. Basically, if you don’t need to ground after a ritual or energy working, you did it wrong. You either didn’t raise any energy (something I’ve seen happen with ritual leaders a number of times) or an energy vampire (ever talk to someone and just feel totally drained after? energy vamp) siphoned it all off, or you left energy just hanging about to latch onto whatever comes after. None of these are good things.
Now of course, my stating this fact, and yes, facts still exist and are relevant even in spirituality and energy work, caused people who don’t know shit about doing ritual or magick correctly to come out of the woodwork, which is always fun.
Here’s the thing, I don’t want to debate you when you are stupid and wrong. Telling a pagan who is proud to be an energy vamp how things should work is like beating your head against a very stupid, draining wall. I don’t like to fight an unarmed opponent, but I’m also not going to let someone come in and tell how great energy vampires are and how they love going in after ritual and soaking up the residual energies.
If there are residual energies, the ritual leaders didn’t do their fucking job. Grounding down ALL of the energies is something anyone with a lick of sense or any knowledge at all will do as a matter of habit. It is the energetic equivalent to not cleaning up after a party, and just letting the streamers and decorations hang while the food that’s been left out rots. It’s fucking lazy, rude, and dangerous. Energy has to go somewhere and left hanging around, it will latch onto to whatever is closest.
For years now, I’ve noticed a certain laziness in regards to being pagan. There’s this attitude that “whatever I do is ok” and that’s just not reality. I’ve been in covens with people who have been on the pagan scene for YEARS who still asked what the next step of ritual was. The number of older pagans I’ve suggested 101 books to is staggering, and most of them just don’t bother to read any books.
I get it, not everyone wants to run a ritual or raise energy on their own. Fine, but you should at least know if the people you watch do ritual are doing it correctly or not. And if they aren’t grounding both before and after ritual or a magical working, they are absolutely NOT doing it correctly.
I’ve said before that if you cannot or will not meditate, that this path will be very limited for you. I will also say that if you do not ground your energy on the regular when doing energy work or ritual, you are flat out doing it incorrectly. People will pass out, throw up, become crabby, become wild, etc. if this isn’t done.
You can debate this with me all you want, but I don’t care about your tender baby monkey feelings and neither does energy. If you ignore how energy work needs to be approached, you will be doomed to failed workings, lackluster rituals, and much unpleasantness. Not to mention old pagans like myself shaking their head wearily and muttering under their breath, “Newbs.”