Preparing Yourself for Dreamwalking
Written by: Michelle Belanger
If you are an old pro at magickal workings, then you probably already have a set routine for how you get into the right frame of mind. But if you're just starting out, there are a couple of things you should do to get yourself into the "zone" before you attempt the actual meat of a magickal working.
The very first thing is grounding and centering. This is a simple exercise that eventually will become second nature. The idea behind the exercise is to flush your energy of anything hurtful or distrcting, and then to rebalance yourself so you can start from a calm and focused center.
There are a number of ways to ground and center. For the most part, the only real difference between all the various techniques involves imagery. When we work with energy, our own or someone else's, it helps to visualize what we want to accomplish. Visualization is sometimes mistaken as fantasy, but although it is also an exercise of imagination, visualization is a technique that puts your imagination to work. The imaginative part of visualization simply involves picking a series of images that have symbolic meaning for you that then work as cues to your subconscious mind to accomplish something you can't really tell it in words. As we've covered elsewhere in this book, all the deeper parts of your mind comunicate in images and symbols. In order to get your whole brain focused on a task, then, you need to speak in a language that all the different parts of your head understand. That universal language is symbol, although precisely which symbol set equates to the universal language of your brain will vary widely from person to person.
Which brings us back to why there are so many different techniques out there for grounding and centering. The actual mechanics of the technique remain the same regardless of what imagery they're couched in. Before we go over a sample visualization, it will be helpful to directly address those mechanics.
First, let's look at grounding. Grounding magickally works on the same principle as grounding a wire. Energy is going to pass through your body as you perform your magickal working. To a certain extent, you have energy passing in and outof you constantly, everyday. But when you consciously work what we call magick, then the amount of energy and its intensity is heightened significantly. In the physical world, when you pass too much energy through a wire, you can burn the wire out. Although you are not dealing with electricity, shunting too much energy through your system can also burn you out. Grounding connects you to the earth, providing a stabilizing principle that at once helps support your ability to channel energy and also provides a safe place for excess energy to go. Unwanted energy or energy that feels incompatible with you can be shunted from your system with grounding as well. Anything that compromises the health and stability of your system will pass out of you, into the ground.
If you do nothing else than imagine that you have an energetic connection to earth from which you draw stability and through which you pass off any energy that you find to be too much, then you are successfully grounding.
Centering is a matter of balance. Your entire body is wired for energy, with energy passing in and out and through you all the time. The very shape of your body, with its inherent symmetry, helps this process to have a certain balance to it. Energy is spread out across your system at all times, so there is energy in your head, energy in your feet, and energy moving in between. One slight problem with grounding is that it makes you focus a little more energy into your feet than you normally would. Your feet are the part of you that's touching earth almost all the time, and so it's only natural for there to be a greater focus on energy there, on in any other part of your body touching the ground, when you are consciously grounding.
To regain your balance once you consciously connect yourself to earth, you want to make an equal and opposite connection in the other direction -- that is, up -- and then find your own center in between. For some people, that center is in the middle of the chest, at the base of the sternum, or just a little lower. Others find that they naturally focus on a center in their belly, cradled in their hips. It's possible that your own center will be placed a little differently, but for the most part, the center will be located in the center of your body.
Centering is the act of reaching down and then up with your energy, and then seeking the balance that is in between. On a cognitive level, this helps you achieve a sense of mental balance as well, allowing you to occupy a comfortable middle zone between body and spirit.
One of the most common ways to visualize grounding and centering is to imagine that you are a tree. To ground, feel roots extending from your feet deep into the earth. The roots pass unwanted energy down, pulling fresh and vital energy back up. The roots also stablilize you, creating a firm foundation for you to stand upon. After you have established your roots, then raise your arms over your head and imagine that these extend into branches. Reach up and out to the sky with these branches just as you reached deep and down into the earth with your roots. Feel yourself stretching and spreading between these two points: earth and sky, Below and Above. Your connection to the sky raises your energy and makes it feel light and airy. Where earth grounds and stabilizes, sky reminds you to bend and flow.
When you can feel yourself balanced comfortably between these two points, take your hands and hold them over your center. Picture your center as a glowing sphere of energy. Cup it in your hands and fix the sensation of internal balance, stability and flow, into this central point. When you have a clear sense of center and that comfortable balance echoes through mind, spirit, and body, let the image of the tree slowly fade away until you are just yourself again. You are a living, breathing person, but the balance remains.
From this balanced state, you may want to take another few minutes to prepare yourself for the work ahead. Think of this as the stretches you do before a work-out so you don't strain any muscles. Sit somewhere that's comfortable and take some time to just breathe. Don't let go of your sense of center. Instead, build from this center and let the calm, comfortable focus spread all throughout you. Breathe slowly in and out while you do this, and start thinking about what you want to accomplish with your dreamwalking. If you have made arrangements to visit a friend, call that person to mind. Think of what that person looks like. Recall the sound of that person's voice. Evoke your sense of that person's energy, scent, what emotions you feel when you're around this friend.
Now think about dreaming and your dreamspace. If you are nervous about things, reassure yourself. Draw upon that balanced center and accept that you can achieve what you want, if you accept that it's possible. Don't allow worry or fear of failure to consume you. Focus instead on your strengths. Don't just remind yourself to be confident: feel confident. Tell yourself what you want, then tell yourself that you are going to succeed.
Sometimes I find it helps to solidify your intent if you say it out loud. In a lot of ways, I think this is why prayer appeals to so many people. It's not so much the idea that someone will hear your request, but that you openly state the request out loud. The ancient Egyptians, a favorite culture of mine, attributed a lot of power to words -- so much, in fact, that to erase a person's name from written texts was to erase that person from reality. Countless creation myths, including the all-time bestseller of Western civilization, the Bible, begin with the Word. Psychologically this has validity as well. When you speak something out loud, you have to give it that extra bit of attention to focus it from an ambiguous and amorphous desire to something concrete enough *for* words. So -- even if you feel silly doing it at first -- I highly recommend taking a few moments to clearly state your intent out loud. Although, if your embrarassment to effect ratio is too high, then you can just try thinking it very clearly to yourself. For the best effect, try not to think in just feelings or images, but form each word very clearly in your mind.
I am the dreamer, and this is my dream.
I am the dreamer, and this is my dream.
I am the dreamer, and this is my dream.
Do you feel it as a reality within you? Do you believe it, all the way to the center of your being? Now you are ready to begin.