This post features cards from the Modern Witch Tarot.
Grounding can be both incredibly simple and wildly complex. It’s usually shorthand for getting in touch with our physical senses, reconnecting with our bodies, and finding a sense of safety and calm in the present. But in a broader, more spiritual sense, grounding can mean giving ourselves gifts of compassion, grace, gentleness, self-love, and awareness of what we truly need. In tapping into our energetic centers, in giving ourselves the space to acknowledge where we are, we can step more fully into ourselves, and honor the people that we truly are.
For me, grounding acts as a sensation of being tethered to a place, a practice, a purpose — the certainty that we are wholly present in our bodies, not lost in thought or swept up in passion or drowning in emotion. It’s feeling every inhale and exhale, feeling our bodies sit in stillness, feeling our hearts pumping blood through our veins to sustain us. We feel peaceful, powerful, certain of who we are and what we are doing. At its core, grounding is a sense of true balance, the knowledge that we are safe and supported, the awareness of the roots that tether and anchor us.
Yet there are so many ways that this deceptively simple idea can get derailed. When we start out on a new journey, leaving old comforts behind, it can feel both exciting and confusing as we stumble along an unfamiliar path, looking for tethers to keep us safe. When we hit a bump in the road, experience loss or lose our way or discover that what we wanted is not actually possible, it can leave us feeling like we’re floating in space, not knowing what we can grab on to. And even when we do meet our goals, even exceed them, sometimes the lack of movement or the feeling of finality can feel draining, as we wonder what is next for us.
And while there are plenty of exercises that can help us find our center again, from meditations to yoga to exercise to sleep to sex to a great meal, tarot cards can be a brilliant tool for grounding. Readings and time with our intuition can offer us insights into what has us feeling lost or unsupported, and can remind us of the strength and magic that we already carry. If you’ve been feeling aimless, confused, uncertain of your next steps, my latest spread can help you find that sense of calm purpose to get you back on track, to remind you of your resilience.
For this reading, our wonderful editor-in-chief Carmen has graciously agreed to let me share pieces of her reading with the Autostraddle community. My hope is that in seeing how this spread can work for her, you feel empowered to use it for yourself.
Where have you felt lost or insecure?
Ace of swords
Aces always represent beginnings, the start of a new cycle — but they also speak to the full potential present in a suit, the magic and energy and possibility inherent within this particular element. Swords are tied to air, which represents the mind, communication, truth, authenticity, wisdom, knowledge, and information, so this ace helps us to recognize just how much power our perceptions can hold. With the ace of swords we consider the ways that a flash of intense insight or awareness, a brand new understanding of a particular challenge or situation, can change everything about where we are — and can also alter what we believe is possible for our future.
As you look forward and consider all that stretches before you, all of the changes and joys and struggles and uncertainties, the number of pieces that you don’t fully understand yet may be throwing you for a loop. This card asks you to take strength and power in the clarity that you do feel, to honor the endless potential that is crackling within you, and to trust yourself to figure it out as you go.
What helps you feel solid and confident?
An archetype of tradition and history and the only major arcana card in this reading, the Hierophant represents a sense of purpose and power, the knowledge that we are following a path that was carved long ago. This is a teacher, a mentor, someone with wisdom greater than their own experience — they help us tap into collective knowledge, a past that is anchored by a deep system of roots and practices. In this position, this card indicates that you are likely someone that finds comfort and a sense of empowerment in connecting with larger traditions, tapping into personal magic and wide-spread practices that allow you to feel like you are communing with energies larger than yourself.
Where do you find your strength?
Ace of wands
It’s so lovely to see another ace here, indicating that you are indeed at the beginning of an important and transformational journey. Wands is the suit of fire, connected to the soul, passions, desires, willpower, creativity, movement, creation, and drive. And as you sit here crackling with fire, burning with potential, this ace wants to remind you that you find your strength in your creativity.
How often do you give yourself space to play, to seek joy, to embrace pleasure? What captures your imagination, stimulates your senses, activates your inspiration? Whether it’s a hobby, a talent, something you do for fun or something that you have turned into a career, your sense of natural fire and passion is something that motivates and sustains you, something at the core of who you are.
What is a first step you can take towards grounding?
Seven of pentacles
Our last card in this reading, the seven of pentacles is connected to both celebration and assessment, an opportunity to step back from movement and consider where we are, and where we want to go next. Pentacles is the suit of earth, a particularly appropriate element for this reading as it is tied to the physical body, health, wealth, career, finances, sensuality, pleasure, family, home, and the world we inhabit. And when we talk about grounding, we often think about our feet planted firmly on the earth, about the people and places and objects and habits that help us remember who we are, and where we belong.
This card wants you to remember the power that you wield, the effort that it’s taken, and to take time for reflection and pleasure in where you are now. But the seven of pentacles also gives you space to adapt and change, if you need to. When you think back to the goals you originally set, the dreams that you have been working towards, your path may have had to shift or bend or even go in a completely different direction at times. How do those initial intentions match up with where you actually are right now? Do you feel behind, ahead, or right on track? Have you adjusted your goal, perhaps even fully changed it? And how does it feel to recognize the ways that you have adapted along the way?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! What practices help you feel more grounded? Which rituals allow you to tap into your inner strength and deep personal magic? What has reading with this spread helped you recognize and celebrate about yourself? Let me know!