Toronto full moon, photo by Mark WatmoughThe moon is full and glowing. The air is warm and sweet, as it should be at Midsummer. There is certain calmness in the circle, as if all the beasts and fae have paused in their nightly rhythm to watch you.

Bringing your arms up, athame in hand, you stretch upwards. Your lips whisper the poetry of Doreen Valiente, using the Charge of the Goddess to remind yourself of your purpose. For this night is Her night, you have come to worship the Goddess in the form you favour most, by the light of the full moon.

The energy trickles from your heart, through your veins, up your hand and reaches its height at the tip of your athame. It then returns to you in a continuous flow, charging this sacred space and bathing your body in peaceful glow. It is the power you have felt since your first circle — whether that was days or decades ago. It feels like home, and once again you are reunited with your Goddess and your path.

The charge is at its apex now; you bring your arms down with a resounding, “So mote It be.”

Then, like a record scratch in a cartoon comedy, a police siren is heard in the distance. You are helpless, snatched from your still sacred pond like a fish on a hook.

Your eyes snap open and once again, you return to your bachelor apartment, where you have cleared away the clutter to make space for a modest circle and altar. Your familiar, a tabby cat you rescued from the Humane Society is sitting on your futon between stacks of books, bathed in the glow from your laptop’s screensaver.

Sound familiar? I know I’ve experienced this one too many times – the struggle of living an earth-based lifestyle in the middle of the concrete jungle. The challenges of trying to find inner peace while stuck in a traffic jam. The longing to join a clan of hippies off the grid but not having the guts to quit your office job and take the leap. These are all obstacles that many Pagans face every day.

I have been a practicing Wiccan for over a decade, and I have never lived in a cottage in a forest, or ran singing through a meadow like Maria von Trapp, or swam naked in the ocean under a full moon. Not because I don’t want to — but simply because I live in an urban setting on a limited budget. I’m not able to go on camping retreats for weeks, don’t own a house with a secluded back yard, and I certainly don’t feel safe doing a Samhain ritual in my local park at midnight. I’m sure I’m not the only one, either. But yet, I still feel fulfilled in my spiritual path. Why? Because I take little steps to feed the witch inside of me and keep my connection with the earth strong.

Earth is the very centre of all existence, because without it, there would be no us. With today’s modern conveniences, it’s very easy to forget that we depend on our Mother Earth for everything, just as our ancestors did. Except that the way we interact with Her has evolved and unfortunately our connection has all but decayed.

So if you’re like me, stuck in apartment living without a sacred grove to reconnect on a daily basis, I’ve found five ways to help you ground yourself (pun intended), and infuse a little bit of green into the dreary grey.

1. Touch the earth.

Walking barefoot in the grass or on the sand releases a primitive feeling in our souls. The senses awaken on the soles of your feet, when they are normally shoved into boots or shoes. It’s a very basic connection, one that we’ve lost since modernization. Walking barefoot or simply pressing our hands into earth and grass are a literal bond with the earth.

Take five minutes to kick off your shoes and press your toes into the cool grass. How does it make you feel? Does it bring back memories of your childhood or invoke feelings of a frenzied spiral dance? This is something very simple that you can do while walking in a park to reconnect with Mother Earth.

2. Hug a tree.

Yes, I am literally a tree-hugger, and you should be too! It may feel a bit silly at first, but there are emotional benefits to hugging trees.

There is something calming about the energy from a tree. The deep-rooted energies will transfer to you if you open yourself to them. Find a favourite tree and meditate with it in the summer, bask in the sun and connect yourself with the ground. Become one with the tree, imagining your roots and branches, releasing negativity and absorbing positivity.

3. Eat locally sourced food.

When you eat organic fruit, vegetables, and meat from your local farmers market, it’s not only good for your health but it’s also good for your community. Supporting local farmers reminds us that food is grown from the earth and doesn’t just appear into grocery stores off of the back of trucks.

It takes hard work to make the food we eat and seeing the people that make it possible makes a connection from the farm to our plate.

Urban garden, photo by PerennialsPhotos

4. Plant a garden.

If you are lucky enough to have some green space of your own, try planting a garden. Grow flowers for fun, herbs for spell work (and cooking), and fruits and vegetables for eating. It’s practical green witch stuff to infuse your energies into everything you grow, cook, bake, give and consume.

Draw sigils on the ground, in the dirt, or on pots to help the plants grow, and check almanacs for best planting and harvesting times.

If you don’t have space for a garden, trying adding small planters on your balcony or windowsill. You’d be surprised what can grow on a 20th story balcony, and it will give you the same kind of bond as a sprawling country garden in knowing you helped these plants grow with your own two hands.

5. Bring the earth inside.

Having a potted plant in your living room is an easy, low maintenance way to bring some of nature into your home. Pick a plant with good energy and one that is safe for any plants or children that might come in contract with it.

Talking to and naming your plant will help it grow and flourish. Choose one with a colour or a scent that bring your magick and emotions to the surface. Include it on your altar when doing prayers, meditation, or spell work.

If you can’t have a pet in your home, a little cactus or flower might be able to fill the void, if you give it a chance.

Do you see yourself infusing these steps into your modern life style? How do you already connect with the earth on a daily basis? Feel free to share in the comments!

Image credit: Mark Watmough, PerennialsPhotos