For many solitary practitioners, not much will change about our holiday celebrations during the outbreak of COVID-19. We might be sparse on some goodies and make sure our outdoor time is in a less popular forest instead of a very popular park (even if it might be less popular currently), but we are relatively accustomed to doing our own thing by ourselves.
However, there are many of you who are used to celebrating in groups and are at a loss for what to do while using social distancing tactics or even while being in isolation if you believe yourself to be sick. Just because there’s a viral outbreak out there and we’re all supposed to stay home as much as possible doesn’t mean the holiday is cancelled. Here are some of the practices already used by solitary witches:
Out with the old and in with the new! Spring cleaning has always been tied to First Day of Spring and to Easter & Ostara. I have a post coming up on how I do ritual sweeping, but even without rituals being involved, cleaning is a great way to remove negative energy and welcome the light of spring.
With everyone stuck at home, it should be much easier to get a helping hand. If your family members or housemates have a hard time with motivation due to the depression and anxiety brought on by the outbreak and social distancing, try rewarding a half hour of effort with a treat or getting to pick what’s watched next. An hour or more of effort means getting to pick tonight’s movie. It doesn’t have to be these specific rewards, obviously, but if you can find a way to motivate them beyond just “I want you to do this,” it will make your holiday a lot easier.
Time in Nature
As long as you’re not sick and your area hasn’t been quarantined, there’s no reason you can’t still go out to the local forested park and enjoy the signs of spring coming to life around you. If you see someone else on the trail, just step off the trail by about a meter or so and politely wait for them to pass. Acknowledge them, so they know why you’re standing around in the trees weirdly, but you don’t have to interact. Wash your hands when you get home to be extra safe, but honestly, the forest is one of the least dangerous places you can be right now.
Stuck in isolation or quarantine? If you have a yard or porch or garden, spend time out there. If you have a balcony or patio, spend time out there. If all you have is a window, open it. These things are not considered disease vectors. Being outside isn’t the problem with the virus; it’s being in close proximity to other people that’s the problem.
What do you do once you’re out in nature? The best thing to do as a celebration of spring is to simply observe the signs of spring that are emerging, new plants, new buds on trees, sunnier weather, etc. You can also sew seeds to help bring about that new life. (Not in forests! Spread bonemeal or bloodmeal fertilizer instead. Kelp powder and dried seaweed or dried nettle also work as fertilizer if you’re vegan.)
You can also meditate! This is a great time for sense mediation. In sight meditation, pay attention only to the sights of spring around you and let your mind fill with thoughts about those sights. With sound meditation, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the birds and the trickle of water. With scent meditation, focus only on what you can smell. With touch meditation, lay out on the ground and meditated on how the grass and sun and wind feel against your skin.
Ostara is a great time for getting crafty, especially if you’re stuck in isolation. Flower crafts are by far the favourite, including flower crowns. Making bouquets is another way to celebrate spring. You can also make paper flowers and paper birds.
Another traditional Ostara craft is the decorating of eggs. You can usually buy Easter egg dying kits by now, but again, almost everything is hard to find right now and you’re supposed to be minimizing how much you go out in public. So here are some handy tips on how to dye eggs with vegetable scraps and spices.
Another thing you can make with eggs is “egg bombs.” You do this by making a small hole in the tip, another small hole in the bottom, and then blowing the goop out of the shell. Then, set the egg shells aside to dry. The next day, you can tape or glue the smaller hole and use the bigger hole to start filling your eggs. You can add seeds for seed bombs or rice or confetti just for a fun “explosion” or even put some small candies or prizes inside. I’ve seen people put small “fortunes” in these like you do with fortune cookies. Some witches put blessing spells in them! Seal up all the remaining holes, and then throw one at your nearest loved one. (Or outside, if it’s a seed bomb.) You can also paint these, but I don’t recommend dying them because they’re too fragile.
You can also make baby hats and blankets for charity or someone you know has a new baby. Or stuffed toys. Obviously, if you’re sick, you shouldn’t be donating anything of the type. Even if you’re not sick, to make sure things are safe, you probably want to wait until the outbreak is over and then launder your donation with scent-free detergent before giving it away.
Ostara is a great time to cook seedy bread and to cook eggs. Normally, I’d advise fresh spring vegetables and salads and edible flowers, but those might be hard to get right now. So I’m mostly going to leave it to you: make whatever you can that most feels right for celebrating spring.
One thing you might try amaking is Herbes de Provence. You can also make floral sugar by layer dried lavender buds or fresh violet or rose petals between layers of granulated sugar. You can also make rose honey by grinding a couple of tablespoons to a quarter cup (depending on how strong you want the flavour) of dried rose petals and blending them with a cup of warm honey. This makes an amazing meat glaze or tea sweetener! You can also make some rose petal syrup or lavender ice cream.
You can also eat tulips, which are actually seasonal right now and taste sort of like a lettuce,and paler tulips taste better. You can also use tulip bulbs like onion, if you’re inclined and have too many tulips in your yard. Violets are also seasonal right now and have a lovely sweet-floral flavour. Violets are commonly candied, but if you can collect enough, I personally love violet jelly and violet sugar. I admit, collecting more than a cup of the little flowers especially this early is a tough job, but it’s something you can occupy small children with very easily.
Some more suggestions include: cookies with pressed edible flowers, egg-shaped cookies that you decorate with frosting, lavender cake, edible flower salad, stir-fried dandelion, pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fish, chicken, rabbit, or omelets.
It’s common around Ostara to make offerings to Nature or to Spring-associated gods and fertility gods. This is fine, depending on how you do your offerings.
However, some people do it by leaving food sitting out, and I would warn you away from that practice. Food left out is a disease vector. No, you won’t get COVID from a week-old cupcake, but you could get mold in your lungs. Resources are thin right now, so you shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, but furthermore, COVID strikes much worse in people who are already sick from other things.
Charity & Community
Now is a good time to remember your community. If you are healthy and not at risk and not in an area where everyone is being quarantined, remember to reach out to friends and family who are 80 or more years of age, have children under 2 years of age, or are immunocompromised or just have difficulty getting out or affording bare necessities. Ask how they’re doing. Ask if there’s anything they need that you can provide. Be willing to pick up groceries for them if needed or to share resources. Spring is meant to be a time of new bounty; now is not the time to be stingy and selfish.
There are also groups emerging on Facebook and Reddit for local communities trying to figure out who is in need of help and who has the ability to share support. If you fall into either of these categories, make sure to find those groups and let them know.
Even if you’re stuck at home and/or sick, there’s still things you can do. If you have enough money to give away, do it. Give it to food banks and medical charities. Give it to Go-Fund-Mes. Give it to neighbours who are out of work because of COVID and can’t afford their expenses.
Even without the ability to go out or to share wealth, there are still things you can do to participate in your community. Share links to places to help. Talk to your community online. Stay in touch with friends and family.
Do the same thing you usually do but online
As a last tip for the non-solitary practitioner, I’ll point out that however you used to celebrate as a group, you can absolutely do online. Online covens are absolutely a thing. Video-conferenced rituals have totally been done before. Skype or FaceTime your fellow witches and brainstorm how you can translate your old traditions into new ones.
And remember: Stay safe!