(My apologies to Marian Green for playing off of her book title.)
A lot of folks right now are dealing with the challenge of sheltering in place. Maybe you’re working from home for the first time, or are dealing with the stress of not being able to work at all. You’re missing your regular schedule, events, and gatherings that have long created a rhythm of life for you. With our daily patterns disrupted, it can be difficult to cope. You likely feel a bit adrift and unsettled – making it hard to focus on your practice.
It’s a bit weird, even for me, since I work from home – when I’m not on the road teaching, performing, and vending my work. I think it’s just about right now that the cats are regretting the spell they did to keep us at home more. (Finally, that peculiar arrangement of cat toys we discovered after coming home from our last work trip has been explained…). I spent a few days evaluating the possibilities (and petting cats), then I shifted into action mode, which included starting online classes and offering art-based opportunities my schedule usually doesn’t allow (like commissions.) But that’s just one aspect of things.
You may feel like you’re stuck in a bizarre holding pattern, not knowing when and how you’re going to land. You’re also likely to feel physically exhausted, even if you’re not being as active or doing as much as you normally do. That’s the stress of this unusual situation wearing down on you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. However, finding a way to not give into acting like you’re on hold or just waiting for this end is important. Adapting your practices and developing new patterns can keep you healthy and feeling better on multiple levels. Witchcraft, by its nature, is a tool for dealing with the unknown, weaving invisible threads, being creatively resourceful, and looking at the world through a different lens.
So here are 13 tips to help stimulate your home-bound practice:
1. The little daily rituals are important. Even if you’re not leaving the house: make your bed, bath regularly, put on fresh clothes, brush your hair, etc.
2. Reset your altar. It probably needs to be cleaned anyway. If you don’t have an altar, but there’s a space that you work from (a desk, the kitchen, etc), then time to clean and organize it. An altar is essentially a place where action happens.
3. Cleanse & bless your living space. When’s the last time you cleansed and blessed your place? You don’t have to sage the fuck out of it (and probably shouldn’t if you’re on good terms with the house spirits), but paying special attention to doorways and windows, revisiting protections and wards – doesn’t take a whole lot of time and helps refamiliarize yourself with your space. You can use a shared magic sigil or create your own.
4. Check outside daily. Take note of the weather – where’s the wind coming from, what are the clouds up to? What things are growing or showing up right now? I guarantee you’ll start to see things you’ve never paid attention to before.
5. Read a short selection from your library. You probably have a fair amount of non-fiction books (physical or digital) – select one and open it randomly. Read that chapter or section for about 10-15 minutes. Choose to do this in conjunction with a regular event (with lunch, before going to bed, etc.) Often what you select will feel like it’s in tune with what’s happening around you.
6. Pull a Card/Stone. Have an oracle or Tarot deck – or maybe a set of runes, bones, etc? At the start of the day, or at the end (up to you), pull a single card/stone/object, record what comes to mind in a notebook, along with the date. Review all at the end of the week.
7. Clear out old herbs. Do you have bits of dried herbs that have been hanging around so long you don’t remember when you bought or harvested them? Depending on what they are (if safe/poison factor) consider composting them or filling a cotton bag with them so they can be burned ritually. You can also make a bath tincture (again if safe), including them with some fresher herbs. Make room for new herbs – and note what you don’t really use vs. what you need. After you’re done with herbs, look at your other supplies, books, etc – and organize those. Make a pile of things for donation or sharing later.
8. Learn a new witchy skill online. Lots of talented, knowledgeable folks are offering online classes and tutorials to fit every budget – as well as many formal online schools and learning centers as well. You’ve probably been talking for a while how you’d like to learn how to do X or discover more about Y – take advantage of the time and commit.
9. Figure out how to do something you’ve been putting off. It doesn’t have to be something witchy. I figured out the old bread maker machine we were gifted, so we’re making French bread regularly. I also looked up how to make tortilla chips. We also fixed our kitchen steam radiator that was leaking – thanks to Youtube videos. All easy and either super cheap or free to do – and took less than 10 minutes. Little things, but they feel really good.
10. Check in with friends, family, loved ones regularly. Whether via phone, text, letter, skype, or zoom – touch base with the folks that you normally see in person – AND the ones that you don’t. You can still meet with your coven to chat on a regular basis, even hold ritual online because it does work (the younger folks have known this for years!). Even if you’re an introvert, keeping a hold of those threads that connect you with others is vital.
11. Start seeds, grow things, honor house/local spirits. Depending on where you live, this is a good time to be starting seeds. Even if you don’t have access to a yard, some pots on a balcony, doorstep, or inside windowsill can make do. Nurture some nature – choose some herbs that work both in the kitchen pot and the cauldron. Make offerings to the local land spirits, connect with the trees and other features around you.
12. Take care of yourself. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself – you’re going to be more tired and stressed than usual. Cut yourself a break, but also be careful about doing things in excess – which can often be a coping mechanism. If you find yourself indulging in a pattern that’s unhealthy, change pace. Turn off the TV, computer, or phone – and go for a walk, do some work in the yard, read a book, or organize a small section of a room (don’t worry about the whole room at once.)
13. Take care of other people. Adversity can bring out the worst in some people, but it can bring out the best in many, many more. If you’re in a position to help out family, elderly friends and neighbors, and help out other communities and groups in need, put your time, resources, and skills to use (safely) and make a difference locally.
These are just 13 things to get your creative and witchy juices flowing. What other suggestions do you have that others may find useful? Post them in the comments!