A Springtime Egg & Nest Ritual
(Taken from the wellness series "Nurture With Nature: Spring Abundance" scheduled to take place on the 2020 Spring Equinox)
I think a perfect way to bring some of Spring into your home is through a seasonal ritual. Rituals, while the word may carry some stigma, are actually a wonderfully personal way to honor a change or milestone in your life. What better time to honor change than at one of the four pivotal season transitions!
The two elements chosen for this craft are meant to be symbolic:
Growth, nurturing, and rebirth/new life are some of the more prominent themes of Spring. What better representation than an egg. Also, this ties in nicely to the Easter holiday next month. While early Christians abstained from eating eggs and meat during lent (and many still hold this tradition on Lenten Fridays), eggs later became a representation of Christ being free from his burial tomb. The egg was dyed red to represent the blood shed by Jesus at his death, and breaking the shell represented liberation from the tomb. Eggs, as an ancient icon of rebirth, seem a fitting symbol all around.
The other element for this craft was an easy choice: a nest. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wood element rules the season of Spring. Wood energy is at its peak now; it has slept under the blanket of winter and is now ready to burst forth to create new buds/life. Wood brings the energy of youth and rebirth. To help foster a healthy Wood element in your life, one thing you can do is to begin new things, projects, or create new goals. Like the way a nest of strong twigs cradles new and fragile eggs, allow the Wood element to support and balance your endeavors to begin fresh this season.
In this ritual, I want you to create a nest, decorate 2-3 eggs, and seal the project with a blessing of hope and prosperity. But more than that, I want you to truly take time and discern the things that you really want or need to grow in your life. Really reflect on what seems missing or could use a breath of fresh air. Perhaps, after inward reflection, you see that you might benefit from having more self-confidence, or self-worth. Worthiness is a huge stumbling block for most of us, especially those who feel most comfortable as “givers”. Or perhaps you could use a little divine assistance and pick from a list of the “fruit of the holy spirit”, as specified in chapter five of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians (I will mark these with an *) Below is a list of ideas for what things we would like assistance growing in our lives this season (and really, this year). Let it help you refine your focus or inspire you to pick something I haven’t thought of:
Abundance Confidence Self-Worth Emotional Freedom Self-Acceptance
Love* Joy* Peace* Patience* Kindness* Goodness* Spirituality/Faithfulness*
Gentleness* Self-Control* Forgiveness Positive Self-Talk Right Relationships
Internal Validation (Not Seeking Other’s Approval) Self-Awareness
Courage Speaking Up For Self Open-Mindedness Intuition
Gratitude Open To Change Healthy Lifestyle Better Decisions
Belief in Self Vacations Volunteer Work Self-Care
Repairing Relationships Ditching Drama Optimism Work/Life Balance
Mindfulness Overcoming Bad Habits Forming Good Habits
Expand Comfort Zone Find Your Passion Letting Go Home Cleanse Body Cleanse
In case you’d like to add an extra layer of meaning to your crafty masterpiece, below are some color inspirations. Also, you can just use a color or combination of colors because it speaks to you. There are no hard and fast rules here!
A few notes to remember before getting started:
•It’s easiest to use hard-boiled eggs. Craft-store eggs are also a perfectly fine substitution.
•If you do go down the boiled egg route, they will need to be composted after a week's time. I suggest digging a hole in your yard and to “plant” them in the earth so they can decompose and feed the soil. This will also “plant” the intention of what your eggs represent so that they may continue to grow and flourish in your life. Remove the decorated shell beforehand to be more earth-friendly.
•Reuse your nest by tucking it in a nearby tree or in your garden for a new bird family!
• Twigs (rounded ones are a bonus; grapevine will work too!) • Bucket of water
• Floral/Craft wire
• Hot Glue • Scissors
• An assortment of decorating material (crepe paper, egg dye, markers, paint, glitter, the sky’s the limit!)
• Paint brushes
1. Get outside and forage for fallen twigs. Enlist help if necessary (my two young boys took great pleasure in finding just the “perfect” sizes, lengths, and shapes). Try to find twigs that are thin and somewhat pliable.
2. Once you are ready to begin, get a large mixing bowl, bucket, or basin and fill it with warm water. Soak all of your twigs for at least 10 minutes.
3. Begin by forming what you think will make a suitable foundation. I opted for a hatchwork style, which would give me plenty of options for fastening future rows. Feel free to play around with it a bit, or start with a small circle.
4. Start by cutting 2-3 inches of floral or craft wire, and tacking down one corner of your base/foundation. Twist the wire together and loop it around the adjoined twigs until it is secure. Continue until all of your foundation twigs are set.
5. Next, take one twig at a time and start experimenting with how it will lay down on your nest. Get cavalier and start breaking twigs or reforming them as needed. Remember, perfection isn’t the goal here. We want rustic and handmade. It will also go much easier if you focus on one twig at a time instead of one whole row or layer at a time. Reassess as needed and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
For best effect, enlist the help of your toddler. Approximately 2 minutes after this photo was taken, half the water was dumped onto the kitchen island, bar stools, and floor. There is no substitute for enthusiasm!
6. Once you have built up about 7 or so layers, give a final inspection and see if you need to keep going or call it a day. Secure any wiggly areas with hot glue to your satisfaction. This extra step really helps to hold the nest together firmly.
7. Behold, you have made a nest! Wine breaks are acceptable if you need a minute before changing gears to create your eggs.
8. Obtain some hard-boiled eggs. If you only have fresh eggs, add 2-3 eggs to a small pot of water and slowly boil on a low heat for approximately 10 minutes. When done, remove eggs from the hot water (carefully, please use tongs or a slotted spoon!) and place in a cold-water bath, or in the refrigerator until ready to craft.
9. When eggs are ready, take 3-5 minutes to discern what you would like them to represent. Refer to the lists above if you need assistance or a focus. Once you are confident in your choices, write them down so you don’t forget (I’m adding this step because these days, I’m lucky if I can remember what I had for breakfast yesterday).
10. Using your materials of choice, take your time and enjoy the creation you are making. A ritual is anything if not thoughtful, meaningful, and rewarding. Be present in the experience of materializing your intentions for personal growth. These are important enough that you are decoupaging a darned egg, for crying out loud. Take pride in your work and really fill this time with spiritual reflection, laughter, and self-love. If you need inspiration, browse through the slideshow of the options below!
Once your eggs are done, leave them out to dry before testing whether or not they will fit into your nest. After 30 minutes, you can feel free to view your completed project in all its Martha Stewart glory.
Here are how my eggs turned out! I did sparkly gold and pink for Gratitude (pink for love, and gold for divine presence and sustenance), blue and green for Self-Care (blue for relaxation and green for healing & balance...doesn't it look like the earth?), and multicolored for Vacations (rainbow colors for fun, playfulness, and vibrancy; sort of came out like confetti!). Now while I consciously chose the first two intentions, I let my intuition be guided for the third, and twice in a row it zeroed in on vacations. How will I incorporate this into my year? I guess we'll see - clearly I need to start enjoying myself haha!
A great way to finalize any ritual is with a blessing, meditation, or prayer. I encourage you to either use the one I created below or to try out writing one of your own for a more personal touch. I also encourage you to speak these words instead of just reading them, as spoken word has more impact and power. I truly hope this time has been pleasant and rewarding for you, and that you can enjoy your little centerpiece for as long as possible!
“May I recognize the gradual and powerful rebirth happening in me right now. May I awaken to my full potential and blossom into my best self. May these symbols of growth, new life, and strength assist me on my life’s path. As I open and receive the sun’s new Spring light, I know that my life overflows with the sustenance I need to achieve this personal and spiritual growth.”