This is my 38th birthday, as well as about four or five years into this creative endeavor. I’ve mostly lost count of both but when you have to buy the candles for the cake you have to get the age number sort of right.
How are you supposed to feel on your birthday? Elated? Amazing? Unstoppable? Spiritual? Appreciative? Entitled? Wanting? Sentimental? Humorously sad? I find myself sitting here looking to feel something enough to write about.
What is a birthday anyways? It is but a brightly colored box on the Gregorian calendar that marks when we came into the world, slippery and scared and took our first breath. We’ve been breathing since. Christians believed birthdays to be evil for hundreds of years, tying it to pagan ritual. We have the Greek to thank for those candles we blow out as they were the first to decorate moon shaped cakes in reverence to the lunar goddess.
My favorite birthday element is that if the solar return. That the sun has arrived at the very spot it was when we first fell under its warm rays. It’s neat to think that we go our own ways, me and the sun: each spinning, moving, seeing, only to revisit each other again in the same space in a different time.
In tarot the Sun makes its appearance as XIX The Sun, which is probably the happiest card in the deck. In many depictions we see a naked baby riding a horse next to sunflowers under a bright sky.
I have a hard time with this card actually. The baby signifies childlike trust and joy. I am anything but childlike, I rarely trust and though I experience joy, most of it is intercepted by fear, the awareness of suffering has cast a shadow in which I live. But it’s something I’m working on: Joy. Optimist. I have realized for a long time that I spend most time with my shadow side, not because things are hard but because it’s where I find the most comfort.
Seeing The Sun cards makes me think: what would be scarier than being a baby? You don’t know who you are where you are what you are about to do what’s it all about. So to argue we can’t be joyous because of the worlds weirdness is a falsity. It’s a choice to turn from dark, to light. And this is what children do.
But the baby is also a new day. Born anew every 24 hours. Each night after the dark skies finish their dance, the sun reappears, spreading its warm wonderful rays. There’s no better demonstration of balance at work. We can always move from one to the next.
We are born once. But reborn countless times. Times when we learned to walk, ride a bicycle, spoke up for ourselves, discovered poetry, truly saw ourselves, woke up from a night of crying, learned to let something go. It’s lifes sporadic timing that teaches us no matter how many years come and go we are but a baby to new ideas and have yet to be born to new approaches. And new ways of being. How thrilling to know that there are avenues of growth that haven’t even shown up on our map yet.
So for this birthday I feel this the most: I feel like a student, seated and ready. I’m observing, learning, taking notes.
I have mastered nothing. Not even my ever popular Caesar salad dressing with bacon bits. Not even my oldest, most beloved friendships. Most definitely not mothering, or writing or falling soundly asleep. Like a sentence, I can be rewritten a thousand times, but always saying the same thing: I’m me. Just me. Here. Now. Under the same sun I was born.