I discovered a new birthday practice last year, tried it out and was astonished at how uncannily accurate it was at giving me a glimpse into the year ahead for myself personally. My story follows, but first I have to give you the nuts and bolts of how to do this yourself. You can do this if you know the exact time of your birth. You don’t have to understand astrology or even have an interest in it to participate, but you do need to obtain a solar return chart because the moment the sun is in the same exact place as it was when you were born changes from year to year. For about five dollars you can get your solar return chart here. I prefer the Merriman’s Report and I recommend Café Astrology because they offer reports at a much discounted rate compared to anywhere else on the web. Okay, so when you get your report you’ll know the exact moment of your birthday. From there you will journal your day as it unfolds. For me, I like to do it in bullet points by time and reference the interesting parts and go back and fill in later so I can enjoy the day! Each day is equal to four minutes and each month is equal to two hours. It is important to set your intention for the day, for the energy of the day reflects the theme of the year ahead. Last year was a year of revelation and healing for me and my solar return chart journal of the day gave me a heads up. Sort of like the background music of a movie. The context of what is happening is often set my the music. This is what this practice will do for your year ahead. Here is what unfolded for me…
Last year, I was really excited about this new birthday practice, so much so I that I got ahead of myself and was ten minutes early in acknowledging the sacred moment of my birth. I suppose that showed up as symbolically needing to practice patience, and understanding that everything comes in due time. Just the opposite is true if you are late for the sacred moment, it could show up symbolically as being late to many things throughout the year. Anyway, what comes next is really intriguing.
My mom and I decided to begin the day with a beautiful hike both of us had never been on before.
It was a perfect sunny day with gorgeous scenery. Our plan was to hike four miles in to Hiker’s Camp on the Tillamook Trailhead and turn around and hike the four miles back. However, about halfway in we came upon deep, deep muck! It was uncommon in August for the hike to be this muddy. We didn’t think it would be for too long, but as we hiked along there appeared to be no end in site. Hikers were turning around and others that were coming the opposite direction told us the muck went on for at least another mile or two. We had a choice to make, turn around or continue on. I was determined to continue on, how bad could it really get? My mom agreed. After all, it was my birthday and we didn’t know when we could return. So on we pressed!
I was trying to strategically hike through the deep mud, and go around, but I got frustrated and mistepped. I ended up ankle deep in mud. At that point, there was no more pussyfooting around. I threw my arms up and said, “Oh well, at least now I can tromp straight on through, I’m already covered in it!” So I went head on through the muck as my mom managed to stay relatively tidy. I did have to wait for her to catch up to me though, and in the moment I commented that there was some serious symbolism going on here. The beautiful hike turned into a mud bog, and out of determination I went straight through the mud even though it was uncomfortable. I was much faster than my mom who was going around every obstacle at a much slower pace, but I wanted to hike, not be on an obstacle course and I didn’t care if I got dirty. We weren’t making very good time.
We eventually made it to hikers camp, and sat down to enjoy our lunch. My sandwich was a big mush pile, it had been beat up through the entire hike in my backpack. My mom was bummed because she made the sandwich for me. I ate the non-mushy parts and tossed the rest in the fire pit. Hmm, more symbolism I supposed. What the hell was all of this supposed to mean?
Because we had taken so long to get to hikers camp we had another choice to make. Hike back through the muck or call my mom’s husband, Seann, and ask him to come pick us up at Indian Beach which was another mile further along the trail. There was no way I wanted to hike back through and neither did she, and even if we did, the day was running out and I had another birthday celebration to attend! Thankfully he was home and agreed to pick us up. The last mile of the hike was a breeze. When we arrived at Indian Beach I was amazed at the beauty of the scene we came upon and the fact that this had always been in ‘my own backyard’ so to speak. I realized though, as we left why I hadn’t been there before – because it is hard to get to! You either have to hike in, or literally drive through switchback turns to get there. Even Seann said he had to look it up online because he wasn’t even sure where it was or how to get there. Eventually, I made it back to my car, barefoot. I smiled to myself as I drove home with no shoes, my muddy tennies in a bag in the back, waiting to be washed off so I could wear them again someday.
The day continued on and was one of the best birthday’s ever, mud and all! But, what was fascinating to me was the symbolism and how it played out in a big way in real life and in perfect timing with my birthday journal…
A couple of months after my 39th birthday in exact alignment with the timing of my journal I hit the muck. I went through a period of painful realizations about myself that were hidden from myself. Some deep subconscious stuff that I was not aware of that was running subversive code on my conscious waking life. I was shocked and uncomfortable by the realizations and pain I had no idea was within me. It wasn’t clear at first, mostly an abstract ‘icky’ restless feeling. I knew I had to go headlong into it to discover what this feeling was. I was relentless in my inquiry and sitting in my discomfort. I knew it would be revealed if I was earnest. I knew I needed healing and sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Bring it on! As I inquired, unpleasant ‘truths’ came to the surface. They weren’t really truths, but rather the subversive code my subconscious had been feeding me, unbeknownst to me. As I grappled with this, I realized I had issues of worthiness. Seriously, me? Wow! I am pretty self-confident, I am not afraid to put myself out there, but it was true. It was there so, so deep. And I understood it very clearly once I uncovered it. I felt like the smashed sandwich. I felt broken and for the first time in my life I thought I might actually need therapy to heal. But, I used the gift of inquiry and my desire to learn and I kept going into the muck, and as I did I realized why I felt those feelings, and how the patterns had emerged in my life and would keep doing so if I didn’t work through this. I realized in my inquiry what I believe to be my karmic lesson. I like to call it, “turning silver into gold.” Maybe someday I will reveal the story behind it, but not yet.
Once I was able to piece it all together and understand the deeper meaning of my suffering, I felt free! I tossed out the smashed up parts just like the sandwich and kept the rest, so to speak 🙂 It was like coming upon the beautiful beach I had no idea was there. It wasn’t easy getting there, but oh so worth it! I felt relieved to not have to go back through the muck, and also realized that had I chosen to turn around at the first sight of mud I would never have arrived at this place of awareness.
That beach to me represents my true self, and the driving out through switchbacks represents living with awareness; you can’t navigate switchbacks without being tuned in Driving home without shoes represents the revelation of my karmic lesson. Driving barefoot represents navigating through life with eyes wide open.
Those black tennis shoes kind of represent me last year covered in muck, crusted over, kept outside near the hose until I got around to cleaning them up. I eventually hosed them off, and washed them up, put them back in the closet. I still own them, but I have since replaced them with a bright new neon pair. That feels more like me today! Last year was such an important year of healing, but because I knew I was becoming more whole there was such beauty in the process.
In case you are wondering, yes, I did participate in the practice again this year. And, I was right on time for the exact moment of my 40th birthday with a Ruby beer in hand toasting the year ahead! I set my private intention to approach the day with an open heart and say ‘yes’ to any request of the day. That should make for an interesting year ahead. To be continued…