Not only am I another year older, but I'm stepping into a new decade of my life which feels pretty momentous. I've been thinking about this A LOT. I've been reflecting on what I've learned in my 20's, where I am now at the end of the decade compared to the beginning and on birthdays in general. We tend to give more significance to the 'big' birthdays (which is understandable) but I wonder if we're missing out on the magick that any birthday can offer. I'm going to share my reflections with you and some ideas on how we can use birthdays as doorways into creating and crafting an intentional life!
We talk a lot about portals in the energy/spiritual world - you may have heard about the 'Lion's gate portal' or as Samhain (Halloween) being a portal and essentially these portals acting as energetic doorways. These 'doorways' are opened on certain days and times, when cosmic and/or spiritual energy can flow more freely but there are also examples of 'physical' portals where the Earth's energy (electromagnetic) is higher than normal. Such places might include Glastonbury, Sedona and the Great Pyramids amongst others. Whether or not you believe that these kinds of doorways exist or not doesn't really matter for the purposes I'm talking about here because I believe that portals in the very least offer a powerful (and often transformative) metaphor for us to work with.
It's my belief and experience, that viewing a significant change or occasion as a portal can help us embrace that change and to live more cyclically and intentionally as we honour and mark the passing of time. Usually these times of change offer deep transformation and so viewing them as portals or doorways to step through, can help us really feel and observe these transformations so they don't pass us by.
Examples of the types of portal I'm talking about are the Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year. Each Sabbat by it's very nature, observes the change or transformation in seasons. As I write this, we have just observed Ostara and welcomed in Spring. For me, Spring is a massively transformative time! We see the world quite literally wake up, when flowers begin blossoming and the sun returns to the sky! So, we have stepped through the doorway into Spring. At any Sabbat, we reflect on where we have just come from and also what we want to see on the other side of the doorway.
Birthdays as Portals
If you think about it, your birthday celebrates you stepping through possibly the greatest portal of them all, from womb to the world!! I mean, that's pretty momentous, wouldn't you say? Birthdays honour the fact that we are of and in this world. If we were to get more intentional about birthdays (aside from the usual celebrations) we could use the time to reflect on where we have been in the last year and what we want to see for ourselves in our next year. We could view them as energetic transformations and shifts, as we shed old ways and move into the new. We could use them as markers for getting really intentional about how we want our lives to look!
Let's not forget that one birthday to the next requires the Earth to pass around the sun one whole cycle! We have literally gone around the Sun and back - whoa! We go forward, we come back, always returning to the same day, when we were born, but never the same person. There's something comforting about the cyclical process of life - nothing is stationary, it's always moving, we're always moving, even when it feels like we're not. And I suppose this is the point - unless we mark these occasions and observe them, it's easy to forget that we're moving. Time passes us by and we wonder where it went. We forget where we've been (figuratively and literally) and what we've done, not making time to think about where we want to go. It feels like we return to the same place, where nothing has changed but why would anything feel like it's changed if we haven't made time to intentionally reflect on who we were a year ago and who we are now?
The change might not always feel positive but the fact is, is that there is change. It's impossible to exist on Earth without constantly being changed and transformed. And where there is change, there is hope. We can intentionally choose how we want things to change and what changes we would like to see. If we can change, then we have the power to be intentional about that change.
How to have an intentional Birthday!
Look towards your next birthday - make a 12 month plan.
What do you want to learn in the next year?
What do you want to do?
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to change?
How do you want to feel?
Brainstorm how you can make these things happen - what action can you take?
You may also like to look ahead further than 12 months and create a 2 or 5 year plan, maybe even a 10 year one!!
Journal - Look back and then look forward
How do I feel this year compared to last?
What has changed since last year?
How have I grown?
What is new or different?
What would I like to be different about this year? How can I work towards that?
What has been positive/helpful/supportive?
What has been negative/unhelpful/unsupportive?
What have I been/am I grateful for?
Ritual - Create a ritual practice for yourself
This isn't something I've ever really been intentional about, apart from the usual rituals of candles, presents and parties but as it was recently my 30th, it felt important to mark the change of not only year but decade, more intentionally. You can tailor your ritual to suit you, add in or take away!
Here's what I did:
Made a 12 month plan
Asked my Tarot cards for guidance
Water for cleansing and healing
Exfoliating to symbolise shedding of old self (cane sugar, olive oil and essential oils)
Himalayan salts for cleansing and purification
Frankincense essential oil for calming, grounding, ancestral connection + spiritual connection. (By it's very nature, it creates intentional ceremony and ritual).
I combined everything above in the bath tub and lit a special candle. As I was exfoliating, I was thinking about everything that didn't 'fit' me anymore and what I would like to wash away. I visualised it all sloughing off into the water. When it came time to pull the plug, I stayed in the tub visualising everything I wanted to leave in my previous chapter as flowing down the plug hole. I didn't get out until all the water was drained and I was truly ready to get out of the bath and step into my new chapter (I literally felt that stepping out the tub symbolised me stepping into this new stage), so I stayed in the empty tub for a few moments. Once ready, I got out of the bath and blew out the candle, symbolising the close of the ritual!
This really helped me to draw a clear distinction between one decade and another and to also feel mentally and emotionally prepared/different. I very intentionally stepped from one life stage to another and it felt really aligned!
Sitting down and pulling cards is also an intentional act and this is the Birthday Tarot spread that I used for myself!
Tarot Spread Prompts
What do I want to leave in the last year?
How have I grown since last year?
What has changed/transformed?
What do I want from the next year?
Whenever your birthday is, I hope it invites you through to your next year with intentional steps and offers you the opportunity for change and transformation!