Today is my birthday and as such, I asked myself what today’s blog post should be about. Well birthday magick, of course! While some see a birthday as “just another day” and others take an entire week (or month) to celebrate theirs, how people view a solar return varies.
Personally, I have always LOVED my birthday. As a classically trained pianist from a very young age, I was elated to discover I share a birthday with Beethoven. The Boston Tea Party also commenced on December 16th and I loved knowing such a protest against ‘taxation without representation’ took place on my day. This may not make sense to some, but knowing what happened on my day of birth shaped me in ways directly related to those events.
Once I began practicing my craft – over 30 years ago now – I saved my birthday as a time to perform very specific spellwork and manifestation rituals. After all, one’s day of birth is precisely when the Universe collaborated with your Spirit or Soul to bring you into the physical plane.
So what kind of magick can be cast on one’s birthday? What types of rituals and activities can amplify the power that comes from a solar return? First things first, let’s take a look at the history of birthdays and their celebrations to give some context.
Without a calendar, how was one supposed to know what day to celebrate their birthday on? They just didn’t. Time was traced and followed via things like moon cycles. Once ancient peoples followed the cycle of the moon, they also started to notice seasonal changes and additionally became aware of the ongoing pattern as it repeated itself time and again.
Eventually they started to write down these transitions in time. These marks gave us our first calendars, tracking changes in time and a variety of other notable days. It is from this system that birthed the capacity to begin birthday celebrations, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
IT BEGAN IN EGYPT
While the first birthday celebrations are credited to the Egyptians, it’s different than how we recognize birthdays today. Biblical scholars who dedicate their work to studying the Bible say that the first birthday mention occurred around 3000 BCE.
The birthday in question referred to that of a Pharaoh; however, it wasn’t celebrated as a solar return but observed as their birth or becoming a god. This transformation from a Pharaoh to a god happened when they were crowned. As such, this day in their life became their “birthday”, and in turn was viewed as more important than any other day – including the actual date of birth.
The ancient tradition of Hellenic Paganism – Greek Pagan devotion to Olympian deities – featured the belief that every individual had a spirit in attendance on the date of their birth. This same spirit held watch over the person and possessed a supernatural relationship with whatever god shared the same birthday as the individual.
ORIGIN OF BIRTHDAY CAKES AND CANDLES
Speaking of the Greeks, we have them to thank for the widespread and popular tradition of the birthday cake decked out with candles. You see, all of the gods and goddesses were a HUGE part of their culture. As such, the citizens would offer countless sacrifices and tributes to placate the deities.
As tribute to Artemis the Goddess of the Moon (among other things) moon-shaped cakes were prepared in her honor. Candles peppered the surface of these cakes and when lit, the flames recreated the glowing light of the moon.
The tradition of blowing out the birthday candles can also find its origin here. These candles were symbolic of wishes, signals, and prayers. By blowing them out, the signals, prayers, and wishes made their way to the deities.
BIRTHDAYS SPROUT FROM PROTECTION MAGICK
Many scholars believe that the Egyptian rites of celebrating a Pharaoh’s “birth” when they are crowned as a god was adopted by the Greeks. Much like a myriad of other Pagan customs, it was believed that important days – like “birth” days – invited evil entities along with the commemorations. As a form of protection, candles were lit as a way to counter the evil spirits.
Family and friends were known to congregate around the person whose birthday it was to offer them protection from suffering. This typically came in the form of well wishes, good thoughts, and general cheer. Gifts were also given in good faith that they would produce even more happiness that in turn would stave off evil entities. And yet another method of scaring off unwanted energies was through the use of noisemakers.
ANCIENT ROME GAVE US BIRTHDAYS FOR THE COMMON MAN
In ancient Rome, citizens were known to celebrate the birthdays of male friends and family. Historically, this seems to be the first time we see the observance of the common man’s birthday. However, the Roman government did create public holidays to appreciate birthdays of the more well-known citizens.
When a Roman man turned 50, he was celebrated with a olive oil, grated cheese, honey, and wheat flour cake. The traditions of celebrating only the birthdays of male citizens kept on until the 12th century when females were finally observed, too.
BIRTHDAYS WERE DEEMED EVIL BY EARLY CHRISTIANS
There are a couple of reasons why the early Christian Church believed birthdays to be evil. First, Christians believe that every person is born with what’s known as original sin. Secondly, the earliest birthdays we know of in accordance with ties to Pagan gods steered Christians to believe these celebrations of birth to be wicked and evil. These beliefs carried on during the first two or three hundred years of the Christian Church.
Eventually, the 4th century saw the abandonment of this way of thinking by Christians when they started celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – AKA Christmas. This was partly under a guise to lure peoples already observing and celebrating the Roman holiday of Saturnalia.
WAYS TO USE BIRTHDAY MAGICK
We’ve seen a few mentions of magick when we look over the history of birthdays. Blowing out birthday candles and making a wish (or blowing signals and prayers up to the gods) is ancient practice. But what else can we do to get the most magick out of our special day?
CANDLES + COLORS + BIRTHDAYS = POWERFULLY POTENT MAGICK
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, you know I LOVE using candle magick in my practice. Besides the use of candles on a birthday cake, I find working spells with these miniature torches to be especially potent.
Using candle magick layered with color magick on my birthday has yielded powerful results for me. Not only do candles contain every element in nature – the flame is Fire, the melted wax is Water, the wick represents the grounding facet of Earth, and oxygen is needed to feed it, representing Air – but when you choose a corresponding color to your intent and perform the casting on your day of birth, it’s like power in triplicate!
Read Candle Magick: Expectation vs Reality for more information on candle magick and color correspondence!
YOUR TAROT CARD OF THE YEAR
You can figure out your personal Tarot Card of the Year and use it as a guide for your upcoming annual cycle. The resulting number is aligned with cards from the Major Arcana, ranging from 0 to 21. To find yours, follow the formula below where you will see my dates in the parentheses as an example:
Add together the day and the month of your birth (12/16 is 1+2+1+6 = 1+0 = 1) to the upcoming year (2022 = 2+0+2+2 = 6). My card results in seven, The Chariot. From here I can gather ideas of the themes of my year to come.
We expect to hear the traditional song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ sometime during our birthday. But did you know that you can use music that really speaks to you during your solar return to amp up your magick? Take some time to yourself, put on your fave artist or band, and really let loose. When we sing out loud and dance along to the rhythm, it amplifies our vibration and sets us up for mystical success! You can do this before casting to set the mood and your mental state or add it into a ritual itself.
CONNECT WITH YOUR BIRTH SPIRIT
Going off of the belief that we all have a birth spirit present at the time we arrive on Planet Earth, connecting with them on our solar return is a wonderful way to foster that relationship. In order to reach out to yours, try using this technique:
- Choose a place where you can sit comfortably and will not be disturbed
- Close your eyes, focusing on your breathing until you relax into a meditative state
- Picture what you believe your birth spirit to look like, being as detailed as possible
- Acknowledge that your birth spirit is in the room with you, standing in a corner
- Without speaking aloud, invite them over to you
Notice what happens next. You may feel a shift in the room, a change in temperature, a light touch on your shoulder – whatever the case may be, lean into it and trust that no harm will come to you. You can foster this relationship with your birth spirit any day of the year, but the connection is especially strong on your day of birth.
Once you’ve spent some time with your birth spirit, you can call on them to aid you in magickal workings throughout the years for the rest of your life. You may also wish to use this technique to cultivate and promote connections with other entities on your spirit team.
RITUAL BATH MAGICK
I liken using bath magick on my birthday to washing away the past year in order step into the next with a clean slate. This typically involves an herbal soak that utilizes magickally corresponding botanica meant for purification, protection, and any other specific intention I wish to invoke during my next go around the sun.
Well Witches, there you have it. Do you practice birthday magick? Is there anything you do that wasn’t on my list? Let me know in the comments and Happy Casting!