Friday, November 16, 2012

The Birthday Ritual

Author unknown
But I am not here to talk about mundane birthday parties. I want to describe an esoteric ritual that I held for my daughter's 5th birthday that was so moving for her that she "outed" us to her entire daycare class (so beforewarned!) .

When to have the birthday ritual

This ritual was held at the exact time of her birth (which for my child, was
2:45 AM). I felt that it would make it an extra-special event to synchronize
it to her arrival into the world.


The altar: Our altar was decorated especially for this ritual.Every item on
the altar had a special significance to both me and my daughter:

A photograph of our daughter,
Drawings and projects that she had recently done and declared to be her
favorites at the time.

Special candles - a heart candle that her father and I had made at Imbolc,
and a handmade candle that she had insisted we buy for her while shopping.

The music box, for instance, was something I received from my mother as a
child. It is a very important birthday gift to me. In it are my childhood
talismans: Brooches, baby teeth, and pearls. It plays "Born Free" and has a
reproduction of "Girl in Pink" (the female version of "blue boy", whatever
the name is)on the cover. The cover broke off around the time of one of my
Adult passages, so it is old, wounded and fragile. It is one of the items
that babies are NOT allowed to touch. But Careful Children MAY touch it. The
fact that I made it a forbidden object with wonderful sounds and mysterious
secrets inside made it irresistible to my daughter. And, magically, it is an
object of power, charged over a lifetime, and not to be trifled with. She
and I had made it a sacred object. We are teaching each other to find the
sacred within the mundane, to find the magic that is in everything and

The Altar items were also chosen to represent the elements. The Music Box is
for Air, the Sand Castle for Water, the Wooden Horse for Fire, and the Stone
Dragon and Baby (whose edge you can see on the left-hand side of the picture
for Earth.

In the center is arrayed the crystals and stones she gave me for my birthday
and a polished slice of a solid geode in the middle. On top of that is a
tiny mussel shell, opened with both halves attached, and a small yellow
plastic pirates chest.

These were my personal gifts to my child. In the yellow plastic treasure
chest was a small tooth and a plastic pearl. These were what my baby teeth
came home in from the dentist. That tooth was once my own baby tooth. Making
these connections enables me to remember myself at my daughter's age, really
remember. And to play with her at times like the sister neither of us have.
I didn't know why I felt compelled to save these things from my life. But I
am very glad I did.

Other items to add are cakes and ale (in our case homemade cookies and
juice), music (ours was supplied by the music box), incense to add
atmosphere and charge the air.

Once all the preparations have been made, start the ritual at the appointed

The Ritual

The people who should attend the ritual should all be there. For us, it was
just the immediate family (the 2:45AM start time kind of helped set the
guest list). The child is brought in to the group and the circle is cast,
the quarters invoked and the candles lit. A quick explanation of each of the
items on the altar may be helpful to explain their significance to others.

The person who chose the item can speak: "I saw how excited you were when
you found this shell on the beach, and I was very touched when you gave it
to me," for example.

Ask for the blessings of the God and Goddess, and tell the story of your
child's birth (or how they came into your life), and any other appropriate

Share lots of hugs and kisses all around. Some dancing and chanting is also
appropriate. You can make a chant (or a song) out of your child's name and
their age.

Dismiss, Open the circle, and share cakes and ale.

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