It’s my birthday today, and I wanted to write a post about sacred birthday rituals.
I discovered the beauty of birthday rituals on my 26th birthday. By accident, or by the will of the universe, I spent that birthday on a vision quest alone in the Blue Mountains.
A vision quest is a Native American rite of passage, which involves between one and four days secluded in nature in search of spiritual purpose. It is a powerful retreat from day-to-day life that draws out our deepest fears in order to transform them into our greatest power.
The vision quest was part of a weekend retreat that was the last module in a transformational coaching course I was completing. The full-day vision quest just happened to coincide with my birthday. My whole class was going. I couldn’t reschedule, and I couldn’t miss it. I was going on the retreat.
I love birthdays. For me, birthdays are the happiest of days. My family and friends were dubious: “you’re doing WHAT on your birthday?” I was spending the day, from dawn until dusk, by myself in the Blue Mountains with no mobile phone reception.
I was anxious. In fact, I was terrified. It was crazy. But deep down, I knew I had to go there. I had an appointment with my soul. In the middle of a cavernous valley.
We set off in the darkness before dawn, in a cloud of sage. We each took to the track every five minutes so we wouldn’t see each other throughout the day. Our instructions were to commence the 7-kilometre hike, and to find a ‘power spot’ that stood out for us. The power spot would supposedly appear to us as a safe and inviting space in nature for us to spend the day. We would need to intuitively open up to the messages of nature. Once we located our power spot, we were to stay in that space for the entire day, until we saw that the sun was beginning to fade. Once the sun started to set, we had to finish the hike and make it to the peak before sunset.
The hours passed, some quickly and others slowly. I journalled and I meditated, but I mostly sat and reflected. A few times, I tried to jump up and down with my mobile in order to get reception. The funny thing about fears is that when you face them, they become so ordinary. The solitude in nature was healing, confronting and ordinary at the same time. I was still me, just in a different setting.
But when I finished the hike at the end of the day, it was a feeling like no other. I felt victorious- I had faced my vulnerability and embraced my power. I had spent the day with my soul.
I believe that each birthday is a gift in itself- it is an opportunity for us to engage in deep reflection about our lives. Our birthday is the one day each year where we can celebrate the joy of our life and the beauty of existence. It is a time when our place in the universe truly comes into focus.
And so each year, I try to make space to connect with my soul.
Today my sacred ritual is a kahuna massage which incorporates deep breath work and sound healing for transformation. If your birthday is coming up, ask yourself what you need this year to reconnect with your consciousness. You’ll be surprised at how sharp your intuition is.
I’d love to hear about any of your sacred birthday rituals in the comments section, or as a contribution to The Inspired Society monthly salon.