The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!! Birthday magicks, legend and lore

 Good Evening,

Ah, yes. Just in case you thought winter was over!!! She is back with a vengeance! Yet, that's o.k., most New Englanders are accustomed to this and are patiently waiting for the break in winter and the spring breezes and warm temperatures to come around.

  I have many friends who have birthdays in the January, February & March months so I thought we'd discuss birthdays and birthday magicks tonight.

The celebration of birthdays goes far back into the mists of ancient legend and lore. The roots of a birthday celebration is entirely made up of magick and religious tradition and date back into antiquity to the earliest Greek and Romans cultures.  Well, it is common knowledge that a birthday is the anniversary of a person's day and month of birth. It is typically celebrated annually on that date and many celebrations traditionally include a special  cake and the burning of candles on top of the cake, that the birthday honoree is expected to blow out, and presents. 

There are various educated guesses as to why the birthday celebration has been so special for so many centuries.  It is commonly felt that because ancient peoples were very superstitious, that the gods on whose day one was given birth to, would follow that person throughout their life. In the ancient world, in complex, highly civilized societies like those found in the Greco/Roman world, it was common to have at least one god or goddess honored on any given day of the year. That's a lot of gods!

But each god/dess had their specialty. Much like people will associate various traits from a symbol in the horoscope, i.e. Virgos are organized, Rams or Aries are fiery,  Aquarians are dreamers, it is believed that the person born on the day of a specific god/dess would integrate those traits in their life. For example, if born on a day that honors a warrior god, it is thought that child  would be successful in battle later in life. It would be probable that that child would be brought up with the fighting arts and be expected to make military life a career. All because of the day he was born.

A child born on the day of a god/dess who was a healer and brought relief from pain of childbirth for instance, most likely would be steered into a lifetime of midwifery and the healing arts.  This was at a time, far back in ancient history when mankind looked around him to give his world understanding, a sense of balance and did what made sense, all in the pursuit of survival.

It was believed that the god/desses, spirits and other worldly energies that follows a person for a lifetime were closer and therefore more available on the anniversary of someone's birth. It soon became a day for wishes and prayers and somewhere along the line, presents were introduced. Perhaps to make manifest that person's wishes instantly on that day. Nonetheless, I for one think the introduction of presents a very good one.

I haven't seen it written, but I suspect that birthdays were first celebrated by mothers for their children as a day of gratitude and to give thanks to the god/desses that brought both mother and child through the birth process safely so that a first birthday could be celebrated.  Remember, it has only been in the last 100 years or so where childbirth is no longer the leading cause of death in women, and death in the first year of life is no longer the leading cause of death in children. Oh yes, that's specific to first world countries, only. 

I don't believe people can appreciate today how very dangerous the act of giving birth was for mother and child, for thousands of years, and even today in second and third world countries with poor medical facilities and virtually no prenatal care.   So somewhere along the line, I think a grateful mother wanted to show her thanks to the gods and goddesses that looked over her baby, and a celebration was born out of love. As all good celebration are.

We've spoken before of the birthday candle spell to Artemis, but let's go over it again.  In ancient Greece, many worshiped Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and animals.   She was also a protector of children. Her temple, which had open sides,  where the moon could be seen during evening rituals,  were often decorated with cakes, round like the moon when full, and crescent shaped like the moon waning or waxing.  Small candles would be placed around and in the cakes and lit in honor of Artemis.

The supplicants would then pray to Artemis and ask her to grant them a boon, or a special blessing or wish. After they asked for their special wish, it was necessary for this candle spell, to blow out the candle with one breath. If it took no more than one breath, it was said Artemis would grant the request. Ah, Ha!  So, if you have partaken of this most ancient of magickal spells, then you have conducted a candle spell well over 5,000 years old! Now doesn't that feel special? Well, it should, you are!

Cakes are significant because cakes at one time were most special and many times only the priests in the temples would be allowed to eat a sweet bread, as that is what cakes back then really were like. More like a bread you might have at Easter time nowadays, slightly sweeter, yet still bread like and yeasty. As these contained uncommon and valuable ingredients, such as yeast and a sweetener, most likely wild honey, it was not a common item amongst the populace until later Greco/Roman times. Even today to have a cake, frosted with special writing on it, is still considered a special thing.

We still burn candles to Artemis, even though many don't know that's what they're doing. But that's the fun part, she doesn't care. She'll answer your wishes anyways. Birthday spell wishes work on the same lines as Spell Manifestation, why and how spell work. (See Spell Manifestation Nov 11, 2010 for further details)

Other cultures celebrate birthdays and other rites of passage such as:

In Japan they celebrate a coming of age for men and women who turn 20, whereas in some Asian cultures 60 is a significant age to honor a person.

In America a sweet sixteen party is customary for girls, whereas the 18th birthday marks the official coming of age as an adult, and 21 as the official, 'now you can drink alcohol' age.

I found in my research a birthday that is called the golden birthday or star birthday is the year a person turns the age of the day they were born on. For instance when someone turns 17 and they were born on the 17th of a month. I personally had never heard of this before, but its celebrated in America apparently.  Well, this witch was born on the 28th so I guess I missed it, by a few years!

The Christian church also celebrates its birthday with The Feast of the Pentecost, and the birthday of Jesus, well that's an entirely different discussion. (See Yuletide to Christmas where did this holiday really begin? 12/1/10) We know that religious birthdays and birthdays of politically significant people, such as Presidents in the United States are often celebrated as national holidays.

There is magick one can do on their birthday when it comes around. Or actually on the full moon following their birthday.  Within the 28 lunar days between the full moon following your birthday and the full moon of the next month, write on a piece of paper a list of the material things you'd like to acquire in the next year.  This is the time for materialistic wishes, remember no martyrs on this path!!

We all need things. Even if its out of the realm of what you think you can achieve, write them down anyways. A new car, perhaps a different, newer car will become available. A watch or new cell phone? How about a new laptop? Mmmm, I should have done this spell after my birthday last year! Ha! Well, anyways, write down the items on a piece of paper and put the paper away. Someplace you will remember and then go about your year. Next year, take out the paper and see how many things came to you over the last twelve months. 

On the topic of manifesting your reality, which is what the witch does with her magick,  you may have to work harder, save money differently or even gasp! ask for what you want, but you will start to gather those items you asked for. I've seen it happen again and again.

So, just a little birthday legend, lore and magick for you!!

Happy Birthday!

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.

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