Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with throwing open the cabinet of curiosities and wondrous things I call my brain and leading you on a tour of what actually resides in there – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
G is for…
genethliac – (adj) of or relating to birthdays; or to the position of the stars at one’s birth.
Here’s the thing about birthdays – I love them, and I hope you do as well. They should be celebrated as special. Our appearance here on the planet, bringing our unique gifts to share, is certainly worthy of reflection and celebration. My birthday is in July, at the exact midpoint of the calendar year – 182 days preceding it and 182 days following it. That external, personal reminder of balance always delights me.
I absolutely believe we are each a unique constellation of patterning. And I believe there are a number of “maps” available to us to help remember and understand the soul agreements we carry. One thing to consider is an astrological birth chart, also known as one’s natal chart – a map of where all the planets were, as seen from Earth, at the exact moment of your birth.
I want to be clear that I consider these genethliac charts as maps, but not the actual territory. Reminders of the epic tale about us, but it is always understood that we are the emergence of our story, given a free hand to interpret and experiment with the narrative as we navigate choices and events.
I especially love this explanation by evolutionary astrologer Steven Forrest:
“This, then, is the real purpose of astrology: to hold a mirror before the evolving self, to tell us what we already know deep within ourselves. Through astrology we fly far from the mass of details that constitute our lives. We stand outside our personalities and see for a moment the central core of individuality around which all the minutiae must always orbit. We witness ourselves.”
I adore this celestial image from 1844. Although it is meant to depict a comet, I love imagining it as one’s grand entrance from the celestial realms into the moment of our birth upon Earth for this lifetime.
It is for me the perfect illustration of Shakespeare’s words that I think about on every birthday:
“There was a star danced, and under that was I born. ”
The remark is of course from his play Much Ado About Nothing. For the past few years I’ve been on a mission to re-explore Shakespeare, devoting myself to one play and watching as many adaptations as I can. Last year I was immersed in A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, and this year it’s Much Ado about Nothing. So likely I will be thinking about the above quote even more than usual.
But in truth, the idea of stars and planets and our unique embodiment in this beautiful cosmic dance is never far from my mind. Here’s an photo of a simple gathering of objects, a wall altar of mine.
I love Haitan art done from reclaimed metal and this star-placing angel is one of my favorite pieces. It only seems right that this angel should also keep track of some of my other treasures as well, like the jeweled flaming heart, a tiny locket with the Crab constellation (my Sun sign being Cancer), and a locket with a pressed pansy (the word pansy is from the French verb pensée which means to think, and so it is often used as a symbol of reflection.) Propped on the painting are a few more treasures, including a piece of jewelry from South African artist Heittiene Grobler called House of Heart.
I’m intrigued by the genethliac markings of our lives, and believe we should all unabashedly celebrate ourselves and one another as beautiful gifts birthed here in materialized form.
What do you think? Love birthdays? Are you familiar with your astrological birth chart? Love the vintage comet image as much as I do? Do tell – you know I love to hear.