Most people, including mystics, like the idea of living life in cycles. There are daily cycles, weekly cycles, monthly cycles and yearly cycles. We eat at the same time every day, take the weekends off work, observe regular holidays and celebrate the New Year and anniversaries all at the same time. Some people also observe 7-year cycles; they consider certain years auspicious – eg. 21st birthdays; they celebrate 100-year and even 1000-year events like the dates really mean something.
Maybe it’s because we evolved on a planet that orbits a star in a fairly regular pattern; and because the seasons appear to occur in a fixed pattern. This is only appearance. To paraphrase the great philosopher Heraclitus, “you can’t pass through the same section of space twice.” Things change all the time.
I prefer a more linear (or lateral) path. The past is gone, the present is the only thing we can be confident in and the future doesn’t exist until we create it. But I admit I do like to celebrate a couple of annual occurrences. I like the Spring Equinox, the Winter Solstice and my own birthday.
If you like observing the world as a cycle, you might consider the following special dates upon which just about every religious and civic holiday is based.
First, one of my favorites – the Spring Equinox. It occurs between the 19th and 21st of March. It is the time of year when the hours of night and day are equal and, more importantly, the days begin to get longer – the Light is growing stronger.
Six weeks after this, there is a celebration of the fruition of Spring. Known by various names the time between April 30th and May 1st is has been revered since ancient times throughout the world.
Six weeks after that comes the Summer Solstice – very important as it is the longest day of the year – the Light in its most powerful state. This occurs around June 21st and 22nd.
About six weeks after that – around August 2nd – is another date commemorating the fruition of the Solstice.
Next, comes the Fall Equinox between the 20th and 22nd of September. This is the time when the day and night is again equal but the Light is now in decline.
About six weeks after that is the fruition of the Equinox – October 31st and November 1st.
This is followed by my other favorite day the Winter Solstice – around the 21st of December. Although it is the shortest day of the year, the Light is about to be reborn and all the days will now get longer and longer.
Six weeks after this around February 2nd is the fruition of the Solstice.
If you look at a calendar you will notice that just about every religious and secular holiday or commemoration of a special event occurs within a week or two of these 8 days. Consider St. Patrick’s Day, Passover and Easter, Yom HaShoah; Earth Day, Arbor Day, Walpurgisnacht, May Day, Cinco De Mayo; Pentecost, Isra and Mi’raj, National Aboriginal Day, St. Jean Baptiste Day, Lailat ul Barat; Canada Day, Independence Day, Ramadan, Bastile Day; August Bank Holiday, Simco Day, End of Ramadan; Labor Day, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot; Thanksgiving (Canada),Halloween, Diwali, Islamic New Year; Remembrance Day, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving (U.S.); Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Epiphany, Orthodox Christmas; Prophet’s Birthday, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day.
But if we’re being honest, everyone’s favorite day is their own birthday. Some of us may not have been wanted or planned and we may be living in humble circumstances or even worse – yet, if we think about it we should be glad to be here, even if no one else is. I like to treat myself especially nice on my birthday, I reflect on the things I’ve done and look forward to the future I will be creating.
So, Happy Birthday to me.
And Happy Birthday to all of you, whenever you have your special day.