Here on the Isle of Glass, birthdays are important dates to recognize. We celebrate the day that a beloved, valued member of our world incarnated into this physical reality. Incarnation is a conscious choice each soul makes in another plane, a place many of us believe to be filled with the loving, eternal energy of the Divine. Choosing to incarnate in a physical body on the earth plane means choosing to be challenged, choosing to confront situations in our lifetime that can be difficult, painful, and exhausting to the mind and spirit. It's only in choosing a new incarnation, however, that we're challenged in our spiritual growth, something we accept as necessary in our soul's progression toward enlightenment. When we celebrate a birthday, we acknowledge how much we love and respect the person and their position as friend or family member in our life. We honor how far the person has come in this lifetime, and we wish them well as they embark on another year, hoping that they encounter more joys than challenges. We encourage them to make a wish on a birthday candle, setting an intention for the road ahead and breathing life into their personal goals and visions.
I've always shared my birthday, July 4th, with another holiday: Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers of the United States of America signed the Declaration of Independence, the document that stated their intention to start a new nation free of Great Britain's rule. July 4th is the birthday of America, and many historians see it as the birthdate of democracy as well, a new type of government characterized as being run "by the people, for the people." For over 200 years, the United States has been seen as one of the most, if not THE most, influential and powerful nation on the Earth.
"Declaration of Independence," by artist John Trumball, created in 1818.
I've honestly always loved sharing my birthday with America. Sunshine, cold beer, hot dogs, red-white-and-blue bunting, fireworks...really, what's not to love? Since July 4th is a national holiday, I always get the day off work. There's nothing better than gathering with family and friends, eating fun food, having birthday cake with ice cream, and sitting in a lawn chair, tilting my head back to see the spectacular extravaganza of colored lights in the night sky. Plus, I get presents! I get to be the center of attention. People hug me and wish me well and invite me to parties. It's not hard to see why I love my birthday so much.
But this year, 2022, it's...different.
I'm still happy to be celebrating my birthday. I'll be 54 years old, and I've come a long way, baby. I have many blessings in my life, and my birthday gives me another chance to reflect and to feel grateful for all I have. I can look back on the year behind me and plan for the year ahead, making adjustments in my life and setting new goals for myself. This year, I'll go to a party a friend is throwing, where we'll eat and drink and make merry while we watch fireworks and enjoy being together. I've already received a beautiful gift from my husband, and I know I'll be treated like a queen because that's how my beloved rolls.
But still...it's different. It's HUGELY different this year.
We had the Major Arcana of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck mounted and framed. These cards now hang in a prominent place in our home. I've wanted to have this piece of artwork made for a very long time as a homage to the meaning of the Tarot in my life. I'm so pleased with my new gift.
It's hugely different this year because, as an American woman, I have less freedom on this birthday than I did on most of the other birthdays I've celebrated in my lifetime. The landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade was made in 1973, a decision that ruled that women had authority over their own bodies and could receive a legal abortion in the United States of America if they chose to do so. I was only 5 years old when this decision was made, and although I certainly didn't know it at the time, Roe v. Wade paved the way for a lot of advances in women's rights that benefited me as I grew up and took my place among the adults of the world.
Unfortunately, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, essentially declaring that a woman does not have authority over her own body, nullifying the constitutional right to an abortion and throwing the United States into more chaos and uncertainty, especially for women. Whether one believes in the morality of abortion is neither here nor there; this decision throws into question the autonomy of women and allows the states in which they live to declare what medical procedures they can or can't have. No matter what one thinks of the choice of abortion, the fact remains that the rights of half of the people in the United States are now being legally violated.
It's wrong. And I'm furious about it.
It's no one's business if I've ever had an abortion, just like it's no one's business if I've had my wisdom teeth removed. But as of today, I can still choose to have my wisdom teeth extracted. I won't be forced to keep my wisdom teeth if they infringe on my ability to chew or to speak in an understandable manner. But I can be forced to carry a baby to full term even if it causes my health to be compromised. Even if it could potentially cause my death.
That's wrong. No one should be forced to do anything with their body that they don't want to do. But now women in the United States no longer have bodily autonomy and have been relegated to "less than" status. And it's clear that this decision against women isn't the end of the Supreme Court's scheme for the government to exert power over the people it claims to represent and protect.
So...I'm not especially happy about sharing my birthday with America right now. I used to be proud of my country, my "land of the free." But now, I'm less free, and it seems like other rights are going to be on the chopping block very soon. How can I be proud of America if my country clearly doesn't value me? How can I celebrate my birth, my choice to incarnate in a female body, when that female body is not considered mine any longer?
I don't have any real answers for these questions, but they keep rolling around in my head ever since June 24th. I'm still processing the betrayal I feel. I've told many people that I'm filled with rage, and rage is an emotion I'm not used to dealing with. I don't get angry easily; it takes a lot to tip me over that edge. But now...now, I AM angry. And I certainly don't feel like celebrating much of anything.
Yes, I'll go to my friend's party tonight. But it's not really to celebrate America. It's really so I can be with other people who feel similarly to how I feel, people that I can lean on and commiserate with who are equally disillusioned by this betrayal. And after the snacks and drinks and fireworks, I'll come home and continue to puzzle out how our beautiful country could be going so horribly wrong.
The flag of the United States of American is usually only displayed upside down to signal that something or someone is in distress. I can't think of a better signal to display right now.
I'm not a political writer. I don't have the strong, powerful rhetoric to inspire my fellow Americans. But so far, my freedom of speech is still protected, and I feel that I have to speak my truth.
America, I'm so disappointed. I'm so angry. I'm so tired of all the fear, judgement, and hatred. I don't know how to stop it, but I know it needs to end.
We incarnated now, every one of us, for a reason. What is that reason if not to work for love and respect for all people? For women, for minorities, for marginalized voices? We're being challenged spiritually, and we've got to figure out how we're going to make things right.
May your 4th of July be peaceful. May our world be made better by all of us. May love overcome all.