Birthday and the dreamtime


It’s the month of my birthday. This year when I was completing some ritual aspects around the birthday, I thought about this recurrence and how – in our culture and many others – there is this custom of emphasizing and celebrating the moment of your birth.

I have heard that in some indigenous cultures, there isn’t this concept of recognizing the individual birthday, so much so that some Australian aborigines don’t even know their own date of birth. Certainly, recurrences reflect the cultural relationship with time and beliefs around it, and also the balance between individual and collective. In Vietnam, everyone celebrates their birthday on Vietnamese New Year’s Day, which is called “Tet.” They do not place importance on the exact date of birth, and all children become “one year old” on Tet, regardless of their actual date of birth, receiving red envelopes from adults with “lucky money” or “li xi.”

Perhaps it is unthinkable for us to not know our date of birth, but Aborigines have a different context for time altogether. In the hundreds of Aboriginal languages, none of them has a word for “time.” They use the term “dreaming” or “dreamtime” to express an entire world of mythology, cosmology and spiritual vision. In the state of the dream, between sleep and waking, when the mind is in a state of quiet, they find their ceremonies and songs. rainbow serpentIt is a state connected with mythology because deep archetypes and images of wisdom preside. It is a time of ancestral creation and supernatural beings, with the “Rainbow Serpent” moving across the land, bringing fertility, the rain of life, and magic or misfortune in humans. Dreaming is not only ancestral, it is a time that continues even now in a kind of eternal present. So beginning and end, birth and death, are concepts that become diluted in this flow of magic and multidimensional presence.

Even though these ways of thinking are perhaps closer to the natural essence of life and the universe, somehow I find it reassuring, our way of defining recurring events, remembering important days, using calendars and dates. In this way, we have a map of the time territory, a time that can be quantified and gained (or lost), explored and conquered, saturated with significant events, leaving a trace that no one can erase.

The Befana
Quaglia Cocco



Compleanno e il tempo dei sogni

E’ il mese del mio compleanno. Quest’anno quando stavo compiendo gli aspetti rituali del compleanno, pensavo di questa ricorrenza, di come – nella nostra cultura ed in tante altre – c’è questa usanza di sottolineare e festeggiare il momento della propria nascita. Continue reading



33. changed everything. I understand now, something I didn’t get before. though any kind of inner transformation cannot be adequately expressed with words, not even with poetry, it just touches the surface. a collar around my neck has melted and finally, I breathe, breathe, breathe, still, again…

the week of my birthday Burning Man Photo of the People Damanhurian New Year’s closes out with purifying water descending from the sky, now in a trickle, now in a spectacular outpour, then gentle again, like the clear eyes that gaze at me and ambient music deep in the night. fine, okay. the water equilibrates all the fiery fire, heating and burning, speaking with the gods through the patterns of flame in movement, fire that ignites fervor, passion, mixed with a pinch of fear. the brilliant singing sun, luminous even in the night. so little sleep, but hey, we can sleep later. later! afterwards. after we have colored the whole sky with the most lucid blue of materialized dreams and the deep violet of unconditional love, art in every gesture and word, every Heartfelt Touch®, every game risked and played full on. You and me, we are the world. and in the morning, only a vague sketch of dreams, archiving and solidifying memories, saturated splendid traces of abunDance and generosity, familiar territories, conversations already traced. gratitude expressed through the flight of a bird reflected by the stars.

33. ha cambiato tutto. capisco adesso, qualcosa che non ho capito prima…

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