I’m Bridget Owens and you're listening to the Waxing Soul podcast. Join me on an exploration of mindful modern magic, a journey towards deeper understanding of self and transformative individual spirituality. It's December 17, 2020, and on today's episode we'll be discussing the calendar year as one of three personally significant annual spiritual cycles, why it's important to look at our own life patterns and cycles, how numerology can help us approach the mysteries of each new year as growth opportunities. Are you ready to grow your soul?
The year is drawing to an end, meaning there’s only a couple more episodes until New Year’s, so it’s definitely time to talk about some New Year’s type topics. Not resolutions, really. But the end of the year is certainly a point where a cycle turns over, and I think most of us have some sense of it being a point of a new beginning at some level.
Logically, we know that there’s no tangible difference in our world between December 31 and January 1, but logically we know there’s no tangible difference in ourselves between the day before our birthday and the day of. Still, I can always feel the shift.
And just like everything else magic, just because it’s not logical doesn’t mean it’s not real.
We do experience cycles in our lives, specifically annual cycles, and the calendar year is just one of them. Eventually I intend to write a book on this, but for now I’ll just kind of summarize the two main types of cycles I won’t be going in depth on today – but I will in future episodes.
So the first cycle that everyone experiences is their personal year, from birthday to birthday. The personal year cycle is all about personal growth. We learn things and develop a more stable sense of self and build up wisdom, or so they say, as we get older. So from each birthday to birthday we go through years that we use to mark the growth in our lives like hashmarks on a door frame to mark physical growth in a kid’s height. You can surely look back on past years and recognize bits of growth along the way through your life, like I can list all the lessons I learned when I was 19 about how the world was different than what I’d been taught as a kid, or how many things I accomplished in my 30s that I didn’t know I was ready for.
The second type of annual cycle that we’re not digging deeply into today is your spiritual cycle. Pretty much every spiritual path or tradition has holidays and observances that mark out some kind of framework of belief. Like, when I was Catholic the spiritual year centered around Easter and Christmas, reinforcing all the ideas about resurrection and redemption and salvation. And now for me it’s the wheel of the year. I look at Samhain as my spiritual new year, and each year is about the changing of the seasons, how the cycles play out in nature, and how we’re part of nature. Those cycles and the traditions associated with them help us grow in our spiritual path, specifically reinforcing and engaging with our beliefs and deep spiritual values.
And the third, the one I really want to talk about, is, of course, the calendar year. The calendar years are more about big cultural cycles, even global cycles. The changes in the energy around us, the forces of society, the forces of the universe, the stuff that’s not personal just to us. Like, even if 2020 wasn’t awful for you personally – and I would really doubt that any of us can say that 2020 was great, but there are certainly some, me included, who can point to a lot of good things that happened this year. Still, globally, 2020 was traumatic. There were all kinds of forces that were beyond our control that impacted us. We may have personally dealt with things very well or even benefited from how things have played out this year, but that doesn’t change the pandemic or the social unrest or the economic fallout and etc etc.
So when we approach each year, it’s just natural to look back at the year, declare parts good and bad, and formulate some kind of hope for the next year being different.
Sure, it may be – totally is – pretty arbitrary for January 1 to be the date that hinges on, but it’s been that way for so long that our adherence to that as a start date becomes a real and powerful truth.
So, if personal years are about personal growth, and spiritual years are about spiritual development, what’s the calendar year about? Well, it’s about our relationship to that larger world, the larger universe. It’s how we deal with the larger cycles that happen around us. Just because we can’t control or alter or change those things singlehandedly doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to do with us, obviously.
And like I said, not all of us are impacted the same way or react the same way to the same things happening at that larger scale. 2020 has been an overall traumatic year. Some people have experienced loss, learned hard lessons, struggled. Others have thrived, found new directions in life, gotten to spend time on long-neglected areas of their lives.
The thing is that we all go through overall cycles of highs and lows and shifts and changes that come at us from outside ourselves, and those cycles are just as important to look at and recognize as the other two. Because remember all the stuff I talked about an episode or two ago about evolution and how it’s driven by what changes in the environment? Well, this is that. So looking more closely at these cycles we live through can enable us to make the kind of choices that enhance and shape our personal evolution.
We can’t change what happens around us, but we can choose how those things change us.
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The idea of cycles over time and the way those things play out in our lives isn’t a new one, by a long shot. I think about the Mayan calendar, with cycles of different lengths all running like gears inside each other. Or even the way the zodiac signs form their own cycles that tie in with the planets.
Humans have long looked to observable cycles to, well, mark time, especially back before we had a set way of numbering the days of the year and recording precise historical data. Knowing when the flood season was coming was important, and even if that didn’t mean you could control the flood waters it did mean you could time the planting and harvesting to take the best advantage of whatever unfolded.
And even if our own cycles aren’t quite that predictable, having a sense of what might be on the horizon gives us a chance to prepare our mindset.
Now, I’m not talking about specific, “What’s going to happen for me in the coming year?” kind of divination. Not at this point, at least. I’m talking about our own cycles. The universe’s cycles. And this is energetic more than anything else.
Going into 2020, for instance, I knew that it should be a time of spiritual focus and drawing inward – and I’m going to dig into the how of figuring this stuff out in the last portion of the episode – but even though I knew energetically what things were supposed to steer me towards, I had no way of knowing how that would happen. I mean, I would not have put money on global pandemic and spending the whole year largely confined happily to the house, but in the end what was important was to take this opportunity to focus inward, to focus on my spiritual growth, and not to fight against quarantine like it was something awful.
Now, that’s not how things played out energetically for everyone, and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there for whom the numbers pointed to the very same dynamic who maybe got dragged into some personal and spiritual self-discovery forcibly, kicking and screaming all the way. Lord knows I’ve had my years of resistance to these things, 2019 being one of them. I had big plans for myself in 2019, despite the fact that the calculations said it would be a family and home focused year. And all those big plans pretty much fell apart. I mean, good stuff came out of it all, and at this point in my life I’m pretty good at feeling the energetic push and going with it instead of fighting it, but that energetic push had to pretty much slam the door shut on a lot of my big 2019 ambitions to get me to make that adjustment.
So, here’s the thing about divination in general, but especially this kind of divination: a lot of people fall into one of two groups, and it’s pretty important to be honest with yourself about which one you are and how this has played out for you in your life.
The first group looks at the forces of the universe as being really in control – divination is a way to anticipate things coming your way, but you’re just a boat in a storm for the most part, and your ability to get through things is a matter of fate or divine intention or whatever.
And the second group looks at themselves as being the most in control – that your choices, your energies, your intentions are what manifests things in your life and so if there’s something difficult coming your way it’s the result of what you’ve chosen or what you’ve attracted.
And I’m going to challenge both sides here because both are partially true. We all were impacted one way or another by the pandemic this year, regardless of what we manifested for ourselves. The virus itself isn’t something any one of us brought on globally via our individual choices or actions. It was a much larger force to which we could only react as individuals. But how we adapted on an energetic and emotional level, the approach we took to the experience, that’s all on us and it made a huge difference in how we’re emerging on the other side of it.
Our lives are a blend of personal manifestation and external unchangable forces.Tweet
And energetically speaking, things do tend to happen in cycles for us. Knowing that these things are cyclical, that it’s just part of our energetic life experience that we’re going to face years in which we’re going to learn deep lessons about ourselves, years where we’ll find ourselves rapidly making progress, years where our friends and family will be most important, years where we’ll feel restricted and unable to make a lot of progress – knowing that gives us the ability to energetically prepare ourselves each year to experience 12 months of growth instead of 12 months of anger and frustration.
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I’m gonna get into a bit of numerology here. Now, I’m not a numerology expert, one of my siblings is the numerologist of the framily, but this is simple enough that it won’t take an expert to cover.
So, this year was a 7 year for me, which like I said meant that I knew going in that it was going to be inwardly, spiritually focused. And even though I had no idea how that was going to play out, I went into the year basically not making big definite plans for things to achieve, not focused on what kinds of success I was going to have, and instead having some – not goals so much – but having some intentions in mind as far as wanting to do more writing, do more reading, do more journaling and meditation and that kind of thing. So staying home, being able to stay home and clear a lot of obligations from my schedule, making time for working on myself and my spiritual life, I was ready for that. It was like, “Yeah, okay, this is right in line with where I’m supposed to be this year.”
Now, if I look back nine years to 2011, the circumstances were different, I wasn’t clued into the numerology then, but that was the year I spent training for a marathon as a way to work through some internal self-development stuff, as a deeply spiritual project.
Nine years before that, 2002, that was the year I lost my job – my career, actually – and spent about half the year unemployed, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be going forward.
It’s a cycle, a 9 year cycle, and those were all 7 years for me. I can’t look at that cycle and say every nine years I’m going to have crazy traumatic upheaval in my life – some of those years are really good. 2011 I got a promotion, actually. But those years are going to push me to do some serious shadow work, some deep self examination, and I can be ready for it.
Now I know I’m headed into an 8 year, so I’m ready for a big energetic shift into motion. I’ll be ready for ideas to pan out, for projects to come together, to be recognized for accomplishments. I can see the same cycle in my life on the 8 years. 2012 I made some major career accomplishments, won some awards, got married. 2003 I established myself in my new job, resolved a major health issue. 1994 I graduated valedictorian, had a great start to my college career. Big life shifts happen in 8 years. I don’t know what that will ultimately look like for 2021, but there’s a difference in approach to a year when you expect it to push you to focus inward than when you expect it to bring external opportunities.
So how do you figure out what your year number is and what that means for the coming year?
Well, it’s pretty simple. You add the digits of your birth month and day and the digits of whatever year you’re looking at, and add them together, and reduce until you get a single digit. So let’s say you were born on the first of August, and you want to know what your year number will be for 2021. So that’s 1 plus 8 plus 2 plus 0 plus 2 plus 1.
Suddenly I’m having flashbacks to the movie Clue.
Anyway, that adds up to 14, so 1 plus 4 is 5. 2021 would be a 5 year for you.
Now, if you’re a numbers person – I’m a numbers person – you might already notice that all of this comes down to the year number and what it reduces to. That defines the cycle. Your birth month and day never change, right?
So, for instance, 2020 is a four year in a larger, global sense – that’s what four years are about. It brought restrictive energies into everyone’s lives. But depending on what your birthday number reduces to, that energy will manifest in your life in a different way.
For me, any time the year number reduces to four, my number will be a seven because my birthday reduces to three. So that means restrictive energies for me are going to be a perfect opportunity to spend time on myself and my spirituality. For other people, restrictive four year energies will be a perfect time to change direction and start something new in life. For others those years will push them to lean on family and friends. Or give them the push to innovate and be creative.
So for a download today, I’ve basically made a numerological guide to 2021. All you have to do is add your birth month and day and reduce it down, and it’ll tell you what that means for you in the coming year. And the second page, if you print it out, has spaces to consider how this played out in the cycle in your past – in 2012, 2003, 1994, 1985.
So I hope this gives you some hope, some grasp of how you can go into 2021 with a sense of direction, even though we don’t know specifically what’s on the horizon. And trust me, this is way more helpful than whatever resolution you might be tempted to make.
Thank you so much for listening. New episodes of the Waxing Soul drop every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are copyright Bridget Owens. Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily for riding with me into season two. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.