As birthdays are a time to celebrate an individual, I’d like to write about my father, whose birthday is coming up on June 4 – a day I always honor and remember. He passed in 2001 at 79 years of age after twenty years of heart problems (two bypasses, carotid artery surgery on both sides, a pacemaker and multiple hospital stays). His leaving was a blessing and relief for him. He had been in hospital with the threat of death so often in the last five years of his life, we had prepared and grieved so when it happened, we all – including him – had been through the worst.

He was a wonderful man, a loving husband, brother and son, and incredible father. He taught me how to be a good human being. He was compassionate, kind, and generous with a wicked dry wit. He would often say something hilariously funny as if it was just part of conversation. If you didn’t catch it, he wouldn’t point it up or repeat it. Most of the time, I would either laugh out loud when no one else heard him (or got it) or we would just smile at each other across the room. The first time we saw a Monty Python episode, he and I laughed our heads off while my brother and mother just didn’t get it.

There is a group meditation I offered when I was teaching in Los Angeles called the Gandarvas Meditation. In it, everyone takes a few minutes to bring to mind a moment when they experienced unconditional love. Using every one of the senses to recall that moment, we express it together with a long, pronounced “ahhhhh”. We “ahhhhh” for up to twenty or thirty minutes and the vibration of unconditional love changes the energy and vibration in the room and everyone in it. It is a tremendous experience. The moment I use, and it never grows old, is one with my father.

When I was younger, my father would wake me every morning for school. For the Gandarvas, I recalled a specific day in winter in Detroit. It was very dark, cold and quiet inside and out. My father would wake first, come into my room and tell me it was time to get up. I would stick my hand out from under the covers with the fingers spread wide letting that represent “five more minutes, please” without having to say anything. He would always kiss the palm of my hand before he left to come back in five minutes. I can easily and clearly recall the warmth of this lips, the coarseness of his mustache and beard and the smell of his sleep-heavy after-shave from the day before. We never said anything. We didn’t need to. That was a moment of perfect unconditional love from him, every morning. Recalling that moment always allowed me to express unconditional love in the deepest way.

A friend of mine once called him a Zen Master (without knowing it) because animals loved him without him having to do anything. He and my mother would always feed the birds in their backyard. Because he was such a gentle soul, wild birds would gather round him, every once in a while landing on his outstretched palm. Because he just was.

Although he never got into anything metaphysical, his animal spirit was Bear. He was a member of the Polar Bear Club, diving into freezing cold water in winter and loving it. When he came out of the water, he usually looked more like a walrus than a bear, but Bear it was (not necessarily Polar Bear, more like Brown Bear). And Bear is one of my protectors and advisers. After he passed and took about a year to recover from twenty years of health issues while on the other side, he came back to be one of my guides. He works with me every day. I keep a special Bear Totem on my desk in his honor.

So, here’s to my father, a good and gentle man. The best man I’ve ever known. He would be 96 on June 4th. He had a good life. He had a good death. He has a good After-Life. And he is remembered with so much love and gratitude…


Here’s the latest post from Master Astrologer and Keeper of Ancient Knowledge, Gahl Sasson on the meaning of our astrological birthdays.

Your birthday is an astrological phenomenon. Like Christmas (Winter Solstice), Passover, and Easter (Spring Equinox) or Ramadan, Chinese New Year and many other festivities. In fact, your birthday, your Sun conjunction, is a tough day, it is a harsh transit of the Sun over your natal Sun. What this means is that your birthday is the only day that you have two Suns shining on you at the same time. It can get very hot, scorching Sahara style hot, burning emotionally and physically. Two mega spot lights shining everything you want to hide.

When two planets conjunct, it is said that one of the planets serves as the sign it rules. So in the case of the double Sun birthday bonanza, as the Sun is the ruler of Leo, on your birthday, you become a Leo for one day. To quote Bowie: “You can be hero, just for one day.”

What does it mean to be a Leo for one day? Well, if you are a Leo, it is not a big deal except that you have to remember that if you are born during the passage of the Sun in Leo, on your birthday, you have a triple Sun burning you. If you are not a Leo, it means that on your birthday, you want to be treated like a King or a Queen. You want to be noticed, to be in the center of attention, to be childlike, to sit on a throne and receive many gifts and blessings. Wow and behold, those are precisely many of the birthday rituals adopted over the years around the globe. We expect people to remember our birthday, we hope for gifts and attention, surprise parties, homages and blessings. We want to feel high as in “your highness.”

If you dread your birthday, thinking it is a day that makes you one year older, you are wrong. You might feel miserable on your birthday not because you are one year older but because you experience the passage of the Sun over your natal Sun and you don’t know it. Your birthday (your personal New Year’s) is not an easy day, so give yourself a gift. Give yourself a break. Don’t make your birthday a test of your popularity, an indication of how much your family loves you. Remember in winter it is cold, in summer it is hot and your birthdays can be tough.

On the other hand, your birthday is a Sun Return it is not your Saturn Return (ages 27-31; 56-60) that is far longer and more difficult. Your birthday can actually be a really good day. If you know that you need to be a Leo for one day, a hero for 24 hours, do what Leo’s do: get into the role, flow into the character. You don’t have to be demanding or controlling, but you can be bigger, louder, and more entertaining than your usual self. Don’t celebrate your special birth day alone, try to do something special, creative and regal. It is your golden day, your day of glory.

In addition, try to do things on your birthday that you wish to do the rest of the year. It can be another personal New Year’s Resolution from one birthday to the next.

I am not sure why I decided to write this post today, four days before the Full Moon in Sagittarius. Maybe there are some Taurus or Geminis that need to be reminded of this. Maybe you can keep this post for when your birthday comes and read it before. In that case, happy birthday!

I offer this with love and gratitude…

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