Nerds have all kinds of interests from the physics nerds of The Big Bang Theory to astrology nerds like yours truly. I’ve been thinking about the zodiac sign that best describes the tooth fairy when I could have instead been having productive thoughts such as how to promote world peace, how to thaw the ice on my sidewalk or whether a coupon-tracking app has any potential for success.
Why do we have a ritual and myth around children losing teeth?
Teeth (and bones and skin) are ruled by Saturn. They are the hardest, toughest parts of your body. The skin provides a boundary between your nerves and the world – it keeps you inside of you. The bones provide the structure of your body. Your teeth allow you to process food, the stuff of life. Anything entering your body must pass the choppy grinder of the teeth.
If you lost a finger, how would you feel?
Losing teeth is losing a part of the body. We forget that it’s a scary process, to lose a part of one’s body. Possibly that is why there is a tooth fairy and not a “nail fairy” or “hair fairy” as we lose nails and hair all the time but neither is an appendage and neither creates fear (unless we lose all of our nails and hair due to illness or cancer treatment).
The Tooth Fairy is a Capricorn
The tooth fairy, then, is a Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn. Saturn is also father time and breeds mature individuals who take a very serious view of material life.
Losing teeth and gaining new ones also indicates that we are maturing. Maturing is part of getting older. The new teeth are the ones you will have for the rest of your earthly existence. Your baby teeth are gone and your adult teeth have arrived. If you’re buried in the earth after death, your bones and teeth may stick around for quite a while depending on the climate.
Why does the tooth fairy bring money?
How does money help us relieve the anxiety of losing a body part and transitioning into maturity?
Clearly the tooth fairy is an agent of the insurance industry!
Using money to relieve the anxiety of losing a body part and maturing says a lot about the cultures that created this “myth.” Money does not truly help us move emotionally from childhood to adulthood.
The tooth fairy is not on par with the “gods” of ancient mythology. She is not releasing the energies of our psyches into imaginative form. The tooth fairy is, instead, a messenger of the consumer world indicating that money is a salve and comforts us in the face of old age and death.
Why is the tooth fairy a “she” instead of a “he?”
Dwelling this snowy day on the tooth fairy, I think we have made a mythological misstep. The tooth fairy should have been the “Tooth Senex” or “Tooth Grandfather” who reminds us that losing teeth is part of maturing and that our body is our vehicle through the whole of life. As children we lose our teeth; as adults, other body parts may fail.
“Tooth Grandfather” would not leave money, but would teach us that we have made the great journey from the fog of childhood onto the conscious path of adulthood and the rest of our lives. Tooth Grandfather would explain how important it is to take care of our body, the only body we will have for the rest of our lives. Our teeth replaced themselves, but this will not happen again with our teeth or any other body part.
And what would Tooth Grandfather lay under the pillow when he took away the tooth?
The best gift would be dental floss. A 2008 survey found that only 49% of Americans floss daily and 10% never floss at all.
If those teeth are traveling with us from childhood until the great beyond, we really should take care of them.
The Tooth Grandfather’s message could be that our teeth, like our adult lives, are our responsibility. Santa Claus may bring you gifts, but he can’t bring you a replacement body part.
Tooth Grandfather could bring the floss of responsibility into your life.