'Tis the Season
I am one of those who do not celebrate Christmas, who do not go to church, who do not participate in office parties and revelries of the season. Each year I dread the onslaught of commodified craziness that passes for the holidays. I refuse to go to the Mall; the frenzy makes me angry and frustrated. As a woman who walks a different spiritual path, I often feel more than a little out of place at work during this time of year.
When the inevitable global email call came for Secret Santa, decorating volunteers, and such, I quietly deleted it and went on working. When one of my co-workers appeared at my desk, urging me to hurry to the name drawing for Secret Santa, I squirmed and stuttered. Having been forced from one job years ago because of my religious difference from the norm, I am not eager to call attention to myself during this time of year.
The other part of me, the central core, the part of me that sings joy at my difference, wants to honor that which gives my life purpose and meaning, that which is my source. The Orishas, the Corn Mother, Mother Goddesses of my ancestors have whispered in my ear since I was a little girl. As many Christians take for granted that everyone is just like them and assume that caroling, Christmas trees, gifts, and the foundation of Christ as Savior is how everyone moves through the world, or should, I am surrounded by them and am often a solitary practitioner of a spirituality that finds spirit in the very rocks beneath my feet.
As the other people in my office decorate their spaces with Santas, angels, elves, and the like, I'm thinking of how I can bring the spirit of this season and what it means to me into my office space without becoming a target of intolerance.
Foraging about in Michael's and thinking about the meaning of Solstice and how it fits in with my spiritual path, a different kind of Santa Claus figure caught my eye. He held a staff, a bird's nest, and wore long robes. Oh, how did he make it onto the shelves without a bag of toys, and no red suit? His long white beard got me thinking about the color white--old man, white hair, white robes...Obatala. Obatala is the Orisha who rules the head with a cool nature, even handedness and justice. Luisah Teish describes Obatala:
"...the adrogynous sky-god...the supreme deity of the Yoruba pantheon...envisioned as an ancient wo/man dressed in luminous white cloth and having lustrous white hair. It is Obatala who shapes the child in the womb...most benevolent, most wise, and infinitely powerful...judge and keeper of the peace...Obatala can be both forgiving and vengeful; brilliant and retarded; perfect and deformed..."
Why not then ask for the presence of this Orisha during this time of year. All around are the signs of Obatala--the color of white in the snow, the winter clouds, the frost on the trees and ground. Santa himself echoes Obatala's presence--the old man bent over his staff, long white hair and beard flowing, his kindness evident in the sparrows sitting on his shoulder and the tiny birds' eggs held in the nest cradled in his arm. Here then is what I am listening for this season--to learn of Obatala and how this Orisha can teach me to be in this world that I am so at odds with most of the time.
I'm still not quite sure what to do about my space at work. I may decide not to decorate it at all and just remain the "weird" one. It won't be the first time or the last. I'm ok with that.
http://osunsdrum.blogspot.com/ Don’t mind the destination, don’t mind the end. Learn from the past, but grab hold of now. Now is always evolving. ~Rumi