Upon returning from a trip to The Hill country of Austin, I sat conversing with an associate about The Orisha community and some sterotypes about the religion slipped from her lips. I choked back several throat chopping corrections, me being an Aborisha and all. My Madrinas words ringing in the back of My mind were the only thing that kept me from tongue thrashing the life from her. I managed to keep my composure and my mouth closed as I stirred the conversation to our recent trip. I recalled how we camped under the stars and I washed in the middle of the park under the glow of the moon with a tingly minty natural soap I made, with the forest floor as my backdrop. She looked at me with puzzlement in her eyes as I told her how we hiked to the Lower Falls where I submerged myself and purged my mind and body to prepare for the coming week. She remarked that she could never sleep outside on the ground, and that she needed fresh running water and cool crisp air. I described how I collected stones, rocks, and feathers to wrap and or turn into tools used for spiritual purposes, or to add to my alters and she shook her head in disbelief. I was taken aback with her naivetè that I could accomplish such feats, and her disbelief that “Our people didnt do such things”. The whole comversation just oozed of clichés. Hearing this description of my trip many would form a picture in their mind just like she did that just doesn’t exist. Let me explain… I am A fluffy 200 pound African American, Loc wearing, Gypsy, Hippy of a woman. I dont fit the mold one might expect when they get a visual of me. I have often been told when asking family, friends, or associates to accompany me on one of my excurtions that ” Black folks dont do that type of thing” and I am left wondering …we dont?? See I have never fit into anyones box of sterotyoes, and I most assurdly dont fit neatly into the mold that society has haphazardly assigned to me. I have fabulously overflowed over their neatly drawn lines and created my own disruptive category as A Fluffy Brown Gyhipsy. I have The Spirit of a Gypsy and The Soul of a Hippy. When most people meet me they assume that I am either really crazy or that I must be a flux. A child of supreme luck birthed from misfourtune..That I am a rarity and none like me exist. When that ideal is so far from the truth. Here’s a thought that may take some getting used to…. Fluffy people can be active in life to. I enjoy hiking, mountain climbing, swimming, and pretty much any outdoor activity that doesn’t involve inflicting pain upon myself.
Heres another mind shattering blow… Me being black doesnt mean I know the locale soul food dives, I am actually not a fan of soul food. I mean I enjoy the occasional pan of mac and cheese and fried chicken with corn bread smothered in butter and yams, and trust me there isn’t anything wrong with it. But me and many others, we dont eat that way on a normal basis. I actually eat pretty well, and try to eat vegetarian 50% of the time. Trust me it’s a struggle being a lifetime Meat Addict! Another life truth for me is that I utterly despise having to be tied anywhere for to long. I am such a nature loving, tree hugging, natural, sustainable minded woman who is into pan africanism as I trek across different parts of the states. I detest the thought of having “roots” anywhere for to long. See I told you I was completely normal. So whats the point of this article right, and what does it have to do with making insulting statements about The Orisha Community? Well the point is to challange everyone to step out of the box in the way we view ourselves and others lives, faith, spirituality, and practices. We have to realize that many of us dont fit into the molds that mainstream society places us into, and that the same holds true even more so in the pagan community. My truth isn’t and never will be anyone else’s. My spiritual practice is mine and mine alone to walk. It may include initation, it may not. I may partake in a year and a day, and I may decide that thats not for me. Others may call me a Priestess, and others may refer to me as a Shaman and everyone could be completely correct, or wrong depending on my views of self. The same way that society divides us with sterotypes and labels we have to be careful that we don’t inflict the same on each other in the community. Come out to a drumming
by the river for the Orisha, attend a Sabbott, or walk in the woods collectimg herbs with a solitary practicionar. Whatever you do, do it with an open mind and heart as you expose yourself to another aspect outside of what you know to be true. So I am going to return to my river wafting adventures and hope that some of you will one day join me and we can discuss my love of tree humping! Until then Peace & Love