Saturday, July 30, 2016

Finding Oski at the Thrift Shop

It always seems that certain items find us when we will most benefit from their significance, rather than the reverse being true ("A watched pot never boils"?). I remember once when my husband, Jorge, was going through a rough patch and was questioning his path in life. He stopped by the Salvation Army and the first thing he saw was a Ganesha statue. Ganesha is of course a Hindu deity, but in Santería (at least in our rama) he corresponds to Orula, orisha of wisdom and divination. The synchronicity of that moment had a powerful impact on Jorge, and that statue sits to this day on a high spot on a bookcase alongside our soperitas de Orula. It was the first and last time we've ever seen such a figurine in any local thrift shop.

I had a similar experience yesterday.

Jorge was heading off to the market nearby to pick up a few things, and I decided to ride along with him and our youngest child. As we pulled in to the parking lot, Gabriel became very vocal about wanting to go to Good Will (he loves examining the toy area!). I hadn't planned to do that, but while Jorge went to the market, I took Gabriel to the thrift shop. He walked over to the books and started to pull some out and comment on their positive qualities (very sweet, as he knows that the book section of any store is one of my favorite places). Then we ambled over to the "stuff section" - you know, the shelves of knick-knacks that can be a lot of fun to sort through. The first thing I saw was a model of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which my oldest daughter loves and has been talking about lately - so that was obviously coming home. And the second thing I saw was a statue of what was clearly, to me, Oski, Gift-Giver.
Now I'm aware that this is surely meant to be a Santa/Father Christmas figure, what with the beard, evergreen tree, and wrapped gift (and I suppose that we could spend some time discussing the various ways in which Odin has influenced the mythology surrounding Santa), but I didn't see Santa - I saw, felt, Oski there, wrapped in white robes, and hooded like Grímnir. I added him to the lighthouse in my arms, and took him on home.

Odin Allfather has many, many names that highlight the various aspects of his being and character. One of those names is Oski, and oftentimes this aspect is depicted as a Father Chistmas-type man, as the essence of Oski is that of gift-giver, wish-fulfiller, desire-satisfier. He asks us to request what we need, to diligently work to invite those things into our lives, and to be willing to open ourselves to the various manifestations of help and support that show up.
Oski on Odin's altar space
What could be inside the box that Oski is holding? There is much mystery there. Whether or not we know or are able to explicitly identify what Oski brings us is less important than the core teaching that connects to our ability to recognize, embrace, and be grateful for the positive developments, people, and opportunities that present themselves to us along our paths. This is a theme that has been in the forefront of my mind and heart quite a lot lately, and so I see Oski's figurine as symbolic (and perfectly timely) affirmation underscoring this experience - that is a beautiful thing!


  1. And sometimes a gift can be very unwelcome, scary or sad and only in hindsight we realize what a wonderful gift it was.:)

    1. Absolutely. Yesterday I was pondering the texture and fabric of our lives - how in retrospect, the struggles we experienced contributed to the eventual blessings - that without the hard part, there may never have been the very good! :)