Family holiday dinner. Photo credit: Nicole Michalou

Look to the cosmos to transform your holiday season

Around this time of the year, we can get lost in the superficial aspects of the holiday season. Tap into your ancestors for truth, traditions and transformation.

Every year, those of us who know about the atrocities around the Thanksgiving celebration, often grasp for what to do. We all know Santa Claus is not found in the bible, and often seek more accurate interpretations. It is the yearly question that gets answered in a number of ways. Most times, we acknowledge it, but do little to nothing about it. 

In truth, we know of the ills of Thanksgiving. As a Black man, I am well aware of the histories of trauma and genocide in the Americas all to well. But when we look at these holidays, they are placed in an astrological way that is significant. We must re-examine why that is because this Thanksgiving occurs right after the new moon, which is on the 23rd of this month.

We often see these holidays from a European perspective, but when you look at these observances through the worldview of your ancestors then it is about cosmology . . . or as above and so below.

It ain’t got nothing to do with a Pilgrim or in the coming month, Santa. Those are spiritual distractions. For me, it’s not about the pageantry of the day, but let’s look at the cosmos and what the ancients did. We know this, now we need to fill in the meaning with our ancestral rituals this Thanksgiving. That’s a new way to look at it.

If you trace back to what our people did during this time of the year, you will see that our people looked at the cosmos rather than what man told us what was considered a sacred day or not. It is no mere coincidence that these holidays occur during significant celestial events.

The new moon signifies the beginning of a new cycle. This is the time for you to set your intentions and prepare spiritually for the future, but you’ve gotta be still and be quiet.

Look at the farmers, their livelihood is based on the seasons. This time of the year, they are harvesting the last of their fall crops as only a few crops grow in comparison to the summer. Most of their harvests are apples, pears, nuts, beans, squash, peas, and in some places those sturdy muscadine grapes.  A good portion of the crops are root vegetables and leafy, hearty greens like cabbage, mustards, turnips, collards and kale—produce you can put away for soups and stews. Being that, they are storing food for the winter and beginning the time to rest and retreat. During the winter months, those soups and stews nourish the body, but are often easily digested in this time of restoration.

You can also study the animals. Right now they are beginning to hibernate for the cold winter months. That says something. They even have restorative rituals. Where’s yours? 

If you want to be serious, ask for your two weeks vacation from your job this time of year. Find a cabin or somewhere to chill so that you can go inside and retreat. Or create that silent oasis in your house. Turn off phones, play meditation music, jazz, gospel. It is so important to cut off work and the stresses of the everyday grind and be with your loved ones. Yet, it is imperative to be intentional about planning.

Family gathering. Photo credit: Rajiv Perera

Indeed, this is the time to be thankful; for our families, for what we’ve accomplished, and who we are, in spite of all the battles we face. Plus, this gives us time to be with our family and dearest friends. For some, this is the only time they can vacation or get paid time off from work. That’s capitalism for you, but no need to get caught up into that, use the moment like our ancestors did, with profound purpose.

So while we are with our family, after we get through eating and playing cards, let’s make plans. Do we have life insurance? Do we have wills? Do we have lands? Do we have trusts? Do we have plans for our children’s education or possible career paths? What are we doing about those who are getting older? Do we have a healthcare agenda in place? Are we investing collectively? Answer these questions over the next day or two with your family. That should be your Thanksgiving and your Black Friday.

For past five years or so, people often talk about generational wealth, but lack a holistic, practical plan to keep their generations thriving through all of these changes. There is a bigger difference between posterity and prosperity. We must understand that. When I speak about posterity, I really am speaking for my prosperity.

Every year, Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around in warp speed. By the time we get to the New Year celebrations, most of us are low on cash from the holiday spending and bellyaching from the decadent food. Discreetly, we eat our black-eyed peas and leafy greens for good fortune and luck. We need to switch in understanding the significance of the New Year. 

January, and in particular, the New Year carries the symbol of Janus, a Roman mythical entity that has two heads: a face looking forward and the other looking back. Janus represents in Roman times, the gateway, the doors and transitions. Looking back or at your past, Janus tells you, where you come from. Looking ahead, it indicates where you need to go. This is similar to the West African Akan symbol of the Sankofa bird looking back. In other words, looking to the ancestors, to history, in order to guide the future.

In other words, the New Year is when you simultaneously reflect and project. But don’t wait until January 1. The rebirth can start during this Thanksgiving by expressing gratitude to our ancestors for being here in this global transition.

A. Todd Jackson, also known as Baba Todd is an ordained minister in the A.M.E. Faith and an Ifa priest

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