Holy Oil and Coconut Oil

I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious.  I have a deep appreciation for the grace and beauty of the world around us, and I have faith that a higher power is present in my everyday. Still, it is important to me that I give my kids a foundation upon which they can build a religious life of their own.  I respect the traditions of my Christian ancestors, and I want my children to feel tied to their roots.  With all that in mind, Chris and I very happily baptized Vivian last weekend in the same church we were married in nearly six years ago.

Vivian was quite calm during the ceremony. I will forever remember the peaceful and curious look in her eyes as the holy water was poured on her head.  Her sparse red hair shined with the holy oil.  In my eyes, she radiated peace and gratitude.

However, ever since that most special occasion I have been overcome with nausea.  I told Chris that I haven’t felt this sick since the early days of my pregnancy a year ago!  I very quickly isolated the problem: the scent of the holy oil on my little girl’s head.  I have very little tolerance for fragrance of any sort, and apparently the perfumey balsam in the oil was too much for me.  Despite a good dose of Catholic guilt, I asked Chris to wash her hair.  And he did. Twice. And the scent remained.

This morning as I nursed her I was again overcome with nausea.  I washed her baby hair twice with soap and once with shampoo.  The scent – and my nausea – remained.  By this evening I was nearly overcome with my symptoms, but I didn’t want to use any more harsh products on her sensitive skin.

I turned to a simple and all-natural solution: coconut oil.  She smiled at me as I rubbed the oil into her hair in the same way the priest anointed her head the day before.  In a small way, I felt like I was baptizing her with the blessing of Mother Nature.  I wasn’t washing away religion – I was gently layering on the earthy side of our family’s spirituality.  After I wiped away the coconut oil, my nausea ceased and I happily kissed the top of her tiny head.  It was a truly blessed moment, and I felt God-Mother smiling down upon us.

It seems like there isn’t much room for spirituality in our hurried and frazzled and hectic world.  I will gratefully accept any opportunity to connect my children to the Earth and God…even if it involves coconut oil!

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8 Comments for this entry

  1. Laurel Guiliano says:

    We moved right after my daughter’s baptism. Driving from South Dakota to Ohio smelling that holy oil. I swear she smelled like it for weeks! I’m sure it soaked in good into her car seat during our 20 hour drive! Fortunately it did not make me nauseated! Good ol’ coconut oil to the rescue for you!

  2. Amanda says:

    I love the smell of chrism oil. I wish my son would have smelled like it forever. It is rather strong so I would probably feel different if it made me sick.

  3. Shannon says:

    Didn’t you and your husband go to Notre Dame? Why would you have your child baptized if you don’t intend for the child to be raised Catholic?

  4. katie says:

    this is so sweet 🙂 what’s your favorite brand of coconut oil and where do you buy it?

    • Maureen says:

      I use the organic coconut oil from Trader Joe’s. PS I use it on the griddle when I make pancakes and the results are always awesome!! 🙂

  5. Andrea says:

    Holy moly, Vivian looks exactly like Evie in the 2nd pic from the bottom!

  6. What a bummer that the chrism made you sick! I actually loved the smell of it on both our boys – I didn’t bathe them for days afterwards because I loved soaking up how sweet and sacred and earthy the pine smell was. But I definitely sympathize with the power of fragrance – ever since I started cutting it out of household products & toiletries that we use, I have become much more sensitive to it.

  7. holly says:

    I came upon this and i was so excited to hear about another vivian. My husband and feel the same as you and thats why we baptised our daughter, vivyan, this past weekend as well. Although raised Catholic i find more spirituality in nature as well. We wanted to give her a good foundation too.

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