It’s a quiet evening at home, we just finished dinner and it’s getting dark.
I call Maryla and ask about the story of the placenta. She looks surprise and she says: ” Really? Do you want to know the story? ” I say “of course I do” and she replies ” Ok ok , but maybe you will not believe this story, western people do not believe our ghost stories “.
I tell her it is not important whether we believe them or not but I am very glad to hear them. Folk stories are part of every culture, it is a pleasure and an honor knowing them. Maryla replies “Yes yes.. but usually Baran do not believe them, even though you seem to be one who believes in these stories. ” I Nod and I sit next to her, I’m very curious.
Maryla begins the story, she has a serious expression on her face and she’s a little worried .. She speaks quickly and her voice is full of passion and excitement.
“In the villages there is a woman, in the day time she goes to the market, makes food, she takes care of the family, she does the housework and everything else, she’s a normal lady.
In the night, when it gets really dark she becomes a ghost : part of his body, the shape, the exterior part of her body, made of bones and skin lye on the bed, asleep; while all the internal organs, the head and her neck rise from the body and begin to fluctuate.”
Maryla describes the appearance of this woman with a disgusted face. She lists all the organs of which she is composed and how they float in the air once night falls.
” This ghost, like all ghosts, can fly and no one is able to catch her. The ghost woman wanders in the villages, she eats placenta, chicks, and occasionally she drinks blood. Consequently, families have to be very careful and bury the placenta very very deeply into the soil .
If the ghost eats the placenta of a little girl, at menarche she will become a ghost woman as well. If the ghost woman eats the placenta, which belongs to a baby boy, the child himself and even his mother will have very serious problems, they may even die indeed.
Some people in the village can see this ghost, but they can not say anything or try to stop her, otherwise the woman ghost in the night will takes revenge and there will be no way to stop her.”
Maryla tells me that everyone in Cambodia know about this phantom woman. She remember of my admiration for the placenta and we both conclude that the placenta must have a special place in society and also in the un-seen world.
I told her that the placenta is an amazing, unique organ. It grows with the child, even before its development so it can begin its important work to provide nourishment as soon as possible . It’s the direct physical link between mother and child, the placenta and the baby grow together, harmoniously intertwined and connected in the womb. For 10 moons it is a trusted partner of the child.
At birth, the placenta if the cord is not cut, it maintains its connection with the womb as long as possible, and continue to sustain life until the child has not arrived on the earth and he is comfortable and stabilized in the new world. Only then it will give up its hold on the mother and leaves the womb.
Is has a powerful role during the intrauterine life of the foetus, that’s why, in many cultures it is considered a sacred organ .
FOETAL SIDE OF A Succenturiate lobe Placenta, Cambodia 2013
Many people held ceremonies to honour the placenta: Someone consider the placenta the twin of the child and his spirit, in other cultures it is seen as the elder brother of the child; some other people assume that placenta is the guardian spirit or the guardian angel of the child. The ancient Egyptians believed in the duality of souls – one soul inhabited the body, the other the placenta.The placenta also had its own hieroglyph, which looked like a cross section of a human placenta.
Even the burial place of the placenta is important in many cultures. The placenta should be stored in a safe place and hidden from evil spirits to protect the newborn; some families bury the placenta in the family yard to make sure that the child will always be able to return home.
Every year somehow we honour our placenta lighting candles on our birthday cake. The word Placenta in Latin has the meaning of ” focaccia ” , The placenta itself has a shape similar of a pie.
The placenta had a place of honour in our entire history. Maybe we should recognise the wisdom of the ancients. The placenta is not only an organic waste and sometimes in the excitement and joy for the birth of the child it is ignored.
Some people believe that much of the discontent of our culture and our desire to accumulate goods, derives from the traumatic loss of our first possession : our placenta. I believe that a ritual in honour of the placenta is due.
Pincha’s Lotus birth, Malaysia, 2013
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it must come from the heart. I simply look at the placenta and silently thank her for her role in bringing the child into the light of the Earth. I often say a prayer or give the placenta a gift like a flower; sometimes I light a candle or incense, sometimes I make placenta print and I keep it as a special reminder of the birth.
PLACENTA TREE PRINT, CAMBODIA, 2014
Another idea of ritual would be to bury the placenta and plant a tree in the same spot . The family will be able to see the tree and the baby grow together, again, as in the womb. Here is a link to buy a special seed, perhaps you can start to grow the seed during pregnancy and after birth plant it together with the placenta in a significant place.
The placenta can be dried and grounded, and you can scattered granules in the wind. Someone also make some remedies with dried placenta. The umbilical cord can be woven into a heart or dreamcatcher and then let it dry and keep it for all your life as a memory of our intrauterine life . Here more and more information about Placenta placentanetwork.com
Our body is perfectly wonderful and magical ; I consider every ritual a moment to honour and thank the nature and its perfection.
INSPIRING BOOKS ABOUT PLACENTA :