Around a path, a road, in the middle of a forest, or in the city stands a tree. It seems to be looking at us; it is tall, majestic or perhaps still young.
Depending the season, its leaves are green, yellow or red. Or it completely bare in the winter cold. But it is still a refuge for the insects, and the birds, and its roots are still beneficial for the soil. Sometimes it grows freely, sometimes it is mutilated. Whose soul does it shelter? Is it the double of someone, or a protector? In countries where most of the babies are born in the hospital, people don’t know the customs anymore. But when a baby is born in his own sweet home, then as now, the family keeps his placenta and his umbilical cord.
These are put on the ground, at the foot of this tree, or inside the tree, or thrown into the sea so that the child will become a good fisherman. The placenta and certain herbs are put into a new jar under the house to avoid evil spirits. These « twins, siblings » of the newborn, buried near the home or on a battlefield, are supposed to follow the child for a long time and to give him the good skills he or she will need to become a good housewife or a brave warrior.
The placenta and the umbilical cord are special physical substances. People used to believe that a part of a child’s spirit stays inside them. That is why it was so important to respect the rituals that concern them, according the traditions of different people.
And why wouldn’t our good or bad luck hidden at the foot of a tree? And if our health really depended on these substances? Peruvian Indians, and people from Sumatra, gave anumbilical cord to a sick child to suck. Today, some people still believe that the blood of the umbilical cord and the placenta can be used medicinally. Isotheraphy is the science that uses the placenta and the cord, in homeopathic doses, as well as encapsulation. Isotherapy has its champions and its skeptics. In some countries, women who have just given birth in a hospital are allowed to keep the placenta; in some others, this is not the case. In some countries, the placenta is used to make cosmetics, while in some others, this is forbidden, and synthetic placenta is used instead. Depending on their taste, and like many female mammals, some women cook their placenta or eat it raw. When will a new recipe appear, as for Baganda beer?
Gardens are a part of our life continuum. Whether big or small, placentas and umbilical cords at the foot of the trees in the garde are well sheltered in the nourishing earth. Whether true or false, they continue to be a part of our destiny.
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