Babci is the 7th Born

by Sandy L on February 16, 2011

I was talking on the phone to Babci yesterday and I thought I was due for another post about her. Babci’s fan club gets a little antsy if I haven’t written about her in a while. She is doing well. She actually kicked off a renovation of my aunts bathroom at the same time as I’m renovating hers. She misses her grand kids, but it’s been a good winter to have her in Poland. The weather’s been brutal here and much milder there, so perhaps this will turn into an annual event.  I don’t get to see her nearly enough during the week and in the winter she has no garden to occupy her time, so she goes a little stir crazy. I can always tell because she’ll find a reason to call me 26 times in a day looking to talk.

Anyway,  today I’m going to write about some of her old world beliefs regarding the topic of karma, folklore, and god.

God

Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães, Mire de Tibães (Portugal)

Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian's

Babci has always been a devout Catholic.  She prays on a regular basis and usually asks God watch over her family.  She believes that because of the amount of suffering she endured growing up in poverty, during world war 2 and then having to deal with years of  an abusive marriage, that this has given her a direct line to god and all the dead people in heaven that she knows. Everyone knows that what turns a good catholic a great one is suffering and guilt.  I know that whenever she prays really passionately about something, it usually comes to pass. The last big event was when she was selling her rental apartment during the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  She prayed for a quick sale and we had an offer in 5 days and closed less than a month later.  Some would say we just priced it right, but in a town who’s average 3-decker was on the market for 370 days, I still think I’ve got to give God a little shout out for that one.  In fact, we had a whole prayer hot line going.  We also called my mom’s twin sister and she was praying too. Interestingly enough, here in the states, you usually bury St. Joseph in your yard, but over there they were praying to a completely different saint..sorry I forgot the name now.  I’ll be honest, I don’t pray because I don’t think God hears me like he hears Babci, so I ask her to do it on my behalf.

Being the 7th Born

Babci is also very superstitious about all kinds of things, but the one that comes up over and over again is that she’s the 7th born child in her family. Her sister also claims this right because they are identical twins, but my mom actually came out first, so she supposedly has more of the 7th born powers than my aunt.  As best as I can tell, the origin of the folklore came from Romanian gypsies who believe that the 7th born child has the capability to become a seer and also wield powers for good and evil.

The last time Babci had been seriously wronged by family was with my father’s estate (basically a house in Poland) and she shook her fist in the air and said “No good will come of that house.”  I won’t rehash what happened as it’s in the original article, but let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.  The other example that I think is just hilarious was with my aunt.  Her pasture isn’t very far from the local bus stop and she used to have this flock of geese that took to hanging out at the local covered bus stop.  Those geese were such a nuisance, but deep down my aunt did like them as they had a lot of personality.  One day, the local bus driver ran over one of the geese and killed it.  My aunt was so mad that she wished out loud the guy would pay for wronging her.  Well, the very next week, the bus driver got into an accident and lost his job.  Her son started chastising her and told her she can’t going around hexing people willy nilly and to take her powers more seriously. She’s been much more careful about it since that incident. (Now the practical person would say if some guy is running around killing farm animals and getting into accidents, then he got himself fired, but if you’re the 7th born, you see things differently.)

My mom also inherited a house in Poland that she gave to her  twin sister when she moved to the states.  After 30 years of squatting and paying for the taxes, there’s a rule that the house passes to the new owner tax free.  Well, a few years back, at the 32 year mark, my aunt was finally processing the paperwork to put the house in her name. Another sibling caught wind of it and she decided that she was going to contest my grandparents will from 40+ years ago and claim the house was never my mom’s to begin with.  You see back in the day, the farmland was the most valuable part of an inheritance and the house was usually the least desirable thing to get.  No one wanted the house in the 1960’s and they actually got a much better deal than my mom in 1960s values. Fast forward 40 years later and now the house is actually worth a lot more than the land does so they decided to contest the transfer.  It was a big expensive mess that took about 2 years to resolve, 2 trips to Poland and a bunch of money.  I remember after it was over my mom stopped my bad aunt in her tracks and she cursed her like nobody’s business.  Oh my god, the look of dread in my bad aunt’s eyes was apparent. She was horrified and you could see it in her face that she absolutely believed every bit of the folklore about the 7th born’s power.

Karma

I don’t think that my mom knows the Polish word for this, but the saying she uses all the time is “If you burn someone’s house down, yours will be burned 3x over.”  I think this is the belief that I most closely align with because it fosters a great sense of community and being good to your neighbors.  If you do the right thing for others, then in general, everyone around you will follow suit.  The opposite is also true. When I lived in the tough part of town, everyone was always stealing from each other and throwing trash in other people’s yards. Nobody cared for their neighbors because they didn’t care about you. If someone wrongs you, you just want to wrong them back and that’s not always the best path forward.   Anytime I give something freely to someone, it always comes back as a windfall in some other way. If you’re just open to the idea of it, you’ll start seeing the connection that everyone has with each other.

So there you have it. I don’t claim to understand any of this mystical stuff, but I do think there’s more to learn and understand about enlightenment.  Where do you stand?

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos February 16, 2011 at 7:31 AM

Hah! Ask Italians about superstition, and we’ve got it in spades.

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101 Centavos February 16, 2011 at 7:35 AM

[ hit post the button too soon, dang it ]
My mom and grandmother were also very big on praying and lighting candles in church for significant events. The story about the powers of the 7th born is fascinating. I wouldn’t mess with Babci either.

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM

101 – sounds familiar. She also lights candles on holy days and prays for her dead relatives. I think now adays she mostly prays for her brother. They were very close til he died.

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom February 16, 2011 at 8:03 AM

Oh no! I am the 7th born in my family. I will have to ensure my powers are used for good not evil… :-)

My grandmother had a lot of superstitions like this too. eg. Mrs. X was scared by a duck when she was pregnant, so her baby had webbed fingers… Er… Grandma, that’s down’s syndrome and it’s a chromosome thing.

Do you guys have the photo albums full of dead people in coffins? I used to spend hours at my Grandmother’s looking at those.

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Jacq – yes, I got tons of that advice when I was pregnant…make sure you look away from a horribly disfigured people..don’t let anything scare you or your kid will have a big birthmark. Don’t look at red heads or your kid will have red hair (my MIL was a redhead before she went gray, so that one was particularly amusing).

We also do have a variety of coffin pictures. Half the time when we got a photo from Poland it was of a dead person..one in the coffin plus at least one of the funeral procession where people march in the middle of the street.

Wow..it’s cool that you’re the 7th born. I’ll have to stay on your good side from now on.

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Nicole February 16, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Let’s just say I am constantly knocking wood. And I’m terrified my husband will be hit by a car because I’m not sure what I did to deserve this much happiness.

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Nicole – I feel the same way. I have had more years of happiness than suckiness at this point so I just hope it stays that way.

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Deidre February 16, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Always love to hear about Babci and the Fam :)
Enlightenment is a very individual thing and can mean one thing to one person and something quite another to someone else. Enlightenment is a nice concept but each of us portrays it differently!Taking Babci for example, she seems very enlightened when dealing with her situations :)
Others may have taken a more Zen approach but both are still enlightened in their own ways. Love a post that gets me thinking right away in the morning :) Thank you Sandy!

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Deidre – it’s interesting. I think that’s why there are so many religions. All of them have a kind of holistic view of how to treat others around you, but the path to getting there is very different.

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Little House February 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM

What a great Babci story! I believe in Karma and that whole, “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” Though I didn’t know about the whole 7th born stuff. I can’t think of anyone in my family that has had that many children in many years (before WW II), so I’m pretty sure there aren’t any 7th born children left. I guess I don’t have to worry about being cursed anytime soon?!

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Little House – Hurray to being curse free. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my son “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Maybe after 1000 more times, it’ll start to sink in. I’ve lived in communities full of selfish people and selfless people and it’s so much nicer being selfless. Everyone is always trying to help you out and you feel like you should do the same and pay it forward. It’s really great.

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MoneyCone February 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

An eye for an eye makes the entire world go blind! (Was it Gandhi who said this?).

Sadly no, I’m not the 7th born! If I was, my blog would have a completely different title! :)

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Sandy L February 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Moneycone – I’ve actually never heard that saying but it’s a good one.

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Everyday Tips February 17, 2011 at 8:58 AM

I love Babci. I think her beliefs will make her a happy and good person. Beliefs and faith can be a wonderful thing.

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Sandy L February 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Everyday Tips..I have to document some of the other things she does as well. She does this thing where the weather in the last 12 days of the year foreshadows the following year’s weather month by month. She claims she can also tell what kind of winter it will be by the way the leaves fall off the trees.

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Crystal February 17, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Whether or not the folklore is real, if people see it as true, it ends up working out. Go Babci!

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Sandy L February 17, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Crystal – it’s way more fun to believe.

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Christa February 17, 2011 at 12:06 PM

This is the first Babci post I have read, and I loved it! I now have to read the back posts about her, especially the “My Father’s Estate” post — love your blog!

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Sandy L February 17, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Christa – I’m so glad Babci has a new fan. It’s hard not to like her. Another favorite of many readers is “Babci the golfer”

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Laurie February 18, 2011 at 7:02 AM

This is great!! Love the whole Karma thing!! Of course I would have done the same curse to the guy who ran over my goose (which in my case will most likely be my husband – but he wants to run him over on PURPOSE!)

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Sandy L February 19, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Laurie – Chad’s just jealous that the goose demands more attention than he does.

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Cesar A February 18, 2011 at 9:33 AM

All this sounds so familiar to me. Catholics are all the same. I was raised with everything you wrote about. I love it! My mother was the first born (twin) and she is the queen of the family. She raised all her brothers and sisters since my grandmother was a baby machine. I have a total of 9 aunts and uncles from my mother’s side.

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Sandy L February 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Cesar – yup, sounds the same. I think my mom had 9 siblings that made it to adulthood and at least one baby that didn’t make it past it’s first major illness. Horrible conditions they had to endure.

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Laura February 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM

My Dad, the 8th born {good grief!} always taught me to believe that ‘you reap what you sow’ and so far I believe it’s very true!

Love the Babci posts :)

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Sandy L February 19, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Laura – it’s just hard to imagine families that big these days. 2 seems like a handful on most days.

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Squirrelers February 18, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Glad to see more on Babci. These are fun to read – very solid, and it’s a pleasure to see the respect that you clearly have for her. It’s a fascination like I have had with my own parents an their journey, which is why I can relate somehow.

Babci seems very fair, yet strong and self-respecting, from how you describe her.

I do think Karma is real. Positive energy is more likely to bring positive results – the opposite is true with negative energy. It’s not always applied exactly, and it’s inconsistent at times. But in general, I think it’s real. What goes around comes around sometimes, in ways that might not always be obvious or detectable.

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Sandy L February 19, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Squirrelers – I’ve gotten more respectful as I’ve gotten older. For years I thought she was a total loon but now I understand her a little better or maybe I’m just slowly turning into her so she doesn’t seem as strange anymore.

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Money Reasons February 19, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I’m still on the fence about this such things (I think I’m in denial).

I do know that some unusual things have happened in my family lineage that defies logic. The women in my family have wish ill on others, and sure enough something bad would happen. My dad, who like the rest of my family loved my grandmother dearly use to call my grandmother a witch because of such things (my grandmother stopped wishing ill on other, I think she was afraid to do so). In some ways she parallels Babci, especially with living through hard times.

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Sandy L February 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Money Reasons – It’s interesting that these types of beliefs are more prevalent than I would have thought.

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Molly On Money February 20, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Thanks for giving my my Babci fix. She needs a fanpage on Facebook at the very least- see what you can do about that ;) .
My longtime best friend who is Irish is the 7th child (actually the 7th son). They’ve got their own folklore around it too. He has a tattoo of a sun with the #7 in it. It’s quite beautiful.

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Sandy L March 13, 2011 at 7:13 AM

Molly – I think anyone who comes from a family with 6 siblings and survives has got to be extraordinary anyway, folklore or not.

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kara March 12, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Hi .. I just found your blog and have spent some time catching up. Your Babci sounds great … and you’re so lucky to be able to spend time with her and get to know her.

I also wanted to comment on her karma comment. The “threefold law” or the “rule of three” is a big part of a lot of pagan religions/belief systems: “Ever mind the Rule of Three. Three times what thou gives returns to thee. This lesson well, thou must learn, thy only gets what thou dost earn.” Your Babci’s version of it makes me smile, though. :)

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Sandy L March 13, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Kara – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the archives. Interesting on your rule of three. I didn’t know the background of where it came from, but no doubt her origins are religious as well, so thank you for sharing that.

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