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.
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.
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?