|Pic from teara.gov.nz|
This Ipu Whenua (placenta vessel) replica was carved out of totara wood by carver
Jacob Heberley of Te Āti Awa. Original Ipu Whenua were made from Gourds and more recently out of clay, signifying their return to Papatuanuku. Our placenta is never placed next to food, which means the freezer is a no go. We do not consume our placenta for the purpose of increasing Vitamin K levels or Postpartum Depression. We return the grounding element of our babies, to Papatuanuku our earth mother.
I have been taught not to bury the placenta within the boundaries of the home. Being that the placenta eventually becomes dense energy, it is bound to attract extraneous portals that do not serve us. Therefore, choosing a sacred space to carry out the final resting place of the whenua is important. In the event that you are unable to get to a sacred place immediately, use a plant pot with dirt at the base, the whenua and then more dirt to cover. I used a clay terracotta planter and placed the pot inside a flax kit. When it came time to bury the whenua (3 days later), I broke the pot inside the kit as much as I could and placed the entire kit and the contents into the earth. A sacred place could be either, your urupa (family burial site), protected lands where you know no form of housing will be erected on in the future or protected lands where previous whenua have been buried. Give the whenua to Papatuanuku with the intention of gratitude and acknowledgment in overseeing this last process. A good friend of mine taught me the significance of speaking to the potential of all that we do, even to the potential of the whenua we bury. Spiritually, they will always be connected, therefore it makes sense to speak to the potential of the whenua which in turn speaks to the potential of our babies.