Our beautiful Yew Tree lit up at night with Christmas lights, photo by PH Morton
The Yew Tree
We have got a lovely yew tree in our front garden which we dress up with lights on Christmas. It is now about 8 feet tall and still growing.
But did you know that the yew tree has a not quite a nice superstition attached to it?!!!
Yew (Taxus baccata) is a characteristic tree of churchyards, where some are estimated to be well over 1,000 years old.:
It is believed that ever since people arrived upon UK shores, they planted yew trees in acts of sanctification, close to where they eventually hoped to be laid to rest.
And, according to a label on a yew tree at Kew Gardens in 1993:
The Druids regarded yew as sacred and planted it close to their temples. As early Christians often built their churches on these consecrated sites, the association of yew trees with churchyards was perpetuated
Apparently, if you bring in a yew (as part of a bundle of greenery for decoration) inside the house at Christmas, there will be a death in the family before the year out. It is also advised not to take yew inside the house because it is very unlucky!!!
Oh no, our yew tree is so beautiful to be a source of such malevolent superstition.
And all parts of the yew tree are poisonous, the hidden seeds inside the berries are extremely poisonous.
This time round, our visit to the Philippines is more tumultuous than past vacations, for obvious reason that we came home because our mother had passed away.
All of us have suffered from some form of ailments, mostly stomach ache, diarrhoea, stomach bug related.
It became ridiculous the amount of time we spent in the toilet and despite medication like imodium, diatabs and the likes, we continue to suffer.
There is only one thing left, consult the great lady of Necodemus in Tondo. Apparently she has a very long experience of curing people without the expense of money and time consulting medical doctors and hospitals.
This lady of Necodemus can diagnose using candles and a bowl of water.
Sometimes, she does not even have to see the patient or know the full name.
Anyway the first one to consult the Lady of Necodemus, was Marilou. She had not been sleeping because of acute stomach ache and the constant need to go to toilet.
The Lady of Nicodemus, did her supernatural bit by letting the tears from a lit candle fall into a bowl of water. The tears from the candle then started to form a shape. Marilou’s one has so much indentations and protuberance that it could only be a man. 🙂 🙂 The Lady of Necodemus said that a man (living) had hexed (usog) Marilou. The lady prescribed Marilou a drink of a pancit pancit tea. It seemed to have worked as Marilou finally had her good night sleep denied to her during the last few days.
When I heard about this shenanigans, I was so intrigued that I sent Dayday to the Lady of Necodemus to diagnose Peter. Dayday said that she would go after 6pm, to ensure the power of the Lady of Necodemus was more potent. Who am I to argue?!!! 🙂
At exactly 6pm, Dayday went and spoke to the Lady. After the candle ritual, it was found out that Peter had not been hexed by anyone because the candles formed a very smooth shape, pretty normal. His stomach upset was due to dinuguan, eating lots of bloodied pork! How did the lady know about this. Again Peter was prescribed the pancit pancit tea and to eat grilled pork and tofu. He has not followed the advice, ergo still he still suffers from mild to acute stomach ache!
Just then my brother, who said he does not believe in supernatural hokus pokus, said that his left eye had turned red. He said it just happened and the only strange thing that happened to him that day was meeting a cat at a hotel room that is largely not reached or occupied by paying guest. My brother was there to fix the air-conditioning system.
Anyway Alma went to the Lady of Necodemus, who by now was absolutely perplexed by the goings on in our house in Fullon. 🙂 🙂 🙂
The lady said that we or my family in Fullon is living with a dwende (supernatural little person) in the house and that it is better to keep him undisturbed as he is harmless. Woah!!!
Also my brother seemed to have offended the spirit in the hotel and therefore he had to make amends by offering a sacrifice of 3 cigarettes, a glass of beer, a plate of food place in the darkest corner of the house. My brother also has to say heartfelt apology.
We had to come earlier than planned and also unexpectedly to the Philippines. This was because our beloved mother had suddenly passed away on 19 June 2017 at the age of 82.
Even now her passing is still rather surreal. Our mother was so strong, feisty and had a very larger than life personality. She always came out strong.
She was the type that spoke her mind no matter what consequence it would left behind. She did not have a self-edit button in her brain. She said things the way she perceived it and usually in a very tactless way, which sometimes did not earn her any good points.
However, despite her quirks, she did have a very good way of looking at things, her psychology of people worked very well. She can see through anyone.
My mother did not suffer fools gladly, however when you had gained her trust, she became a firm friend and a very trustworthy one at that. She will do anything for you.
Her children are her life and the love of money 🙂 was what made her ticked. She always complained of being lacking in money, this may be true as she can be generous, and rather too generous as we found out while we were sorting out her paperworks and documents. We found that she had been regularly ‘donating’ to the Benny Hinn ministry.
Well, I hope it made her happy, that is all we can say, as her children. We do not really need any inheritance from her. Thank God, she had brought us up to be independent and resourceful.
Anyway during her funeral there were so many things that we had to observe. Some are mind boggling but we did try to adhere to them as we do not want our dearest mother to be burdened or troubled in the afterlife.
Here are some of the weird and wonderful superstitions:
Apparently if the wake is held at the house, the family members are not allowed to bathe in the house. (They can take a bath somewhere else!) My mother’s wake was held at St Peter’s Chapel in Mayon corner A Bonifacio. I would personally advise to get a funeral plan set up. It will help in the long run and one less thing to worry about during a sad and trying time.
Avoid sweeping the floor during a wake and this apply most specially to the bereaved. Sweeping means trying to get rid of the spirit of the dead.
After leaving the wake, do not go straight home as the spirit will follow you. My sister who came home from the states, stayed at our old family home. She made sure that she would go elsewhere first before going back home each time she came back from the wake. She said it was not the spirit of our mom that she was concerned about but the spirits of the others in the funeral home.
Do not bring home the food served at the funeral wake. Why would you?!!!
If the dead person is an elderly, ensure to partake of the food served during the wake. Apparently the long life of the deceased will rub on you.
Avoid tears falling on the casket because the tears will prevent the dead from going through easy transition into the afterlife.
if the dead person’s fists are cleansed, this would mean money trouble for the family left behind; if the hands are opened there won’t be financial difficulties (hope this is true, I noticed that my mom’s hands were opened and that she had big hands.)
The dead should not be wearing shoes to prevent hearing them walking the floorboards.
Change your clothes worn from the funeral immediately after coming home.
During the wake, someone should be awake.
Apparently you shouldn’t say thank you to those offering condolences.
All the flowers during the funerals must be buried with the dead but all the names of the family members written on the casket must be removed but not by a family member.
After the 9th day of my mom’s death, we had to give sopas (macaroni soup) noodles, biko, puto and cakes to neighbours and those who attended the wake and funeral.
The same food giving will occur again on the 40th day of her death.
Discarding her belongings will commence on the 40th day of her death. Her clothes will be given to charity. Actually it is preferable that her clothes are given away a year after her death.
I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.
I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant. 🙂
Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it. I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays. The long strand means longevity of life. I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.
Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.
Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.
I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing. LOL
Peter and I got these money plants at Ikea in Wembley late last year. I have had money plants in the past but they tend to die after a while. Perhaps because If I don’t forget to water them, I used to over-water them thinking it would save me watering them again for a couple of months! 🙁 🙁 What can I say? I was busy then, I worked full time and run a house.
Now that I am retired, I have all the time in the world.
Hopefully, the money plant becomes true to its name and bring me, or rather us, a lot of money. Why is it called a money plant? To hazard a guess, I think it has something to do with the shape of the leaves. Circular like coins. Chinese Fung Shui seems to advice that round and circular things attract wealth. Well true or not, these money plants are so pretty in our window sill.
Money plant is also known as a jade plant but its scientific name is crassula ovata. It is also called friendship tree and lucky plant. It belongs to the succulent family and makes a perfect houseplant. Apparently this plant originated in South Africa and the Mozambique.
Apparently with proper care, the money plant can have a very long life. It needs a little water in the summer and even less on colder season.
I saw a mature money plants whilst in the Philippines a couple of months ago. The plant was really pretty, with thickened branches and jade green fat leaves. It reminded me of a bonsai, very structured.
Isn’t the moth above beautiful?!!! The photo was taken by globalgranary.life’s resident photographer, PH Morton.
It was in our study three nights ago, on my computer, when a moth circled and circled me and then stop right above my head in my curtain.
There was a superstition about moth that they are a conduit of the dead and bringer of some news and comfort.
I thought of my grandfather immediately. He passed away twenty-odd years ago. Actually he was/ is the person I could trust most in the world. He had never let me down. I was a horrid child, who grew up into an ultra-sensitive, self-centred little madam and yet he loved me and was really proud of me. I heard him once saying to someone that I was not just a teacher but a professor in university. He was so proud!
Anyway talking about the moth, lately I was worrying about family, especially those in the Philippines. I hope the moth was as a reincarnation of my grandfather, lol, who was there to assure me that everything was going to be alright.
The next morning, the moth was still clasped contentedly on my curtain. I called Peter to free it into the wild of our garden. Goodbye, Lolo, I am sure everything will sort itself out.