How placentas foretell the future
We seek to know our fate. Each of us, at one time or another, have been tempted by the thought: if only we knew the future. And so, over time, we have sought the mystical, the prophets, the palm-readers and sooth-sayers, despite the fact that science would disdain such endeavors.
Now, someone else has entered the fray of prophecy, using a different set of tools. Lizbeth Larkin, of Spokane, Washington, is a practitioner in the business of telling the future. Her means of divination? The placenta.
The placenta, of course, unites the fetus to its mother's uterus. It is responsible for bringing the fetus oxygen and other materials needed for nutrition. At the same time, it carries carbon dioxide and other waste products from the fetus back to the mother.
"It's an essential component to gestation," Lizbeth Larkin remarks. "Without it, we wouldn't exist."
How, though, did the placenta come to be such an important organ in Larkin's work?
"It was my own first childbirth experience that led to this," says Larkin, an attractive, 37-year-old mother of four. "I had just pushed Jotham out into the world and was hugging him to my chest when the midwife instructed me that my job was not yet complete. The placenta had to come out, too."
And so it did, and as the midwife began to remove the placenta from the childbirth bed, Larkin stopped her. "I was curious. I'd seen other people's placentas, of course, but I wanted to see mine — or, rather, Jotham's."
As members of Larkin's family passed the newborn boy around the room, Larkin had a moment to herself, and so she studied the placenta in some detail. "It was fascinating," she recalls.
"All those lines and squiggles and circles and shapes. Absolutely fascinating. I know I was exhausted from labor and all, but I got a little woozy, looking at it. I had my partner, Race, put Jotham's placenta into the freezer."
Weeks later, Larkin removed the placenta and studied it again. It began to dawn on her, she says, that "the placenta was like a palm-print of the person, perhaps a fractal of their lifespan that could be read. I mean I've always been interested in palm-reading and all that, but I'd never heard of a placenta reader — because there is no such thing. Or wasn't, at least."
And so began her instruction.
Larkin became facile in all the sooth-saying arts, especially palmistry. She augmented her work in fortune-telling with studies of reflexology, the ancient shakra arts, geo-psychical topography, and polarity procedures. She examined pictures of the physical surface of the placenta, focussing on the mounts on the surface of vascular organ, the lines on the mounts, as well as the lines interlacing the mounts and valleys. She attended physiology, gynecology and biology courses at the local college. Soon she was immersed in books, papers, videos, audio recordings, pictures.
"Race about had a fit," Larkin says, laughing. Race Kinsey, a 38-year-old contractor who was born and raised in Spokane, says "I did have my doubts about her. She'd be sitting there with little Jotham nursing, surrounded by all these books on placentas and palms and I don't know what else. But I'll say this for her: She knew she was on to something and so she stuck with it."
Books and pictures and college classes are one thing; perusing the real thing is another. Of course, Larkin had one placenta on site—Jotham's was waiting in the freezer. She began her study with Jotham's placenta, but she soon realized a "vested subjectivity that warped me not a little. My predictions of his childhood tendencies were a bit colored by my desires. So, I had but one choice: seek out other placentas."
Larkin quickly passed the word, requesting placentas from any homebirths taking place in the Spokane area. Within weeks, she had a couple dozen placentas in her freezer. "Race started to ask after my mental state," she laughs.
Race, for his part doesn't recall anything but mild frustration. "I mean, we'd be getting people coming by at all hours of the day and night. Literally, one guy showed up at two in the morning with a placenta covered in tin foil. I felt like I was making a drug deal or something."
Larkin was grateful for the placentas, and each day spent hours "reading the placentas like textbooks. And as I was in contact with the people who had offered the placentas to me, I kept a chart on the personality and personal milestones in that person's life."
Larkin knew it wouldn't be easy. She had to trace the trajectory of the placenta owner's life over many years, studying the organ in question, and matching up the life-experiences with the perceived topography. Before long, however, she began to see patterns of repetition in the placenta surface. Larkin says that "vectors and spatial relationships soon grew clear, even predictable. I developed, then, a system of sussing out, a divination, by which I could make predictions as to the individual's future."
For example, one child, Sarah (Sarah's name has been changed for purposes of this article) presented more than just an intellectual problem. Larkin sensed this child was heading for disaster. "I quickly identified the upper right quadrant of the placenta as an indication as to the individual's risk-taking behavior. Sarah's area was incredibly active. Then, I began to get these reports from her parents, that she had climbed out on to the roof of their home, she ran away when she was four, she tried to take the family car when she was six, that sort of behavior.
"Knowing what I know now, I could have warned her parents by the first or second day of Sarah's existence: Watch out for her!" When it comes to predictions related to mature individuals — marriage, family, fortune, business, etc. — Larkin admits her craft is "too much in the early stages of development. I'll need an entire generation of kids to age and experience life before I'll be able to predict those larger scale and more specific milestones. For now, I'm good at tendencies and trajectories. I'm not much help in the traditional fortune-telling way: 'Madame, will I be married to a rich man?' You know, that kind of thing."
Larkin's client base numbers in the hundreds. She is contacted nearly every day to either attend a birth or receive the placenta or a picture of it for viewing. She has even had clients photograph the placenta, scan the image into their computers and e-mail the document to her. "That's a new arena for me," she admits, pointing out that she has just established a website (www.placentareader.com).
"I'll be able to read placentas from all over the world." For now, Larkin continues to put finishing touches on her placenta chart (see Figure 1.1), which will be available in various forms (posters, calendars, coffee mugs, placemats, etc.) by the end of the year. "I can't believe it, really," she says, reflecting on the entire experience.
"The placenta has been virtually ignored for millennia. It was an afterthought, something you had to figure out how to dispose of. Nobody knew it could be so important after birth."
Does Larkin have any plans for the future, in addition to her placenta studies and marketing of her chart? "Well," she shyly admits, "there is another arena I'd like to get into — the umbilical cord, or the navel-string as it's called. If you think the placenta has been ignored all these years, consider the umbilical cord. Other than cutting it at birth and the ritual associated with that, the cord is as disdained as the placenta."
Larkin adds: "I think the navel-string has many prospects: it could be turned into jewelry to be worn by the baby and/or the mother—or maybe it's an actual divining rod once it dries and stiffens. Who knows? The possibilities are endless."