Limpia- Mexican Cleansing Ritual 

Description (From Transcript): “The translation of it is a cleanse. This one is kind of hard to explain. Essentially what it is is thinking that you have this negative energy within or around you and they (the person doing the cleanse) basically do this cleanse on your body. It (the person doing the cleanse) can technically be anyone as long as they know the gist of what you’re doing but I think it tends to be older adults who have more experience with it. 

So essentially, you take an egg, a raw egg that’s not cracked and you cleanse that energy from the person’s body that you’re doing the limpia on. And the way that my grandparents and mom would do it, they would do it saying prayers like “Santa Maria” or “Dios te salve Maria”. They would basically run the egg making crosses down your body from your head to your toes and then back up. I don’t know the exact number of how many times you say the prayers but that’s how you do it. And once you’re done, you crack that egg into a glass of water and you put that egg under your bed while you sleep and it’s supposed to essentially take all that bad energy and soak it into that cup of water. It’s a pretty old ritual but I distanced myself from religion and became a little more spiritual. I still believe in bad energy, auras and stuff like that but when I do limpias I do them on myself and instead of saying prayers I do positive affirmations. It’s literally the same process but not the prayers. I also crack the egg into the water but I don’t sleep with it under my bed. I just let it sit there for a little. 

Context: The informant (LV) is a first generation Mexican American woman residing in Denver, Colorado. She states that this practice is interesting because she adapted it from her grandma and mom. She believes it’s from Aztec culture, but she’s not sure. It’s in the same “area” as other Mexican Indigenous beliefs and practices such as “mal de ojo” (evil eye). In her culture it was intertwined with religion and Catholicism. She likes this practice because, even though she feels disconnected from her family because of religion, it helps her stay connected. 

My interpretation: What’s particularly interesting about this informant’s version of this practice is that by removing Catholic aspects from it, she is most likely performing it more accurately to the way it was done in pre colonial Indigenous communities. Her explanation of her version, along with her comments about finding online versions that also remove the religious aspects, also point to a generational shift away from organized religion and towards spirituality instead. Such shifts reveal how young people from ethnic communities continue to use and preserve folk practices but have learned to modify them to better reflect their own belief systems and socio-political stances.