Tag Archives: brujeria

Egg Healing

--Informant Info--
Nationality:
Age:
Occupation:
Residence:
Date of Performance/Collection:
Primary Language:
Other Language(s):

Context:

MV is a 2nd generation Mexican-American from New Mexico. Half of her family is of Japanese-Mexican descent and much of her extended family lives in Mexico. I received this item from her in a video conference call from our respective homes. She knows about this practice from her nana (grandmother) but she has never had it conducted on herself.

Text:

MV: When someone gives you the ojo… the lady, this could be your nana, or like anyone really, they could get an egg and rub it all over your body, and then all the bad energy goes in the egg.

JS: What’s the ojo?

MV: The ojo is when someone puts the ojo on you, like… if I gave you the ojo you’d be getting some bad energy. It’s like I bewitched you.

You pray a little bit and then rub it over your body… you do the cross up here (draws a cross on her forehead with her finger) and then just rub the egg over the rest of your body.

And then some people even say if you crack the egg in a glass of water, and like you see a trail, like in the water from the yolk, that’s the bad energy. But some people don’t do that.

JS: So it has to be, like, a special someone?

MV: Yeah usually it’s the brujería person… a bruja, a witch I guess… all nanas are like that.

Thoughts:

The association of eggs with luck and goodness has long and deep roots. Venetia Newall provides a sketch of the various uses of eggs in ritual, magic, and belief: cosmological models, magical properties, the notion of resurrection, games and festivals emphasizing fertility and fecundity. (Newall) Her study focusses mainly on egg-lore in an Indo-European context but these significances resonate with our example here. The notion here is that eggs have healing properties, capable of dispelling and absorbing “bad energy.” The association of the egg with rebirth, shedding of old ways, fertility, youth, suggests that here, the egg is valued for its life-giving properties. Brujería likely has a long history that cannot be fully examined here but of note in this example is that the bruja, or intermediary, is always an old female – “all nanas are like that.” There is a kind of magic associated with older females which resonates with the egg as a symbol of fertility, the womb, and a source of life. In this variation, the catholic gesture of signing the cross on one’s body is present with some notable exceptions to the mainstream church’s gesture. The cross is made on the forehead, combined with the secular folk magic of the egg. This is not the gesture sanctioned by the catholic church as an international institution, but a gesture that incorporates elements of both secular, paganistic belief as well as religious reference: it is both Catholicism and Brujería, a mix of Christianity with a folk magic which the Catholic church has historically demonized. This healing practice is thus a way of combining multiple sacred traditions and forming a unique model of spirituality that sets secular magic against and alongside the hegemonic colonial forces of Catholicism.

Newall, Venetia. “Easter Eggs.” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 80, No. 315. (Jan. – Mar., 1967), pp. 3-32

Saying “Bless You” Can Save One’s Soul

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexico
Age: 68
Occupation: housewife
Residence: Guadalajara, MX
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/09/14
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s):

Saying “Bless You” Can Save One’s Soul

“Se acostumbra decir salud a alguien que destornuda por obediencia pero hora en dia, no mucha gente se sabe el verdadero significado. En realidad se le tiene que decir ala gente que esta destornudando, ‘Jesus le ayude” porque cuando alguien esta destornudando es porque el cuerpo se quiere desaser de un espiritu maligno… esta historia era muy comun cuando yo era nina. Mucha gente creia en todo esto porque eran tiempos en donde existia mucho la maldad, la brujeria y las brujas… yo no se a quien escuche diciendo esta frase por primera vez, alomejor porque era algo que alguien cresia escuchando… al parecer, ahora no hay tanta brujeria como antes, pore so talvez mucha gente ya no dise la frase como debe decirla. Pero yo la sigo diciendo, y la voy a seguir diciendo.”

“It is custom to tell someone bless you when they are sneezing as a sign of friendliness but now a days, not a lot of people know the real meaning of it. In reality, one has to say to the people sneezing, “may Jesus help you” because when someone is sneezing, the body is trying to get rid of a bad spirit from within… this was a very common story when I was a little girl. A lot of people believed in all of this because they were times where a lot of evilness existed, witchcraft and witches… I don’t know who I first heard using this phrase, maybe because it was something that one just grew up hearing… from the looks of it, now there isn’t as much witchcraft as there was before, maybe that’s why a lot of people now don’t say the phrase as it’s supposed to be said. But I still say it that ways and will continue to say I that way.

My informant is a Mexican native of 68 years. She was born and raised there and continues to reside there. In her times, life was much simpler; there were no schools so anything she had to know was taught by people around her. Even though her stories may not seem plausible, they are the kind of stories she grew up listening to so she will hold her faith to their truthfulness with no hesitation. She now continues to pass on the stories she know to her children and grandchildren.

This specific story was fascinating to hear because even though it may seem like one specific type of folk tale, it ends up incorporating several other folk themes. This story incorporates a sort of cure for evil spirits, as well as incorporating witchcraft and witch concepts. Witches are not scientifically proven to be real so therefore one can infer that this story may be a fallacy, however, just because it has not yet been scientifically proven doesn’t mean it’s false. Furthermore, the fact that my informant believes this story to be completely true, can only serve as point in favor to considering the truthfulness of this story. I however personally don’t believe it’s entirely a true story, but it is fascinating to see the kind of mythical identities that were incorporated into this story which tie in to the time of when this story originated.