Tag Archives: holy water

Miracle Fountain

Text: “I don’t have a ton of specifics about what he was suffering from, but there was a kid in my class who had some rare leg-bone condition and he had to have surgery to walk. They thought he was going to die and he had leg casts for two years, and he went to this like font of naturally occurring holy water in Mexico. I don’t exactly know where it was, but he went there and went to mass and had a priest bless him and like fine now. He’s cured.”

Context: S is currently a twenty-year old student at USC. She grew up in Orange County, California and attended private, Catholic school for her education. 

Analysis: Water as a healing source is a common belief in many different cultures. In S myth it seems that the water is providing a contagious magic, and that by having proximity to the water or touching it, her classmate was able to be cured. In Mexico there are a few different fonts or fountains which S could be referring to, one is described in this LA Times Story: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-06-27-mn-838-story.html. Healing fountains are often located near or in connection to the Roman Catholic Church for example the In the 18th century it wasn’t uncommon for doctors to prescribe “going to the sea” as a cure for patients with various ailments. This article by the Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/the-historic-healing-power-of-the-beach/279175/, provides context about how proximity to water alone has been prescribed in many different medical capacities. S myth also relates to the story of the fountain of youth which dates back to the 5th century B.C. and is thought to provide eternal youth to anyone who drinks from it. However, maybe more applicable S’ myth is the healing power of water in the Bible. The Christian ritual of baptism is thought to cleanse “original sin.” Also, the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:1-14, in which a leper is healed in the Jordan waters.

Peruvian Folk Speech- Salar Tu/La Casa

Main Content:

M: Me, I: Informant

I: The saying was “Salar tu casa,” like salt your house, but in Spanish it means that someone is, put something like a bad omen on your home

M: Oh ok

I: Kind of like the thing like that 

M: okay that’s good , like sal-ar

I: Salar la casa

M: and that’s used to say what?

I: It’s like, the house is cursed, or bad omen on the house.

M: Oh okay

I: and then that can also be like lets say um if someone who doesn’t have good will towards you or harbors bad feeling toward you and you let them into your home, then when they leave, they leave that that bad behind

M: Ohh

I: So you are supposed to purify you home like with sage or with holy water, if you have holy water blessed by the priest and you have it at home. You are supposed to pray and clean your home.

Original Script: Salar la casa

Phonetic script: sa.ˈlaɾ  la ‘ka.sa (Spanish is a phonetic language)

Transliteration: To salt the house

Translation: Someone put a bad omen/luck on your home/ your house is cursed/ your house is jinxed.

Context: This folk speech was used and taught to my informant by her Peruvian mother during her childhood when someone with ill will tainted the house with their ‘badness.’

Analysis: In order to understand this folk speech to its fullest is to understand what ‘Salar’ means. Literally speaking, ’Salar’ means ‘to salt.’ However, to salt in English has a much more limited scope than the meaning in Spanish. In Spanish, on top of the English meanings, it can also mean “to spoil,” “to bring bad luck,” “to jinx,” and even “to ruin.” Thus, the proverb is referring to these forms of ‘to salt’ in Spanish. In trying to understand a proverb, it is important to fully translate the words to express their true meaning. To cleanse the house of the bad luck and badness, holy water is used or sage is burned. This makes sense given how Peru is predominantly Roman Catholic but also believes in shamans and some of their practices.