Me: “Grandma, remember when you rubbed an egg on my brother when he was little? Was that some sort of ritual?
EG: “Oh yes, haha that is called huevo limpia. I learned it from my mom. My mom was very religious and I grew up seeing her use an egg in order to remove the Evil Eye, el Mal de Ojo. Typically, an egg is used to absorb any negative energy in order to cleanse the body and aura. The way I was taught was to rub an egg all over one’s body and to wish the bad luck or spirits away. Typically, I will say a prayer like the ‘Our Father’, in Spanish of course. But yes I do remember doing this when your brother was very young because he was very anxious and scared about something; when he told me I knew to simply open the fridge and grab an egg so I can quickly get rid of any negative spirits.”
Me: “But why an egg?”
EG: “Supposedly my mom said that within Catholic spiritualism, it is common to use an egg because eggs have the power to energetically absorb any negative energy that one may have. You are supposed to take an egg, hold it close to your heart and say a prayer or any wishful affirmations before you start rubbing it around one’s body from head to toe. Once that process is finished, you can actually crack the egg and you can see the bad energy that was absorbed. If the egg is bubbly, foggy, or has strings from the yolk, that means the bad energy was extracted. When you crack the egg, you can see your results and notice if the cleansing has worked or not.”
Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):
-EG’s relationship with this piece stems from her Mexican and Catholic culture and overall spiritualism within her own beliefs and those of her mother’s. EG would hear of this ritual practice from her mother given that she grew up in a Catholic household where she was accustomed to witness these ritual performances taking place within her living room whenever someone came to her house for a cleansing. EG interprets this ritual as an act of purified meditation. Given that this performance allows for bad energy to be removed and cleansed from one’s aura, EG intercepts this egg ritual to be an organic act that allows someone to feel protected and start a “new beginning”.
Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:
– The overall cultural value within this ritual stems from a typical Catholic and Mexican household where these acts are often seen being linked to the concept of “brujería” or “witchcraft”. Despite the negative connotation that witchcraft receives, many Mexican-Catholic communities tend to believe that the act of huevo limpia takes on a more religious approach due to the prayers and religious affirmations that are said during the process; this can be seen as an ethical approach to the lifestyles of many Mexican Catholics. The personal values that can be seen within this ritual is the strong spiritual beliefs that an individual inherits within themselves as they truly need to believe that such an organic household item, like an egg, can be used as a spiritual tool in order to heal something that is not visible to the human eye. I see this ritual as an overall act that enables a sense of clarity and tranquility within one’s mindset. Considering that I experienced this ritual being done to my brother, I remember the reassurance and satisfaction that was washed over my brother after EG inspected the results of the egg. From being exposed to the process from start to finish, I am able to see this ritual as a natural symbol of comfort and protection as the religious aspect embedded within the performance can lead one to feel “clean” and protected from any bad energies; this was evident within my brother’s reaction. Considering eggs represent new life, the earth, and God within mythological beliefs, it is with no curiosity that an egg is the main emphasis within this religious practice. A similar ritual that has similar notions to huevo limpia is the spiritual ritual within sage/Palo Santo cleansing. As a matter of fact, the process of burning sage/Palo Santo as you walk around your home, letting the smoke coat the atmosphere, is similar to this egg ritual because they both are performed with the intention of getting rid of evil and or bad energies/spirits. These concepts within the egg ritual and the sage/Palo Santo ritual are acts of contagious “magic” given that these performances carry out an action with the emphasis of touching and or being connected to the designated target within a magical act.