The Black Egg

“One day my grandmother was feeling incredibly ill. She looked much older: she looked pale, had chills, and had dark circles around her eyes. My mother took her to a medicine woman who lived high up in the mountains. The medicine woman sat my grandmother in a chair and looked into her eyes. They were bloodshot. The medicine women left the room, and returned with an egg. The medicine woman brought the egg close to her mouth and whispered something into it, as if she were praying. Then she began to pass the egg over the body of my grandmother. When she cracked the egg open into a bowl, the yolk was black and rotten. Later we found out that she had developed a lung tumor.”

Context and analysis: The informant first heard of this folklore when they were much younger, but remembers the instance with her grandmother more vividly. It is significant and memorable to the informant because it was the moment she realized she was going to lose her grandmother. When she was in the presence of the ritual, she was asked to stay far away from her grandmother, to have a clear positive mind, and to not allow negative thoughts to intrude. Ultimately, the black egg ritual is performed to confirm ailments in a person who is suspected to be sick. The ritual begins with a common catholic prayer while holding rosary beads. It is important to note that even though these rituals are part of the Curanderia magic of Guatemala, a lot of this magic is intertwined with Christian-catholic beliefs and prayers.