Raul: When something or just everything goes wrong for a long time, you need a limpia (cleaning). Limpias help take away all the bad vibes you have around you in order for things to go good. A typical limpia is done by someone who is experienced and knows their way with bad spirits or vibes which is a curandera (healer). When you go to a curandera, they have cosas que usan (things that they use) to scare the bad vibes. They like pray and rub an egg around you. Then they move on to hit you with some leaves from a tree called el paraiso. After the curandera is done with this, all the bad vibes should have been scared away and your goodluck should come back. This means that things will not go bad for a couple of months until you need another limpia.
Me: How did you first learn about it?
Raul: Well… my mom would always talk about it with my aunts. They would always say that they needed a limpia because they were not able to get the job they wanted or they just felt that there was some evil spirit around them that they couldn’t do anything right.
Me: Did you ever see how a limpia is performed?
Raul: I actually did. At first it was really weird with the curandera pretty much smacking someone with some leaves. But in the end it was pretty cool.
Context: The participant walked into the kitchen when I was interviewing his mother on a piece of folk medicine. After I concluded with her interview, he asked what we were doing, and I let him know I was collecting folklore Background: Raul is a 27 year old who was born in Mexico but what brought to the United States when he was 17. He is fluent in Spanish and learned roughly learned English in the few years he attended high school. Analysis: Una Limpia is an example of folk medicine. It is based on curing a “folk sickness” of having bad luck. It is interesting to see how people believing that performing these acts, they can be cured from an abstract thought created by humans such as luck. I am curious as to how someone diagnoses themselves and determines whether they need a limpia or not.