Being now that death has suddenly become an integral part of my life with the occult and my interest in studying mortuary science in college, I have been thinking about Santa Muerte quite a bit lately. Specifically in Mexican curanderismo. I’m not sure what this is all about, but I ran across something rather interesting this morning. Apparently eggs, of all things, are frequently used in Mexican curanderismo. According to E. Bryant Holman in The Santisima Muerte: A Mexican Folk Saint:
Curanderos, being that they are, in fact, exorcists in a sense, primarily occupy themselves with doing “limpias” (literally “cleanings” – from the verb “limpiar,” “to clean), and limpias are essentially exorcisms. These are accomplished with some sort of instrument and with prayers. The instrument is usually either a branch of a type of tree known as pirul, or else some object already assumed to be holy, such as a crucifix – which, additionally, will have been blessed with Holy Water by an ordained priest – is used. It is also common to use eggs in performing limpias. The usual method is to take the instrument (the egg, crucifix, or branch of pirul) and stroke the patient’s body with it, normally in motions wherein the curandero seems to be attempting to move the evil spirits outwards towards the extremities of the body – to the feet and hands – and expelling them through the fingertips and out of the soles of the feet. Additionally, it is believed that the branch, the crucifix, or th egg will collect the bad energy and store it safely in the instrument itself. In the case of a crucifix that is properly blessed, it is believed that the bad energy is essentially trapped there and that it cannot escape and harm someone else. But in the case of branches or eggs, it is believed that these are now infected with the bad energy, which can pass to unsuspecting victims and harm them, as if it were a matter of contagion or of one getting an electrical shock from a non-insulated electrical source of some sort. Thus, great care is taken in the proper disposal of branches and eggs and other such instruments used in the performance of limpias.
Later on he describes a curandera who uses eggs diagnostically. Specifically, she uses an egg to draw out energy from a patient and then figures out what it is by examining it.
It’s interesting that Santa Muerte, often associated with drug users, has me thinking about limpias – in other words, cleaning (perhaps staying clean from heroin): In the process of turning an ordinary egg into the Philosophers’ Stone, the second alchemical stage is albedo, that is, the “whitening” or cleansing stage. Hail Venus/Aphrodite!