Originally published February 4, 2015
The internet has had a detrimental effect on many traditional aspects of hoodoo, I’m sad to say. On the one hand, it has helped spread the traditions and kept them alive for a whole new generation, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to learn even half of what I know without it. On the other, it has become very easy to spread misinformation, which is then copied and passed off as ‘ancient’ or ‘traditional’. One aspect of the tradition where I see this a great deal is with egg cleansing.
I often see the practice referred to as ‘limpia‘ or ‘egg limpia‘, which is not the corretc term at all. The word ‘limpia‘ is simply the Spanish word for cleansing. Hoodoo isn’t a Latin American tradition, Spanish is not the language in which we talk and pray and practice, so we should stick to the term ‘egg cleansing’. It’s simple, uncomplicated, and sums up exactly what is happening. No mystery, no fancy foreign name, jut plain and simple rootwork.
Egg cleansing in hoodoo is incredibly simple. It’s very practical, very easy to do, and once it’s done it’s done. Egg cleansing in other traditions can be more complex, and some of this had leaked into and been passed off as hoodoo. Some people fel the need to invent whole new backgrounds for the tradition, particularly in the case of a book claiming egg cleansings originate in Mesoamerican shamanism. Uh… No.
The practice of egg cleansing in hoodoo derives, as far as I can tell, from two different traditions. One is the grimoire known as ‘The Black Pullet’, a European book which was very popular in the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition, and contributed greatly to the hoodoo ideal of the magical black hen. The second is the African practie of using a surrogate to take in all the negativity of a person, and destroying that surrogate.
In hoodoo, the egg used for cleansing should come from a black hen. The egg is taken and rubbed down the body from head to foot, while prayers for cleansing and purification are recited. Psalm 51 is commonly used for cleansing in hoodoo. After the egg had been rolled down the body, it is thrown into a crossroads or at a tree.
People are talking a lot about divining the egg yolk at this point, but thats not a thing in hoodoo. Some African Dispora Religions do divine the yolk, but that is not a part of the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition at all. There is one yolk divination performed in hoodoo. Once the egg is thrown at the tree or into the crossroads, it is examined to see if there’s any crap inside it. If there are hairs, blood, black stuff, bits of baby chicken, or other grossness then teh cleansing is not complete. In which case, you grab another egg and go again. If the cracked egg looks normal, the cleansing has been successful.
Here are the steps again:
1. Take a fresh egg from a black hen
2. Roll it dwn the body of the person beaing cleansed from head to foot, while praying Psalm 51 or similar cleansing prayer
3. Throw the egg hard and far away, at a tree or into a crossroads
4. Check to see if the cracked egg is clear or dirty.
5. If the egg doesn’t look normal and has gross stuff in it, repeat the process until the egg is clear.
And that’s it. It’s very, very simple. A lot of hoodoo is very simple, very practical, and very accessible. I understant why people would want to make things complicated: sometimes it’s just hard to accept that something could be so simple and yet so effective, so we feel like there must be more to it. Well, there’s a lot more to cleansing in hoodoo, and there’s a lot more regarding black chickens, but that’s your basic egg cleansing.
Don’t go buy the book, don’t go find a teacher or egg limpia guru, just grab some black hen eggs and get to it.