Monday, February 20, 2017

May the Egg Be With You, Always

May The Egg Always be With You Always

By the time you read this it will be too late and the curse befallen you.  

An article in our local Stockton, Ca. newspaper, The Record, appeared in the October 9 issue concerning a medium-astrologer-“curandera”- diviner-Tarot Card reader named, Maria Murillo Beltran, or “Madam Maria” in LA who has recently experienced a rash of “spiritual cleansings” from customers who are hoping for some kind of  “spiritual intervention”  from the negative energies or forces should Donald Trump (God forbid), or “El Tromp” as they call him, (I call him “Trompas”- one with a trunk), be elected President. Nothing was said about Hillary, but I don’t see why these cleansings wouldn’t work for her, too (maybe on another side of town?) For thirty dollars a pop, she is alleviating their fears.

Using incense, herbs, oils, prayers and eggs these types of spiritualists have eased the fears of Mexicans for centuries, dating back to before the European conquest of the Americas in the 1500s. However, the thin line between a “Curandero” (one who cures), and a “brujo” (sorcerer) is blurred, and the two are often confused. That line is masterfully explored in Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, “Bless Me, Ultima”, where good and evil come toe-to-toe between the old woman, “Ultima,” (the ultimate one) and the brujo “Tenorio.” In the end, the reader is left to assume that although she “dabbles” in the black arts, she uses them for good, but at a price.

This stuff has always intrigued me, but with healthy trepidation. My Tia Juana, was in fact, a “sobadera” (masseuse), and more than once my mom forced me to see her for treatment against the dreaded “empachada”, or indigestion, after eating green, or unriped fruit, she claimed. I don’t know what was more awful, the indigestion, cramps or diarrhea I had, or her painful body massages! Other times, she would strap stinky, raw potatoes on my feet for who knows what reason.

 Sometime in the early 70s, I heard a commercial on a local radio station that went something like this: “Are you suffering from jealousy, failed romance, a husband who drinks or womanizes, or a problem with your job? Well then, call ‘La Curandera Rosa” and she will help you resolve your problem.” Another time, she announced that “Curandero Convention” was to be held in San Jose. I recall wondering what it would consist of, workshops and trading of latest supernatural concoctions?

The topic inspired lively discussions in my Chicano Literature classes and students were anxious to tell their own stories to about this ominous side of our culture. One story concerned a woman here in Stockton, who was experiencing severe pain each time she urinated. She was convinced that someone had put an evil spell on her, but doctor-after-doctor just snickered and told her that she was just being silly: “There is no such thing as an evil spell; go home and take an aspirin.” Finally, one doctor told her “Ma’m, you are absolutely correct. You are possessed by an evil spirit. I will give you some powerful medicine that will banish the spirit from you. He then scribbled something on a piece of paper. “Here, take this to a pharmacy and take the medicine as prescribed. In a few days, you will notice that the color of your urine will gradually turn yellow. When that happens, the spirit will be exorcised.” She followed his instructions and was cured!

Not long ago my wife and I had a “limpia” (cleansing) done. Since her medical problems have mounted, friends (in good faith) continue to suggest all kinds of remedies, teas, prayers, ointments, herbs which “my uncle used and was miraculously cured.” One friend recently suggested a limpia which “worked miracles” on her. The place was an unpretentious store front on West Lane. Although I was nervous, we were greeted by a kindly old man who quickly put our fears to rest. On the shelves was a vast array of potions, oils and powders, all boasting some kind of protection against physical and spiritual woes.

He took us into a darkened room and seated us. The room smelled of copal (incense) and on his table sat candles, an array of religious statues, some Catholic and others crude representations of “Aztec” dieties, I suppose. Overall, it was a pleasant experience as he prayed over us, beseeching health, good fortune, a   healing of body and spirit, and protection from negative forces . He ended by taking a glass of water, cracking an egg for each of us, and dropping it into the glass. “If the egg floats, that is a good sign; if it sinks to the bottom, that signifies bad luck.” Both of our eggs floated.

If you happen to read this before November 8, 2016, crack you egg quickly and drop it into a glass of water before it is too late! And after this tortuous election, may your egg forever float! 

PS: I must've sunk to the bottom because we got Senor Trump(ista) as President. Curses!!!

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