Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Working with eggs!

I've been doing some research for this month's Witchy Children story (my reward for Patrons who pledge $5 a month over at my Patreon site....check it out and consider pledging if you enjoy my work!)  It doesn't matter what I'm writing, whether it is fiction or not, I like to start from a factual standpoint, and then get creative.

So I've been doing a lot of reading about eggs (and chickens...but this post is about eggs), not only how they have been used magically, but how they form and develop.  This kind of thing  fascinates me.

I've worked with eggs and egg parts before, and thought I knew a decent amount about eggs, and yet as I was writing, I'd come up with a thought and realize I wasn't sure about it, so I'd have to go look it up.  Just like many modern city dwellers, we buy our eggs from the grocery store, so use unfertilized white (and washed) eggs.

There is an urban myth that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs, but the color of a chicken's egg is actually determined by it's breed, and no color is innately healthier than the others.  Not only that, but all chicken eggs start out white, and the color occurs because of pigments that get added as the egg travels through the chicken on it's way to being laid.  I found it really neat that green/olive eggs come from a mix of blue and brown egg laying breeds.

Egg shells are the thing I use most in my work.  I started saving egg shells many years ago after coming across a recipe for egg shell chalk.  The recipe I use is pretty simple:  the shells from 5 eggs (about 1 Tbsp worth of ground shell), 1 tsp flour and one tsp hot water.  You can add food coloring and ground herbs as well (just try to keep the consistency similar to the base recipe).  Mix all the ingredients together and then roll into a stick and let dry (or press into whatever shape you want).

I love magical chalk.  You can use it to draw symbols or to mark boundaries.  Depending on what you add to your chalk base, you can adjust the properties of the chalk, making it more tuned to different energies.  I make a basic cleansing chalk with sage and salt.  You could also make small sculptures from this chalk recipe, like you would salt dough, but with the added qualities of protection or healing from the egg shell.

Since I started making the egg shell chalk, I have been saving my egg shells when I cook with eggs.  I simply rinse them out in the sink (pulling out as much of the inner membrane as I can), and then let them dry.  I rough crunch them (just breaking them up with my hand) and keep them in a small container until I am ready to grind them.  Then I use my mortar and pestle and grind them into a find powder and keep them in a final jar.  You can also toast them in the oven if you want a bit of fire in your powder (be careful not to burn them, the smell is not pleasant!)

You don't have to throw out that membrane either!  It can be used fresh for healing, as it has antimicrobial properties and aids in healing small scrapes and cuts.  Put the wet side down onto the cut, and let it dry on your skin.  You can even use it to help draw out splinters or small pieces of glass that might have gotten stuck in your skin.  The method is the same, put the wet side down on top of the thing you want drawn out (some even use this for pimples/blackheads), and let it dry.  As it dries, it should help pull out the intruder!

Because of these properties, I also started saving the membranes when I save my egg shells.  I wash the membrane (to get all the actual egg off of it) if I am going to save it, and let it dry really well.  Then I can use it for healing spells or to remove unwanted things in my life.

When I first read about using an egg for cleansing, by drawing out bad energies from the body, it was in a fictional story.  The character doing the cleansing was in a pinch, and grabbed a hard boiled egg from the breakfast table, running it over the body of the person who was cursed, to draw the curse into the egg.  It mentioned that afterwards, you could break the egg into a glass of water to divine more about what is going on (which didn't work as the egg was cooked!)  But this practice is based off of a Mesoamerican healing technique.

A similar method is to keep an egg by your bed for seven days, then break it into a river or bury it (to take the negativity away from you).  This sort of cleansing can be extended beyond people, using the egg as a vessel to draw out negative energies from pets or even from places.  If you want to break the egg and interpret the insides, pour the egg into water and read the shapes it forms (much like you might read tea leaves).  I would definitely recommend disposing of the egg, treating it like something you are banishing, so that any negative energy that it has absorbed will not linger.

Eggs can easily be used for divination as well.  You can absolutely break an egg into a bowl of water and interpret it for other inquiries (not just as part of a cleansing).  Another way eggs were historically read was to paint or color them and then heat them and read the cracks on the shell (if your egg doesn't naturally form cracks in the shell, charge it with your question and then smack it on a hard surface!) 

A group I worked with many years ago had a really nice practice during their Ostara ritual, where they had a bowl of hard boiled eggs, and it was passed around, and everyone present drew some kind of symbol or word on the egg in white crayon (so it was invisible).  Later in the ritual, everyone drew an egg at random from the bowl.  We dyed the eggs, so the symbols appeared, which would then be something for you to consider or something that would be coming into your life (and we ate the eggs to further take that energy into ourselves).

Hard boiled eggs spin very well, so you could even draw a circle with different outcomes around the edge, then spin your egg to find the answers (either draw a mark on one end of the egg, or read where the smaller side of the egg points).

There is a really pretty Chinese food called Tea Eggs.  You start with a hard boiled egg, and crack the shell but don't peel it.  After letting the egg cool a little, you simmer it for about twenty minutes in a mixture of tea and/or spices (common spices include:  soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and peppercorns).  This creates a dark brown liquid that will stain the eggs, and the cracked shell creates a pretty pattern.  The eggs are left to steep in the cool liquid in the fridge for an additional couple of hours (or longer).  This could easily be adapted, picking the tea and spices based on what magical intention you wish to infuse your eggs with.  You could also interpret the shapes made by the cracks on the shell as part of your working!

Because of the color and shape of the egg yolk, they are often associated with the sun.  We see remnants of this in how we order fried eggs:  sunny side up or sunny side down.  You can use the yolk as part of any working to do with the sun, or eat eggs as part of a Sabbat celebration to welcome the sun back during Yule (or to honor the height of solar energy at Midsummer)

In some cultures, the egg was seen as a model of the world, or creation.  You can find all four elements in the egg.  The shell is earth, and the yolk is fire (because of the connection with the sun).  The white of the egg represents water.  The membrane is air, since as the egg matures it creates an air pocket inside the egg (on the larger side of the egg, between the white and the shell...which is why hard boiled eggs often have that depression on their 'bottom')  Also:  food safety tip!  As an egg gets older, that air section gets bigger, which creates buoyancy in an egg.  A very fresh egg will lay on it's side in a glass of water.  The older the egg gets, the more the bottom of the egg will start to lift towards the surface.  When the egg floats, it may no longer be safe to eat.

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