Eggs are powerful spiritual symbols in nearly every tradition, though their specific significance does vary. They are little packages of potential containing all that is needed to create life wrapped up in a protective shell. An egg symbolizes life, birth, perfection, and even the Universe. The egg contains life, it is life, but it is not a living thing and this makes it a potent magical tool.
The Egg is Life
Some traditions identify the egg as the source of all life, marking the beginning of creation with the creation or hatching of a cosmic or divine egg and while few of these traditions dominated the cultures they arose from, they can be found throughout the world. The ancient Greek Orphic egg hatched Protogonus or Phanes who created all of the other Gods. Chinese mythology presents a similar story in that of Pangu, who split his egg in half, the upper part to create the sky and the lower the Earth. The Hindu text Brahmanda Purana describes the cosmos in the context of an egg. In ancient Egypt, some traditions describe the universe and/or Ra as born of a goose egg. Finnish mythology describes the egg of a duck (or eagle laid in the lap of Ilmatar (or Väinämöinen) that is used to create the world, the Kalevala describes this.
Eldred Thorsson described the cosmic egg as the fertile void from which all things spawned and the home of the primeval beings Ymir and Auðumbla and compares it to the rune Hagalaz, “hail” which symbolizes disruption and chaos, as well as potential.
Using the Egg for Magick
The egg appears in spellwork in many modern traditions and would have been a common ingredient in ancient folk traditions as well- even you don’t keep birds, you can often find an egg if you know where to look and your timing is right and folk magic is all about using what you have on hand. The most notable modern techniques are found in Hoodoo and other synergistic traditions of the Americas, but they are found across traditions.
Eggs for Manifestation
The egg is a symbolic womb that can be fertilized by your intentions. Once appropriately charged, the egg can then be broken to release the intention into the universe, buried to draw energy toward a location or to charge plants grown in the ground with the intention, or eaten to internalize the intention. The spell to grow your intention into manifestation can take some time and involve symbolic gestation the egg
Various methods of divination from the casual to the more intentional exist throughout cultures. A double yolked egg found by chance may be considered an omen or either good or bad fortune depending on the specific culture, denoting a marriage or birth or a death. A girl wishing to determine who will be her future husband may place an egg on a fire and observe who moves or removes it, or boil an egg, remove the yolk and replace it with salt, eat the salty white and observe her dreams to glean this information.
Currently, the most common form of egg divination I see involves cracking an egg into a glass or bowl of water and observing the shapes it forms either immediately or over a period of time. Traditions vary widely on the specifics of the method. The egg may be passed over the body of a person or left in the vicinity of the person before cracking. It may be read immediately or it may be left resting nearby in the water for a specified period of time after cracking before reading.
Egg Cleansing, Healing and Hex Breaking
There are many traditions of using eggs to heal a lingering illness, to remove the evil eye, to drive out troublesome spirits and energies and to break hexes. Various techniques involve using the egg to draw the disease or unwanted energies out of a body or space and into the egg itself. The egg is then disposed of by burying it or breaking it at a crossroads, at the base of an old tree, into moving water or flushing it down the toilet. Many techniques used in modern folk magick are variations on the limpia techniques practiced curanderos and brujas which may have come to us from the Aztecs.
Spells to remove disease, hexes or the evil eye from the body may involve rubbing or rolling the egg over the body (See egg rolling), starting at the head and working your way down. Or it may involve placing the egg under the bed of the affected person while they sleep, occasionally in a container of water. Breathing or blowing onto the egg to transfer the bad luck into it is also reported. Any combination of these techniques may be utilized as well.
For removing negative energy from a location, the egg may be placed in the center of the room, sometimes whole or cracked into a bowl of water, or four eggs may be placed in the four corners of the room.
After treatment, the egg may be broken and its contents examined to determine the success of the treatment. Imperfections in the yolk and white of the egg may indicate that some but not all of the negative energy or disease were drawn out into the egg and the treatment may be repeated as many times as necessary until the egg reads clear. (See oomancy)
Egg Banishing Spells
Banishing spells can be found using eggs, particularly within the various branches of conjure. While specifics vary, these often involve breaking an egg in the vicinity of the person’s home- on the person’s front door or porch or throwing it onto or over their roof to break it- in order to get them to move away. Some modern alternatives include breaking the egg in the driveway, in a crossroad near their home or onto a picture of the person. Some spells require the egg itself to be rotten or laid by a black hen and/or to be treated in some way- dressed with
Egg Protection Spells
The shell of the egg is a hard protective coating that shields a developing life against the dangers of the outside world. This shell is also used in magick to shield people, objects and places against various dangers, particularly those presented by the spirit world.
An eggshell may be hollowed out and a taglock and other items placed inside to symbolically protect the person(s) identified by the taglock. The shell may be colored or decorated to represent this intention, or it may be left plain.
Eggshells pulverized into a fine powder can be used as a general protection powder, sprinkled on people, objects and across doorways to prevent spirits and people with malicious intent from affecting them or entering the space. (See cascarilla powder).
Colored eggs are a popular decoration for Ostara and Easter every spring. These hearken back to agrarian and even hunter-gathering systems that recognize the egg as a valuable source of nutrition that suddenly becomes plentiful in the spring when the breeding season of many bird species begins. Many birds, most wild birds and even some domestic species, like geese, only lay eggs for a brief period in the spring and even our reliable chickens and laying ducks often take a winter break (though modern techniques including providing artificial lighting can prevent this), so the re-appearance of eggs in the springtime is a significant event worth celebrating. Why not decorate them and share them with friends? And why not view them as potent symbols of luck, fertility, and abundance while we’re at it?
Colored eggs feature in springtime celebrations of many cultures. Painted eggs make an appearance in the Persian New Year’s celebration Nowruz, celebrated on the March Equinox. Novruz has its roots in Zoroastrian tradition, though it has become more of a general cultural observance in many areas. In some areas, the celebration has merged with the Christian Easter and the Easter egg custom may have derived from the Persian custom, probably beginning with the Greek Orthodox church and spreading from there.
Pysanka is a highly detailed and ritualized egg-coloring method using a beeswax resist method to create traditional folk designs on eggs practiced in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Though it is popularly associated with Easter Eggs, pysanka is a pre-Christian art form that may have been related to the worship of Ukranian Sun God Dazhboh. Pysanky are exchanged and kept and general luck talismans to protect the household from all manner of catastrophe. They could be decorated in spiral designs to trap demons or in spiritual motifs and blessed by a priest to locate and cast out demons. A broken, or unwanted pysanka must be ground up very fine and tossed into running water or fed to the chickens, as this would make them good layers. Such a pysanka in the wrong hands could be used to curse the family. Pysanka are traditionally made by the women of the family, in secret, ideally of the first fertilized eggs laid by young hens.
Krashanky are eggs boiled and dyed a single color, traditionally a reddish color from red onion skins, that are then ritually blessed by a priest and eaten to internalize the blessing. Though these are perhaps the most well-known folk methods of coloring eggs, many other methods are practiced throughout this region.
In modern magical and spiritual practice, colored eggs may be blessed or charged and eaten to internalize the magic. They may also be placed in a location or buried beneath it to draw their blessings toward the place. The eggs may be decorated and dyed in symbols and colors representing the intention of the spell. Assuming the dyes and other decorations applied to the eggs are non-toxic and biodegradable, colored eggs make suitable offerings to many nature and land spirits.
Various Egg Superstitions
In Charles Godfrey Leland’s Gypsy Sorcery and Story Telling, he devotes a whole chapter to egg lore. He describes the oft-mentioned tradition that eggshells should be completely crushed or burned after consuming an egg to prevent a witch from using eggshells to do the eater harm as common throughout the Eastern European region and explains the practice with Romany folktales that indicate that witches can use eggshells to create wonderful boats or ships to travel wherever they wish. Another story indicates that witches use eggshells as pots to brew magical potions in. There seems to also be a general belief that these eggshells can be used as a taglock, like nail clippings, as well.
Leland also describes the general use of eggs as protective household wards, being hung in the home to protect it from harm. Eggs laid on Maundy Thursday, in particular, protect against lightning strikes, and another hearsay source has informed me that eggs laid on Good Friday will douse a fire, though (according to Leland) in the Netherlands, eating those eggs on Easter will protect against disease. He also describes a tradition of building an egg into the walls of the house for general protection. On the other hand, he indicates a belief among sailors that having eggs on board is unlucky.