Oomancy is the art of divination with eggs. Egg divination appears in Etruscan and Ancient Greek texts, and was practiced in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In Mesoamerica, it was believed that eggs had powerful cleansing properties and were used in rituals for protection or fertility. Today you'll often see crushed eggshell Cascarilla powder advertised in metaphysical shops for Santeria and Hoodoo.
An egg cleanse followed by reading the egg's appearance is known as limpia con huevos and is a traditional practice shared by contemporary bruxas and curanderos like Samuel Nez & Lisa Martinez. Its purpose is to provide insight into personal issues, emotions, relationships, finances, health, and more. This practice can be used either alone or in a group and can be done in a way that's rooted in your own traditional cultural context and respectful of aspects that are closed. It can be especially useful for rural witches or for witches who use food ingredients in their magical practice. As a kitchen witch, I always check a cracked egg in the pan before I cook it.
Messages and symbols can be interpreted not just from the shape of the egg whites in water — which has been popularized on TikTok — but also from the color, if there's blood, the texture of the shell, and other physical characteristics. If there are multiple yolks, or if the egg is particularly misshapen, these can also be taken into account: the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of multiple egg yolks suggests multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets etc). Egg divining has been used throughout history by many cultures, so while it is not a closed practice by itself - each culture and closed religion has specific ways to use this method of divination.
A respectful egg divination session
Here are some tips for an oomancy that is respectful of cultures, closed practices, and the environment:
- Be mindful of cultural appropriation: If you are not from a culture that traditionally practices egg cleansing and divination, be mindful of the symbolism and beliefs associated with it in those cultures and choose a different option. Look at your ancestry, and what is open to you. If it’s just egg-scrying, then this is open-practice.
- Respect the egg: Treat the egg with reverence and respect, it's a symbol of life and creation.
- Know the intention: Be clear about the intention behind your divination and keep it in mind throughout the process.
- Cleanse the space: Cleanse the space where the divination will take place to create a clear and peaceful atmosphere.
- Be open-minded: Be open to the messages that may come through during the divination, but also be aware that they may not always be clear or easy to understand. Take notes and do your research after your divination ritual.
- Use the egg appropriately: Crack it open gently and discard the contents in a way that is mindful of the environment or in case it houses a baby. I’d advise against buying a box of eggs to try for divination only - if you can eat them, great. If you have to put them into your food waste bin, maybe use bicarb of soda on top and discard quickly to prevent lingering bad smells in the home (upsetting any occupants) and if you can compost outside away from your home, be aware that the smell may attract animals nearby. Eggshells are great for the soil and most outdoor plants like rose bushes and tomatoes.
Draw what you see.
Try the divination
First, find a fresh egg - preferably organic and from a local farm you trust for animal welfare if possible. Crack it open and let the egg whites fall into a clear glass of water or a clear vase. As they do, observe all of the symbols that come up, shapes, colors, and patterns created by the movement of the white strings in the water. I’d encourage you to draw what you see, think about what these symbols mean in your own life and culture, and what these symbols mean to you intuitively, without research.
Take note of any physical characteristics on or inside the eggshell too - this can provide insight into your inner life and the things that you may be missing or overlooking in your daily life. We are often not looking within, and miss daily details simply because they are routine. The shell represents the body that contains all the magic that is you, and it’s good practice to give a full check over all details rather than just focus on one part of the ritual (the egg yolk & whites).
Once the egg has been fully observed, take some time to reflect on what it could mean - is there a message here for you?
After you dispose of the eggshell in a respectful way, it can help to journal any insights that come up during this process. When I’ve used oomancy in my own practice, it’s usually been a quick, “lemme do this while the kids are eating and I have a minute” experience. While I’ve never seen any ribbons of egg whites, or even faces, I’ve definitely seen spots of blood on occasion. That’s a key indicator to work more on my protective magic, refresh my wards, and not overshare information with friends while I work out what to do next. Oomancy has given me insight, and lessons too. I wonder what our simple kitchen egg can offer you?
Additional reading and sources:
Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [Santa Barbara CA] 2000
Lizzie Burgess, a secular divination Bosswitch, runs BackyardBanshee.com where you can learn more about divination methods, rituals and resources that help you with your growth spiritually and professionally. Lizzie is currently finishing the upcoming book “An A to Z of Modern Divination”, where they upcycle and modernize ancient divination methods for a more accessible divinatory practice.