Saturday, March 31, 2007

Baptism by Egg

I question if I am ready to have the life of a child in my hands. Sylvie and I took absolutely no precautions to prepare our cat Marguerite for the stresses of life in the subtropical countryside of Ecuador. The first week or so after arriving on the coast Marguerite seemed to be in heaven. A lazy, lethargic heaven, but heaven nonetheless. She laid on the deck of our rented house spread eagle on her back and lapped up the sun. One night she wandered out into the fields behind the house. She reappeared an hour or two later. No doubt she was chasing mice or butterflies. Personally, I’m convinced that she was having the time of her life. She is an animal inside all that domestication, with a taste for adventures that are wild. This place has bugs and spiders and all kinds of living stuff for her to track, pursue, and occasionally capture.

Then, one morning Marguerite didn’t come out for breakfast. I mean usually, when we get up, she’s right there ready to eat. We go searching and find her underneath the bed in the guestroom. We have to coax her out to come eat. Later in the day we (Sylvie) notices she’s particularly lazy. For me this is a hard thing to tell since she barely moves during the day. Did you know cats sleep 16 hours out of the day? I always say this to Sylvie and my friends, but I believe that cats are higher in the chain of reincarnation than humans. How many notches higher I don’t know, but all they do is sleep, eat, poop for people to clean it up, get brushed, petted and be given catnip. Only kings, back in the day when being a king really meant something, got this type of pampering. Anyway, Sylvie thinks she’s hot, maybe has a fever. “She’s fine”, I say ignoring Sylvie’s maternal instincts. Next day, we’re at the “vet”. I use the term loosely here because, for example, the next day, when asked, he didn’t remember the name of the medication in the shot he gave Marguerite. During our visit he sticks a thermometer up her butt, and we pin her down so he can give her an injection. Marguerite’s not one of those cats that willingly submits to inspection, and definitely not probing or needles. She’s got a fever, and she’s been violated. She’s not happy.

That night, Manuel, the guy who we’ve befriended who tends the chickens of our landlord put on the cap of spiritual guide in order to perform an ancient shamanic ritual. Before I know what’s happening I walk into the bathroom and find everyone standing around watching as Manuel rubs an egg (in the shell) on Marguerite's back and head as she walks around in circles. She’s wet. I ask why, and as I do I see the bottle of Zhumir (an Ecuadorian liquor made from sugar cane) sitting by his foot. In shamanic practice eggs are used to help absorb evil spirits and bad energy that can make us sick from time to time. As Fanny, Manuel’s wife, noted, cats are very sensitive to the negative and positive energies of a place. There is thought to be some bad vibes in our current abode due to the sketchiness and general crabbiness of its owner. Manuel and Fanny have a bit of grudge here. It’s deserved. Anyway, Marguerite is now licking herself. If nothing else the Zhumir may help lift her spirits. Afterwards, Manuel cracks the egg open into a glass. The yolk is floating in the middle of the white and the white appears cloudy. That’s the bad energy in there. He shows us a regular egg in a glass. Yolk at the bottom; less cloudy. Hmmm….. He then steps outside and flings the egg from the treatment away from the house. This is the last important step in discarding the bad spirits.

A couple days later Marguerite is better. The real vet we went to see the next day probably had something to do with that. But you know, I liked the egg treatment. Science would tell me it’s static electricity that made the egg float. However, not often enough do we acknowledge the spiritual realm of our world. Western medicine’s shot for the virus carried by the ticks that bit Marguerite was key, but the egg treatment galvanized the positive spiritual force of all those who wished her to be better. If prayer is said to have a positive impact on the healing process, then Marguerite’s spiritual cleansing is probably no different. The next time I feel weighed down, I'll probably get one myself.

No comments: