Monday, November 9, 2009

Body adornment

(All images are courtesy of
DVP4904698 - Woman with arm outstretched
Please join me in a visually informational history lesson weaved throughout my personal experience as a person who searches for the truth in all things.  In this blog I will aim to not render any judgement but to pose questions for two reasons 1) to gain information and 2) to provoke thought.   Hopefully you will be compelled to leave comments in order to engage in a dialog.  Again HERE all I am offering is the truth based on research that I've done.  I'll be discussing various cultures and by default those respective religious beliefs. Based on those practices I've discovered the most beautiful fashions and body adornment.  Some I've adopted into my lifestyle.

For the past several months I've been wearing bindis.  At first I only wore them on special occasions with formal attire.  Today I wear them everyday for reasons that I'll reveal upon request but enough about me.

The bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating of all forms of body decoration.

CHI0000957 - Businesswoman talking on cell phone

Today, bindi is more of a fashion statement than anything else, and the number of women sporting bindis is overwhelming even in the West.

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According to Wikipedia -
The area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakraajna, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. [4] It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.
DVP4978559 - Woman smiling, portrait

In modern times, bindis are worn by women of many religious dispositions in South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Muslim and Christian women, and is not restricted to Hindus.
RBP9023861 - Hindu woman with hands together and bindi
Nowadays, bindis are worn throughout South Asia, specifically India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, by women and girls, and no longer signify age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation.[2] The bindi has become a decorative item and is no longer restricted in colour or shape. Self-adhesive bindis (also known as sticker bindis) are available, usually made of felt or thin metal and adhesive on the other side.

These are simple to apply, disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis come in many colors, designs, materials, and sizes. Fancier sticker bindis are decorated with sequins, glass beads, or rhinestones.
CLP0201544 - Young woman hiding behind veil
Outside South Asia, bindis are sometimes worn by women of Indian origin. Some Western women who have converted to Hinduism, such as in the Hare Krishnas, also wear bindis. Sometimes they are worn as a style statement. International celebrities such as Julia Roberts,[3] Gwen StefaniShakiraMadonnaNina HagenNelly Furtado, and Shania Twain have been seen wearing bindis.
ISP2076160 - Portrait of a woman
In addition to the bindi, in India, a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as a symbol of their married status. During North Indian marriage ceremonies, the groom applies sindoor on the parting in the bride's hair. Ancient Chinese women wore similar marks (for purely decorative purposes) since the second century, which became popular during the Tang Dynasty.
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ZPP0004197 - Face of a Woman

Occasionally I'll treat myself to a henna tattoo. My favorite local henna tatoo artist is Hemali Patel of Blissful Henna.  Due to her busy schedule, Hemali's services are by appointment only.  Please check out her portfolio @ Blissful Henna.

AIP0019083 - woman's hands and feet painted with henna

Again, according to Wikipedia - Henna or Hina (Lawsonia inermissyn. L. alba) is a flowering plant, the sole species in the genus Lawsonia in the family Lythraceae. The word "henna" (حــنــا) comes from the Arabic name for the plant, pronounced /ħinnaːʔ/ or colloquially /ħinna/.[citation needed]. It is also an islamic name given to girls which means blessed.
It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africasouthern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna is a tall shrub or small tree.  Henna body art is made by applying henna paste to the skin: the lawsone in the paste migrates into the outermost layer of the skin and makes a red-brown stain.  The different words for henna in ancient languages imply that henna had more than one point of discovery and origin, and different pathways of daily and ceremonial use.
Day 54: Henna Tattoo by Sarah Mae.
Henna has been used to adorn young women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the easternMediterranean. The earliest text mentioning henna in the context of marriage and fertility celebrations comes from the Ugaritic legend ofBaal and Anath,[12] which has references to women marking themselves with henna in preparation to meet their husbands, and Anath adorning herself with henna to celebrate a victory over the enemies of Baal.  This early connection between young, fertile women and henna seems to be the origin of the Night of the Henna, which is now celebrated world-wide.
Creative Henna Tattoo of Beautiful Girls Women Face
The Night of the Henna was celebrated by most groups in the areas where henna grew naturally: Jews,[14] Muslims,[15] Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians, among others, all celebrated marriages by adorning the bride, and often the groom, with henna.
Henna tattoo designs
But health risks do exist-
Though user accounts cite few, if any, negative effects of natural henna paste, pre-mixed henna body art pastes may have ingredients added to darken stain, or to alter stain color. The health risks involved in pre-mixed paste can be significant. The FDA considers these to be adulterants and therefore illegal for use on skin.  
Some pastes have been found to include: silver nitrate, carmine, pyrogallol, disperse orange dye, and chromium. These have been found to cause allergic reactions, chronic inflammatory reactions, or late-onset allergic reactions to hairdressing products and textile dyes.

ZFP0037415 - Woman Wearing Traditional Sari and Jewelry

The art of mehndi (or mehandi) has been a long-standing tradition stemming from many ancient cultures dating back as far as about 5,000 years, but is most known today for its history in India. Today, it is still used in religious and ritualistic ceremonies in India, but has also gained appreciation in other countries as a beautiful art to be appreciated at any time. So, what exactly is mehndi?
ISP2076158 - A henna tattoo on a womans palm
Mehndi is a temporary art done on the body with henna. Henna powder is derived from a plant (actually a bush), Lawsonia inermis,commonly found in the Middle East and other areas where the climate is hot and dry. The bush is harvested, dried, and then crushed to make henna powder. 

Henna itself is used for many things such as hair treatment, heat rash relief, and skin conditioner to name a few. The top leaves of the plant are best for mehndi, while the lower part of the plant is used for the other purposes. Henna paste is what is made to apply henna art designs.

ISP2076163 - A woman covering her eye with her hand
Henna powder itself is green in color, but the stain it leaves behind is usually an orange-red color.
Alright, I just ran out of steam, nothing more to say.  Now please enjoy the remainder of these photos...

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Eventually we all must come to the realization that there is something greater than ourselves.

CUP0011020 - Woman in field of flowers

May your quest for truth be consistent,
BXP0035885 - Woman in meditative pose

your piety authentic,
BXP0035884 - Woman in meditative pose

and the peaceful, loving, hopeful, humbling spirit of Jesus, the son of God, be with you.

AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign
Peace Out until next time...

Disclaimer: none of the businesses or people that I promote throughout this blog are paying me to advertise; nor do we have any other type of business agreement.  It's simple: when I like something I share the information.  My intention is to spread love the old fashioned way, by word of mouth, with no agenda. 

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