Black Spirituality Religion : Henna and Africa

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by 44Reasons, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. 44Reasons

    44Reasons Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Well the spirits,ether or whatever is stringing me(sub space harmonics).The want me to bring up this strange form of body art.

    What I find odd is when I search for African Henna they only give me North African Henna.Why are they deliberately keeping Africa out of this ancient form of art.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/6286449/North-African-Henna-vol-1-History-and-Technique

    So much emphasis on North Africa.......Geeez

    My Third eye(spider sense) is tingling.
     
  2. Alexandra

    Alexandra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Dude, there is nothing strange about Henna body art. It is a popular and very common art form. What is it that you would like to find out? Mayhaps I can be of assistance.

    Edited to add - I am British, but was born, and spent most of my formative years in Kenya. Just thought I would throw that in there.

    Henna, or Lawsonia inermis is a herb that grows wild in Egypt, Nubia, Arabia, Syri, Lebanon and Palestine. It has a sweet smell, and this quality is mentioned in Song of Solomon 1:14.

    In ancient Egypt Henna was used to guard ones livestock from the Evil Eye. In Turkey, and especially the last century, doors to the tombs of Moslem saints were outlined with Henna, again, as a form of protection against the Evil Eye. It is ofcourse believed that evil can enter a building through a door (thus the outlining of the tombs) and the body through its orifices, hence the tattoos around the lips of some indigenous tribes to this date.

    Among Moslems (North Africa is predominantly Moslem), Henna is known for its ability to repel dogs. In an article written to decode why in the bible, the dogs (which in this tale typified the spirit of evil, and we shall see why this is relevant in a little bit) consumed Jezebel, but left her skull and hands intact, it was for this very same reason. In that article, a Pakistani waitress in South Africa claimed that if one was being attacked by dogs, all that was required was the holding up of hands adorned with Henna, palms facing outwards, and the dogs would back off (again, we know that dogs are regarded as unclean by Moslems).

    Anyway, back to modern day and Henna is used for various reasons, such as healing (the hair dye is against headache, weak eyes and other complaints affecting the head, rituals (fertility), magick etc which is why I asked you initially, in what context were you researching Henna.

    Hope this helps!

    Alexandra
     
  3. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Igbo people of Nigeria (of which I am a member of), have a body art, that we call Uli:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uli_(design)

    Uli is the name given to the traditional designs drawn by the Igbo people of Nigeria.

    Uli drawings are strongly linear and lack perspective; they do, however, balance positive and negative space. Designs are frequently asymmetrical, and are often painted spontaneously. Uli generally is not sacred, apart from those images painted on the walls of shrines and created in conjunction with some community rituals.

    The drawing of uli was once practiced throughout most of Igboland, although by 1970 it had lost much of its popularity, and was being kept alive by a handful of contemporary artists. It was usually practiced by women, who would decorate each other's bodies with dark dyes to prepare for village events, such as marriage, title taking, and funerals; designs would sometimes be produced for the most important market days as well. Designs would last about a week.

    Most uli designs were named, and many differed among various Igbo regions. Some were abstract, using patterns such as zigzags and concentric circles, while others stood for household objects like stools and pots. Some represented animals such as pythons and lizards; others showed plants, like yam leaves, or heavenly bodies, including a crescent moon and stars. Still other designs depicted cutting and other actions.

    The use of uli was not limited to the human body. Igbo women would also paint murals of designs on the walls of compounds and houses. These generally used four colors which could be created from natural bases easily found in the area; black was made from charcoal, reddish brown from the camwood tree, yellow from either soil or tree bark, and white from clay. When the British arrived in the area at the turn of the twentieth century, they brought with them a commercial laundry additive which some painters used to create blue pigment. Uli was not meant to express a specific message; instead, it was meant to beautify the female body and buildings to which it was applied, as beauty is equated with morality in Igbo culture.

    Today the practice of uli is being kept alive by, among others, the artists of the Nsukka group, who have appropriated its designs and incorporated them into other media.
     
  4. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    North Africa isn't in Africa?
     
  5. Zulile

    Zulile Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I do not think henna originated from sub-sahara, and I have no knowledge of it being used in any traditional signs/rituals from the peoples there. Plenty of traditional tattoo/body paint work, but made from the combination of other plants (not henna). I am aware imported Indians use it for several purposes, but have never seen it used in African tradition there.

    Good luck with your quest - Let me know what you find out.

    :heart:
     
  6. 44Reasons

    44Reasons Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thx you alexandra from Britain,your insight on the subject was very helpful.

    As for why I am asking abut Henna is of course for magical purposes.The paragraph on the evil eye was excellent if not superb.

    Interesting though how the Arabs use it to repel Dogs...(Dog star anyone)

    But anyway,I am trying to Focus on (sacred)Geometric symbols,something along the Lines of Fractal Codes.....

    http://blog.ted.com/2007/11/ron_eglash.php
    (could'nt embed it...sigh:em0600:)

    Thx to all who participated
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    http://www.hennapage.com/journal/issue_I/article_4/page1.html
     
  8. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

     
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