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    Temp Tat News — henna plant

    History Of Mehndi And Traditional Uses Of The Henna Plant

    History Of Mehndi And Traditional Uses Of The Henna Plant

    Everyone once in a while someone asks me how the whole henna body art tradition started, so I thought I would share part of the answer here with an excerpt from my book MEHNDI, The Art of Henna Body Painting--the first book on henna in the United States (she said without bragging)!

    "Believe it or not, the practice of mehndi started out as an answer to the need for air-conditioning in the desert. The henna plant, whose botanical name is Lawsonia inermis and which comes from the Loosestrife family, has several medicinal properties, chief among them its ability to cool down the human body. When the desert people of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat became aware of henna's cooling properties, they dipped their hands and feet in a mud or paste made with the crushed leaves of the plant. Even when the mud was scraped off, they noticed that as long as the color remained visible, their body temperatures stayed low.

    Eventually, some women grew tired of bright red palms and found that one large central dot in the palm of the hand had the same effect, while being more pleasing to the eye. Other, smaller dots were placed around the center dot, which gradually gave way to the idea of creating outright artistic designs. To that end, a thin instrument made of silver or ivory (in India) or wood (in Morocco), then most commonly used for applying kohl to the eyes, became the instrument of choice for henna applications, and it is still in use in desert villages today. Only in the last 30 years or so have the popular Indian cone and Moroccan syringe, both of which are able to deposit the thinnest filaments of henna onto the skin, come into play as modern counterparts of the simple stick."

    Today, while most henna artists prefer to use soft squeeze plastic applicator bottles otherwise used for silk screening, which come in our Earth Henna temporary tattoo kits, some still love using the Indian cone. What's your favorite way to apply a henna tattoo?

    * Photo from Le Henné, Plante du Paradis by Michèle Maurin Garcia

    About That Solar Eclipse

    About That Solar Eclipse

    Unless you were kidnapped and deprived of all contact with the world, you know that the hottest topic for the last two weeks was the solar eclipse, which took place on Monday, August 21, beginning at 9:05 am until 10:21 am PST. The eclipse was also referred to as--my favorite new word--totality.

    I wanted to know what it all meant. Not the scientific explanation about what would be taking place in the sky; I mean its significance. How the coming together of the sun and the moon or the dominance of the moon over the sun (even though the sun shines 400,000 times brighter than her) would play out in our lives down here on Earth. 

    It's no secret that the gravitational forces of the moon effectuate the rise and fall of ocean tides. 60% of our human bodies are composed of water, hence the moon's influences over our inner tidal waves, as well. So I went looking around to ascertain how the energetic consequences of totality might manifest in our lives. What I learned was that we could expect to see rapid and sudden changes, and have to face them in uncomfortable ways. Yikes! I thought. Everyone hates change, right? Especially unexpected changes. But after investigating further, I came to understand that having to find alternate pathways to mitigate these shifts would eventually usher in positive results. Yay! OK, possible hardship before getting to the good stuff. I can deal with that. And deal with, I certainly did have to.

    The way I experienced the solar eclipse was that everything started going bonkers. My best-laid plans suddenly went to hell, and drama arrived with suitcases in tow. Add to that the occurrence of Mercury in retrograde (which screws with communication), and things got heavy real fast. Repercussions are still unfolding. I'm praying hard for that positive ending!

    Meanwhile, as the drama unfolded, I was seeing so many gorgeous pictures of that mysterious black hole in the sky that I felt a flash urge to draw a tattoo of the solar eclipse on my body. I pulled out my jagua temporary tattoo supplies and placed a $.25 coin in my left hand. I drew a circle around it, then dropped the quarter and filled it in with jagua gel. I suddenly had that mystical black hole, the lunar eclipse of the sun, right there in the palm of my hand!

    I instinctively created the moon on my left side, the feminine side and inner aspect of our creative life force, right there for me to see at all times. And let me tell you, I have a hard time looking away from it. It wants to pull me in! Our right side represents our male aspect. The obvious next urge was to draw the sun, the symbol of our male and external self, on my right hand. And for that, henna was the obvious choice--naturally reddish brown, so reminiscent of that fiery orb in the sky. I used one of the stencils that come in our Earth Henna Temporary Tattoo Kit and used it to draw the sun in my palm. (see above photo). 

    I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have these temporary tattoos in the palms of my hands, and I am happily reminded of how easy it is to create meaningful symbols with our products.

    Lastly, I love knowing that when I put my two hands together in prayer pose, as I often do in yoga class, I am uniting these two aspects of myself, and in my own way, achieving totality.

    If you feel like creating your own symbols, visit www.earthhenna.com. We're currently offering 15% OFF all kits, and free shipping with any purchase over $35!

     

     

    Face Tattoos a Grandmother Could Love

    Face Tattoos a Grandmother Could Love

    Last week's Hufpost Culture featured a wonderful article about photographer Yumna Al-Arashi's quest to document the origins of her grandmother's time-honored tradition of facial tattoos. It turns out there are several motives behind the lines, dots and symbols that adorn the faces of the women whose stories were in danger of disappearing, along with the women themselves--the women she interviewed are aged between late 70s and 109!

    One of the women she spoke to told her: “I wanted them to show my beauty, to highlight it. Every beautiful woman had tattoos. They symbolize my power, my beauty, and my ability to connect to the Earth. It’s something I’m so proud of.” 

    It turns out that the tattoos are "a symbol of matriarchal power" and also believed to protect from evil spirits, just like henna and jagua. Love it! If you're interested, you can read all about the magical beliefs and traditions surrounding henna iand jagua n my books Mehndi, The Art of Henna Body Painting and Jagua, A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon.

    I have to admit that when I see people walking around urban areas with facial tattoos, I usually think: bad idea. But looking at the photos of these graceful women and their facial tattoos, my first thought was: gorgeous.

    Photo by Yumna Al-Arashi, as published in Huffpost

    We've Gone International!

    We've Gone International!

    "And, if you are going to Outside Lands, Bonnaroo, Coahella, etc.

    --for the first or tenth time--you will impress the other revelers

    with your deviant, dark jagua tattoos."

    "So, if you are contemplating getting a real tattoo, Earth Henna's

    Black Jagua Temporary Tattoo Kit might be 

    the safest way to test out some designs before committing."

    From SOMA Magazine's Spring Fashion Issue    

    Just have to share! Earth Henna is featured in the April/May issue of SOMA Magazine, and we couldn't be prouder. Thank you to Leah Tassinari and all the great people at SOMA for including us in the coolest new wave magazine in the world! Here is a reprint of the entire article. Let SOMA know you like it by clicking here. Thank you!

     

     Hailed internationally as the seminal voice and vision of independent, avant-garde arts, fashion, culture and design for 27 years, SOMA Magazine has cultivated immense organic appeal and forged its place within the thriving creative industries and communities the world over.  

     

    Prepare yourself for an onslaught of “woke” Instagram posts and hippie-chic clothing lines flooding your Facebook feed; Festival season is upon us! As influencers and techies alike swarm the once desolate fields, swaying to the latest EDM mashups, clothing becomes scarce and glitter and flower crowns become apropos; mild appropriation occurs as fashionistas naively don cornrows or feathers purchased at the nearest fast-fashion retailer; and every sad sob stuck in an office rolls his or her eyes, feigning indifference at what, admittedly, looks like a damn good time. Henna, traditionally used for social occasions in select Eastern cultures (most recognizably in Indian weddings), has also recently become a trend in the fashion and festival worlds, with floral scrolls and linear abstractions climbing up the wrists of many a festival frolicker. Earth Henna, a family owned business, foresaw this trend when they started their business back in 1997 and branched out to offer creative kits as well as unique dye colors to stand out from the rest of the temporarily-tattooed crowd.

    Husband and wife duo, Pascal Giacomo and Carine Fabius, opened the first henna tattoo studio in the United States. It was through this direct work with pleased customers that the idea to package and sell henna kits was born. The pair earned media accolades for their work, and Fabius even published a book on the art form. Nowadays, henna artists can be hired for weddings and kits can be bought online or at certain retailers, so frankly, what sets Earth Henna apart is not obvious at first. However, the brand has a unique story and a commitment to keeping the product natural that distinguish it from others.

    Reading the Earth Henna story is almost like delving into The Alchemist — if you close your eyes, you can almost picture Giacomini wandering like a shepherd through the deserts of Morocco. In the Sahara Desert, Giacomini learned about the henna harvesting process, where a family of henna farmers showed him the mill where dried leaves were turned into powder for application. After finding the source for the tattoos, Giacomini and Fabius then proceeded to improve the shelf life while still keeping the product natural. After a plethora of tests and trial runs, their flagship product was born.

    After the success and popularity of the traditional “red” henna kits, customers began to inquire about black henna that mimics real tattoos, and so began the second international research journey. This trip brought Giacomini to the Peruvian Amazon where he met the very primal tribe of Matsés Indians in the jungle. After begrudgingly welcoming him into their community, they showed him the jagua fruit and the processes used to create all natural, non-harmful jagua tattoos, i.e. temporary, all-natural, black tattoos.

    So, if you are contemplating getting a real tattoo, Earth Henna’s Black Jagua Temporary Tattoo Kit might be the safest way to test out some designs before committing. The kits also come with stencils if you don’t know what design you want, or if you just recently had five espresso shots. And, if you are going to Outside Lands, Bonnaroo, Coachella, etc. — for the first or tenth time — you will impress the other revelers with your deviant, dark jagua tattoos.

    Text by Leah Tassinari

    jagua tattoo

    Photo courtesy of Violetta Villacorta

    Visit us at www.earthhenna.com!

    For the Love of Mehndi

    For the Love of Mehndi

    Mehndi, the Indian word for henna temporary body art, is the perfect thing to talk about on Valentine’s Day! For those who may not be familiar with the history and cultural practices surrounding henna tattoos in India, it’s all about love. The henna plant is believed to be infused with the positive power of the saints, so if your body is adorned with henna you can expect love, luck and prosperity to come your way.

    All Indian brides have their hands and feet painted with henna because, Indians say, the darker the color of her henna designs, the longer the love will last between the couple. So it follows that after her mehndi application, the bride-to-be becomes a de facto princess. She is not allowed to do any washing, cooking or other household chores as they may affect the quality of the henna stain. It has to be especially dark on the day of the wedding! They actually wrap the woman’s hands and feet in cotton or cloth to protect her gorgeous henna tattoos.

    I’d like to be able to sit back and let people serve me and take care of me after getting a henna design, but alas, I am already married. That’s okay, though, because I can still groove on the extra love permeating my body, soul and psyche, thanks to the henna gods!

    Need a dose of love on Valentine’s Day? That’s easy. Grab yourself an Earth Henna Temporary Tattoo Kit from www.earthhenna.com (we even have a Hearts & Valentine’s Stencil Pack that comes free with our Valentine’s special Henna Kits Bundle Package), and let the love roll in.