Henna Magic: Crafting Charms and Rituals
Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is defined as possessing dark green leaves, small white flowers and being utilized for thousands of years as both a dye and medicinal aid. Its point of origin however has been a matter of debate.
Henna paste has been a part of mystic symbolism and decorations for over five thousand years. Henna has been used by the Egyptians as part of the mummification process, by the Romans to dye their hair before going into battle, and some believe, by the goddess cults of ancient China. Henna is now used in a variety of cultures and is even used as protection against the evil eye.
Henna Magic states that “magic” references the magical arts of magi, the Zoroastrian priests of ancient Persia. That magic can be viewed as an unseen force or energy that surrounds and binds us all — permeating everything in life. This allows henna to be used as a medium in spells, rituals and castings. Modern magic dictates an adherence to three basic laws: harm no other, avoid outward manipulation of other’s will and keep your magic to yourself. Magic is not restricted to any particular religion, so Christians, Jews, Pagans, or Wiccans can participate.
Henna magick has been a part of numerous cultural rituals particularly pregnancy, weddings and even funerals. A practice of the Rajput women of India, sati, is where a woman voluntarily, or in some cases is forced, to burn themselves upon their husband’s funeral pyre. These “virtuous women” are revered as goddesses and believed to ascend straight to heaven. They would traditionally leave hand prints in henna on the walls of their home and dress in their wedding garb before committing themselves to the fire. While this tradition has been outlawed since 1829, there are still reports of incidents as late as 2008.
Philippa Faulks’ Henna Magic provides not only a detailed history, but also takes you through a step-by-step process on how to create your own henna, where to find pastes, how to mix them properly and techniques involved in the application process. It also gives some basic examples on how to enact the types of magick associated with henna and offers a warning against PPD or “black henna” making it an informative read for those looking to venture into this sacred body art. (288 pages paperback, Llewellyn Publishing)