I have mentioned before that right now I am currently reading this book called The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington. A lot of what I am going to write about today is based from what I read from their book. So for those who don't want to have the book's content spoiled I would read no further! This is just a bit of what I took from the book.
'Cosmetics were originally magical in nature. Make-up, a part of magical rites, was deemed necessary for the protection of the body.' (S.C. & D.H.)
Maybe I really should be more aware of how I do my make-up in the morning when I know I will be 'practicing'. In truth I usually don't do my make-up at all if I am aware I will be doing something significant. I guess I have this romance of an all natural idea. Cunningham and Harrington go on to talk about how cosmetics were used to heal the sick, preventing evil from entering the body, warding off dangers... When I picture this I see bodies painted with many symbols each with their own meaning and purpose. Really though just your average everyday make-up can have significance as well. Cunningham and Harrington mention a little on how the Egyptians would oval outline their eyes with kohl, both men and women, so that the evil eye could not pass.
I am not sure about anyone else but I had to look up exactly what the evil eye was since I had only ever heard about it in the newer Sleepy Hallow movie. What I read, which wasn't too much so don't quote me on this, gave me the jist that it is when someone sort of has ill intent almost like a hex. It can bring injury or misfortune to the person whom it is directed at. So I guess its not all that complicated.
Moving along though, the Egyptians also used colors of importance. Painting their upper eyelids blue and lower lids green was thought to strengthen their physic ability as well as protection. Lipstick was used to keep evil from entering as well. While make-up is now more directed towards beauty cosmetic magic is still around, more so in certain parts of the world that others but its not gone completely. Egyptians are not the only ones who recognized the importance of color. It is commonly known throughout the magical community that colors are of great importance.
Continuing to read I realized that just about every act of getting ready for the day is its own ritual, can have its own purpose if we are just aware of it. Eye shadows, lipsticks, perfumes, colognes, oils, all of this can have a purpose in magic. Hair was discussed a bit more in depth. 'Combing and brushing the hair is another daily activity loaded with magical overtones.' (S.C. & D.H.) I had never heard before that some thought that cutting ones hair is considered superstitious and believed to decrease power. I know in the past the Japanese (samurai if I am remembering right) used to never cut there hair unless defeated in battle. It was a sign of insult and disrespect if another cut their hair knot. Anyways, Cunningham and Harrington do say that cutting your hair won't really decrease your ability to preform effective magic seeing as how the entire body is a manifestation of power not just your hair.
All through their book I can't help but smile at little things like when they talk about braiding hair. They said it was once a common practice designed to foil negativity. That the knots or intertwingings spoiled baneful spells and also guarded the head. I braid my hair almost every single night. Not with the intention of protecting myself from negativity but to ward off the evil horrors of bed head in the morning. All you curly haired girls out there know what I am talking about right?!
Ok so since the post is turning out to be much longer than I first anticipated I will just talk about two more things mentioned in the book that I thought were interesting. 'If you wish to remain passionate, don't brush your hair after dark. This is a sure-fire way to lose your desire for sex.' - (S.C. & D.H.) Ok.... well.... so maybe I really only have one more thing to talk about. You know I had a string of thoughts that I thought I would put to words because of this but now... I think it is better that I keep those thoughts to myself. *wink*
And lastly '...an old Persian spell instructs us to stand in the dark before a mirror, combing or brushing the hair without thinking, speaking or otherwise moving. Ghosts should appear in the glass.' - (S.C. & D.H.) I couldn't help but wonder if this is where many of the ghost stories/games we hear as children started. Bloody Mary, and the Candy Man, ect. I as a child was always much too terrified to participate in these games and often was stricken with paralyzing fear when around those who did play the game. It often led to me wide eyed, and heart going a hundred miles and hour, standing outside the bathroom door with the light on listening as my friends repeated the various names. Then later on I alone was awake late at night convinced that the only reason no ghost appeared for them was because the spirit knew that I really believed in them and was definitely more afraid than the rest of my friends and was waiting to come and get me instead of them. Too this day there isn't a soul on this earth who could convince me to play one of these 'games'.
You know I have always had a weird..... nevermind I had this long paragraph written out about mirrors but I will save that for another day maybe wait until letter M week rolls around, since this post is supposed to be about Cosmetics. Anyways I think next week I am going to maybe stick with the whole cosmetic topic but this time maybe try and throw in a little bit of personal experience, some different sources other than Cunningham and Harrington's book. I feel like this post is a bit dry but I am happy with it I hope that you all enjoyed it. I will try to work on writing about things a bit more interesting with the following weeks. I have to admit that I am still a little bit at a loss of how to approach this whole thing. We will see where it all ends up though. =) Very excited to see what other people came up with for the this week!