Re: And her skull (hennaed hair!)

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Posted by Angie on September 6, 2002 at 17:28:22:

In reply to: Re: And her skull (hennaed hair!) posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on September 6, 2002 at 02:12:30:

: Yes, this one bears some serious analysis! First stop would be to
: the oldest texts possible. I have a friend who can do just
: Time to go visiting!

Incredible....we know henna was / is used to mark important
passages, but why just the hands and feet? What significance do they
have, as opposed to other body parts? I know I've read discussions
of the reasons before, but what do hands and feet signify? Did henna
become a sacred plant / decoration because of it's use to decorate
the hands/ feet/hair ( which were considered holy without? ) or did
the henna, staining the skin with symbols of purification and
protection, sanctify that which had a special prediliction to
becoming "polluted"? It seems clear that these areas were seen as
being susceptible to danger, both physical and spiritual; henna,
staining well as it does, would be the perfect medium to protect and
sanctify these parts by blessings and decoration.
If Jezebel's hands, feet, and hair *hadn't* been hennaed, though,
would the hounds have taken them too? Is a Middle-Eastern bride
sanctified before marriage anyway if she isn't wearing henna?

Perhaps the feet, being direct in contact with the earth,
might have been dressed with blessings of protection, and the hands,
because we express ourselves, attend to daily needs, touch others,
and use them to communicate, are especially necessary for
sacrilization ( is that a word?? ). And hounds...why not vultures,
or sows? What significance do the hounds have? If it were a taste
thing, my own dog disproves that...she loves my hennaed hands ( and
feet! Gross! ) The only link I can imagine metaphorically for the
hounds is that they're mentioned in many cultures as being
harbingers and guardians of the underworld, like Cyberus ( three
headed hell-hound ). Some of the underworld Goddesses had hounds
for companions, too...think of Hecate and Erishkigal, not to mention
the numerous fairytales that mention hounds as being minions of
Satan, or demonic companions. They left the hands, feet and skull
on the earth, but why? Were these the only parts of her that were
considered blessed / holy and could not be taken to Hell ( or
whatever they called it at the time ) ? Interesting. So many
elements here demand exploration! This is big. Thanks for sharing,


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