What is Mehndi?
Mehndi is the art of painting the body in ornate designs with henna.
Associated with transformation and transcendence, it is a beautiful and mysterious art form
that has been used for centuries to heal, to adorn and to bless.
A paste is made from the crushed leaves of the henna plant mixed with other natural ingredients,
such as eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, and black tea. The paste is applied to the skin,
and when removed several hours later, it leaves beautiful markings that last from 1 to 3 weeks.
The longevity of a mehndi design depends on many factors.
Keep in mind that each persons skin takes differently to henna, as does the area of the body you choose to adorn.
Before applying the paste, the skin must be free and clear of all other oils and dirt.
Once The Paste Is On The Skin The Real Work Begins!
YOU ARE COMMISSIONING THE ARTIST TO APPLY YOUR HENNA DESIGN, THEN IT IS UP TO YOU.
To Get The Best Results From Your Henna Experience
YOU MUST TAKE CARE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
The paste must be allowed to dry completely (20-30 min).
The longer the dried paste remains on the skin the longer the design will last, recommended time 4-6 hours.
Remove the paste with a layer of oil, or scratch off with fingers,
DO NOT TAKE IT OFF WITH WATER!
Avoid water contact for the first 24 hrs after the paste is
removed, as the color is still developing at this time.
When the paste is first removed it will appear orange, it takes
24-48 hrs for the color to finish darkening to a deep brown.
Preserve and Protect your Design by Applying a Layer of 'Mehndi Maintenance Oil' to your Design Frequently,
Especially BEFORE and AFTER Water Contact.
Short History of Mehndi
The earliest cosmetic use of henna (lawsonia inermis) was in Egypt, where the people would dye their hair and nails,
and a Pharaoh's fingers and toes would be dipped before mummification. Once the henna plant's cooling properties were discovered,
painting the skin and dying the hair with henna became a way for the people in desert climates to cool their body temperature.
For centuries mehndi has been practiced in Africa, India, Asia, the Middle East,
and Central Eurasia for various ceremonies and celebrations.
Today mehndi is still practiced in many diverse ways, from eccentric body decoration,
to healing ceremonies... Mehndi is a Magical Art
Symbols and Symbolism
Henna dyes the top layer of skin... as the skin replaces itself and exfoliates away, the designs fade.
Areas of the body with thicker layers of skin will last the longest- the hands and feet can last up to 4 weeks.
The arms, ankles, back, and belly can last up to 3 weeks. And the chest, and face will last a week at most.
The Two Best Areas of the Body for Mehndi are the Hands and the Feet.
Hands ~ the most popular and long-lasting area of the body.
Palm ~ designs invoke images of opening and offering (usually sun, flower, mandala)
Back of hand ~ acts as a shield-closing, defending, clenching-symbolizing protection.
According to Eastern Indian Palmistry
Right hand ~ Male, Projective
Left hand ~ Female, Receptive
Feet ~ the tops stain deeply & are long-lasting.
The feet are recognized as a point of divine contact, considered a holy junction,
where Human being and Earth meet.
Symbolism in Tantric Philosophy
Point (Bindu)- The Supreme Reality
Seed (Bija)- The mysterious matrix in which everything emanates and merges.
All symbols begin with the seed.
Triangle - Pointing up (Shiva)- Signifies active male principle. Resting on its base it represents fire, and the ascent to heaven.
Triangle - Pointing down (Shakti) - Signifies active female principle. Reflects all that is feminine-water, fertile valleys, and grace descending from heaven.
Six Point Star (Satkona)- Signifies union of feminine and masculine principles.
Square (Catuskona)- Stability and order. Implies honesty, dependability, and shelter.
Diamond (Vajra)- Enlightenment.
Pentagram (Pancakona)- The 5 sections symbolize elements of fire, water, earth, air, and heavens.
Circle (Cakra)- Whole, perfect, infinite.
Mandalas- Concentric forms relating to a center point. By concentrating on a mandala the viewer penetrates the many layers of reality and moves towards an inner truth.
Flowers- Joy and happiness.
Lotus Flower- The awakening of the human soul. Grace, beauty, creativity, sensuality, femininity, and purity.
Sahasrara ~thousand-petal lotus~ uniting the soul with the 'Divine Source'
Sun, Moon,and Stars- Deep and lasting love between lovers/partners.
Vines- Devotion and perseverance, invoking both tenderness and vitality.
Bird- Peacock (Mayura)~ Companion while separated from a loved one.
Bird- Swan (Hamsa)~ Success.
Scorpion (Bicchu)- Romance, its sting is analogous to Cupid's arrow.
Water- Human emotion.
Raindrops (Bundakis)~ Love and affection of a woman.
Waves (Lahariya)~ Deep passion and ecstasy.
Symbolism from Morocco
Eye - Said to mirror back the 'Evil Eye'.
Square - Magical, used to heal and protect sick.
Water - Earth's fertility.
Bird - Messenger (between heaven and earth).
Tortoise - Protection, and fertility (from its relationship to water).
Lizard - Soul's search for enlightenment.