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Photo of Brigantes Tribal dancing at Beltane at Thornborough Henge by S’ana Yates.
It’s summer– I just returned from camping at Thornborough Henge (The Stonehenge of the North) for the Beltane Festival there. I danced with my American Tribal Style® Belly Dance Troupe, Brigantes Tribal, during the festival which is held in the Neolithic henge every year. Despite the freezing temperatures and crazy winds, we honoured our ancestors and the goddess of this place– Brigantia– closely tied to a much older goddess, Bride or Brigid who is the goddess of poetry, brewing, healing and smithcraft. All are vocations I have undertaken in my life and in many ways this goddess has guided me through them all.
As festival season gets into full swing, and haflas (belly dance parties) start happening almost every weekend, I thought I would make some bindis!
What is a bindi? Bindu is a sanskrit word meaning dot and is traditionally worn by Hindu women as a spiritual symbol, but the bindi has grown into a fashion statement in the countries where it was traditionally worn as a red dot of power, expertly applied. It has also become an item of adornment across cultures.
The bindi’s traditional significance has many beautiful aspects– it heightens the inward gaze, and adorns the third eye chakra, which is the locus of inspiration and the place of focus in meditation.
Nothing enhances the eyes like a bindi– adding intensity and sparkle to the most expressive part of the face. I love to wear bindis while I dance, as a beautiful adornment as well as a sign of respect and honour of the roots of my dance, many of which come from classical Indian dance. Also, I couldn’t dance without my third eye– without spiritual connection and deep-mind instinct! The bindi reminds me to dance from that place, the inspired soul-mind at work.
My bindis are inspired by dance and Pagan ritual as well as myths and legends. They would enhance your ensemble at any Pagan celebration or handfasting!
My bindis are made with care to last through multiple wearings. I use spirit gum to apply mine, but others use eyelash glue and it works for them. I need something a bit more heavy duty because I can get pretty, ahem, dewy when I dance. If you choose to use spirit gum, thinly coat the back of the bindi and leave it to get tacky. Do your eyes or lips or something and come back after several minutes have passed. Place it directly on the skin and hold for a few seconds. When removing the bindi be sure to clean any makeup off the back either with olive oil or vodka will also work!