The Utopian Newsletter : Henna Issue July 18, 2018
What the HECK IS HENNA?!
Darcy Vasudev of Henna Lounge tells all…
Darcy is the mastermind and artist behind Henna Lounge.
Who is Darcy?
An internationally certified henna artist, Darcy Vasudev is one of the most influential artists in her field, with over 15 years of professional experience and an international following. Known for her iconic style that mixes traditional and contemporary motifs, Darcy’s designs often “go viral” on Pinterest and Instagram.
Darcy specializes in destination wedding mehndi and creative retreats in Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Cuba, and Europe. She is also a sought after henna instructor, and has taught at the world’s largest henna conference, as well as smaller conferences internationally.
Darcy mixes her henna by hand for each event, from organic ingredients sourced from around the world. The supplies she uses on her clients are now available to the public at www.hennaguru.com.
Her henna artwork has been featured in an impressive array of publications as well as in the short film, Blank Canvas. Despite all the kudos and press, Darcy shies away from the spotlight. She prefers one on one time with her clients, many of whom have become dear friends. When she’s not drawing on people or traveling, she chills in Oakland with her rescued 3 cats, dog, and boyfriend. She’s not sure who rescued whom.
What the heck is Henna?
The humble plant, lawsonia inermis, aka henna/hina (Arabic) or mehndi (Hindi), has more than 5000 years of recorded history of usage as a medicinal, cosmetic, and ceremonial herb. Native to what is now called Egypt, its use spread along trade routes, reaching as far east as China and as far west as southern Europe (chances are pretty good that YOU have an ancestor who used henna!). Color your hair or paint your nails? Those seemingly mundane activities are simply a continuation of the usage of henna, the original reddish tinted nail and hair color. Also, because henna is naturally anti-fungal, it was used to treat conditions such as athlete’s foot and dandruff, bringing beauty and a cure in one step.
Other folkloric medicine from the henna plant include treatments for flu, fever, heat-stroke, intestinal parasites, lice, skin irritations, and malaria prevention. Ceremonial usage of henna was often to avoid the “evil eye”. Many illnesses were attributed to mysterious evil forces, and henna was believed to contain “baraka” which is a sort of spiritual life force. Today we know that henna actually has naturally occurring compounds which are now being studied by the medical community, including within anti-cancer research, however designs to avert bad-fortune are still popular.
The most famous usage of henna, decorative designs created before a wedding, is a tradition across many cultures and is thought to bring luck, love, prosperity, fertility, and health to the happy couple. It is also a way of marking and blessing the transition from one stage of life to the next and while the design lasts, a bride is exempt from cooking and cleaning. Sometimes puzzles are incorporated into the henna, such as the North Indian game of hiding the groom’s name in the henna design, which he must find before consummating the marriage. It is also thought that the darker the henna stain, the more your mother in law will love you!
Henna to celebrate a pregnancy is thought to bring luck to the mother and child during delivery, and in some places, henna is applied once again 45 days after birth which is a signal to the partner that sexual relations can resume. Traditionally, henna was only applied to hands and feet for pregnancy, and the belly bump decorations popular in the west are a modern interpretation. Henna is also believed to enhance fertility, so many henna patterns contain motifs representing fertility. Henna has also been adopted for religious holidays, including Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Christian and Pagan holidays, and around harvest times as a form of purification and celebration. It’s not uncommon to apply henna more casually throughout the year as well, to prevent illness, to attract love and luck, to prevent a husband’s eye from wandering, or simply as a fun decorative cosmetic and form of self-care.
Probably the most wonderful part of henna is how it brings people together. Spending time holding hands and talking with close friends and family is one of the most precious gifts to give and receive. Some people may call henna a “trend”, but with over 5000 years of continuous use, there has got to be a better word!
words by Darcy Vasudev of Henna Lounge
Find out more at HennaLounge.com
THE ART OF MIXING HENNA
Watch this video by Darcy
How to make Henna : From Powder to Paste
Check our favorite henna designs by Darcy :
Upcoming Retreats with Henna :
Yoga + ART Retreat in Cuba
November 6-11, 2018 w/ Henna Lounge & Colectivo Art
Cuba is THE place to visit before ‘things change’. Come experience this incredible culture and its people with us this fall. We will take you through the streets of Havana like a local eating at the best private restaurants, enjoying specialty cocktails on rooftops, learning how to take the best photos, henna adornment by Darcy, yoga with Christina, and art gallery and studio visits with Aimee.
Yoga + ART Retreat in Morocco
October 6-13, 2018 w/ BONE by Dawn
Yoga + ART retreat in Morocco this fall is filled with quintessential Moroccan experiences. Camel rides along the beach, painting workshop with a local artist, jewelry and hat-making workshops with Dawn, a day trip to Marrakech to see the sites, visit the newly opened Yves Saint-Laurent museum, and hand pick freshly dyed yarn to create your own wall hanging back in Essaouira.
Enjoy henna adornment, yoga classes, creative workshops, happy hours, and live music all in the laid-back, picturesque seaside fishing village on the edge of Morocco. Don’t miss this epic Yoga + ART retreat!
Yoga Retreats in Morocco
Spring and Fall dates 2018 & 2019
Our Yoga retreats in Morocco run in the Spring and Fall of each year offering a gorgeous example of the different weathers in Morocco. They are filled with quintessential Moroccan experiences. Camel rides along the beach, painting workshop with a local artist, inspired yoga practices, a day trip to Marrakech to see the sites, tagine cooking classes, a pampering spa day, henna adornment, and so much more.
We have been traveling with yoga groups to Morocco for the past 7 years! It’s one of our very favorite spots on the planet and we love to share it with our traveling yogis. These retreats fill quickly so get yourself involved and don’t miss our sought-after Yoga Retreats in Morocco!