Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ears of the Sacred and the Profane; A Body Mod for All

The stretched lobes of gods, goddesses, demigods, spiritually gifted, tribal communities, etc. are beautiful to me. For Buddha, (referring to Siddhartha specifically rather than other Bodhi Bodies) it was a matter of him being a rich prince in a culture that expected the rich to stretch and fill with all manner of (heavy) jewelry. Of course, once he became ascetic, the lobes remained...

And because he was so wise, and patient, the lobes became a symbol for wisdom and patience and were mimicked by many buddhists...

Wisdom and patience, and the transition into adulthood, were also indicated with stretches from many native tribes- where it was (is) honored to have long lobes (often beginning the stretches in childhood...) , and this practice continues... These tribes, past and present, include the Maya, Aztec, Masai, Dayak, Thai Hill Tribes, Pokot, Dogon, Kudi, Lobi, Samburu (i'm gonna stop here...)

King Tut's ears appear to be small compared to the others above, but he died when he was nineteen. Statuary of pharohs that made it into old age have the very large stretch, like the woman in the photo above, which was probably cause by the wearing of large, heavy earrings. His ears would have always been filled with gold in honor of the sun god...

My honor for this tradition has nothing to do with most of the kids walking around Hot Topic in the mall; for them, this is usually a fashion statement (which to me is a body modification which is little different than breast implants and just about as common). But when you see it embraced in a calming and sacred manner, it becomes calming and sacred itself.

It isn't novel. It isn't weird. I wonder, if we explained to the Masai our obsession with breast implants, face lifts, hair transplants, etc. whether they would point, snigger, and judge?

An aside: My ears are stretched to fit a ten gauge earring- allowing me to wear organics which are produced from bone, horn, antler, wood, etc. Initially, I did this precisely to wear these beautiful organics, and over time, have come to appreciate that there was a bit more than a fashion statement going on with me, and the stretching. And though I am going to stop at an eight gauge, I can't promise that I won't look like the old lady in the pictures when I'm all wrinkly, and shelling peas on my front porch. I think she's beautiful...

This change of attitude happened with my tattoos also- with the initial one being a piece of trash flash that I pick off the wall at a parlor when I was seventeen, and the one I am getting in September having much much soulful meaning to me.

When archaeologists find my body, it's going to be of much interest!


  1. When archaeologists find your bod, your skin will be gone better plant yourself with photos.

    You inspired me to stretch when you came over and showed me your first pair of organics...I was hooked in a minute, and at first it was just to get my ears into a pair. But something else started happening during the stretch (8 gauge for about a year...contemplating a 6). I started to FEEL more SOULFULL.

    Thanks for the history lesson. Enjoyed it.

  2. TRACIE- if you guys will promise to throw me in a bog, then they will get to see my tatts...


  3. My ears are at 14 now. I think I want to go to 10 to wear the organics, too. I love how those look.
    You have inspired me to go for it.