When I was writing about my main character Willow, in my debut novel Magick, I wanted to show her magick physically so that it would be visible to the other characters. I thought about permanent tattoos and felt like this would be too much for my character as she is adjusting to her magick. Although her magick is permanent itself, in the story it grows with her acceptance of who she is. So herein lied my problem, I needed a way to physically describe Willow’s magick in a way that was both internal and external. Also, the magick needed the ability to expand over her body in a design fashion. The solution that immediately popped into my brain – Henna.
I’ve had henna designs done when I was a teenager, and remember paying someone $10 at a fair for a design that was fairly small on my fingers and hand. It looped in a vine like a pattern and it would have been easy to continue up my arm and carry onward had I had the extra money for it. When I started writing this story, I bought henna from Amazon and played with designs on my feet. This helped me description wise and gave me base knowledge, in my story, for Willow’s glowing magick on the surface of her skin. I researched more about henna and was curious as to its history. (Leave it to a writer to get sidetracked in research.) Henna for body art has been used for centuries. It was used for religious ceremonies, wedding festivals, and for simple body art. It’s traditionally used for rites of passage. This fit my main character Willow perfectly, in my book Magick and because I had a rough outline for the follow-up book, Reign, I was aware of the particular trajectory her story will take.
Henna is a plant and is used in some cultures beyond body adornment and more for health. Most research I’ve read give claims that henna helps reduce the inflammation in one’s body by detoxification. There are other benefits noted, for hair loss, headaches, and skin protection. I decided to try henna for my own health purposes and had it made with added lavender essential oils from SARAHENNA in Kirkland, Washington. It was absolutely fantastic! The smell, the consistency, it was beautiful. A different experience than my Amazon blinded buy in the past to play with designs on my feet. I had pure henna, and WOW you can feel the difference. Note: I’m not an affiliate for SARAHENNA in any way, just a consumer who enjoyed their product. None the less, I did feel good with my designs I applied, although they were small. I’m not sure I had the health benefits, but I was relaxed with the lavender for two days. I’m not a novice to lavender essential oils – it’s my go-to oil. Be mindful that if you see advertisements for black henna (or any other colored henna) – know this is simply not made from the natural henna plant. It maybe black hair dye or other chemicals, make sure and check the ingredients. Henna produces a brown/amber reddish color on your skin depending on how long you leave the paste on. When the paste is applied, it’s thick and brown.
For my character, I wanted the color to be glowing and apparent on her skin – something you could see in the dark and a few feet away from her. I went Pinterest crazy and loved looking at the henna wedding designs with temporary white paste. I found a picture with a filter (black light) that illuminated the white design in a blue glow hue and boom – Willow’s magick was born! It all connected for me because Wiccans are naturalist and henna is a plant, the wedding traditional white paste is temporary, and for Willow, her magick designs only show when she is calling internally to use her magick, i.e., the hum. So although, I’m writing to a mystical, magical force for Willow’s powers I came to the concept in an organic way. Which was great fun and that I will continue to enjoy henna, it’s art, design, and potential health benefits.
What has inspired you lately? A quote, a piece of art? Share below in the comments and inspire others.
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PS. If you’re ever curious as to what is inspiring me, check out my Pinterest page. A few WIPs (Works In Progress) with fun storyboards of characters, clothes, spells, and other fun bits. Pinterest is my addiction and ever evolving.