22 Jun Introducing Beholding Beauty
It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the launch of the new Beholding Beauty website on the Summer Solstice, a time of celebration, contemplation, cleansing and renewal and also a time to lift our energy and manifest our dreams.
According to ancient myth, dreams experienced during a midsummer night are destined to come true and it is my dream that this website will help to embrace a more diverse, authentic and harmonious conception of inner and outer beauty rather than the artificial and often “dis-eased” concept of modern society.
Since time immemorial, our ancestors have commemorated this day with rituals and ceremonies to honour mankind’s connection to the Sun, the source of light and existence. The Druids celebrated the marriage of heaven and earth, just as the Mayans and the Aztecs oriented their mind and spirits to the sun’s passage. For the Chinese, the day marks a celebration of yin, the earth and femininity, whilst the Christians harvest golden flowered mid-summer plants that possess miraculous healing powers such as Calendula and St. John’s Wort.
The Summer Solstice is a time of enlightenment, to ‘stand still’ and reflect upon the beginnings of a new epoch, and I trust it marks the right time to launch a project that not only pays tribute to the authentic beauty of women around the world, but also seeks answers in how to preserve it by using the ancient arts of beautification. We can learn a great deal from our ancestors, their ancient knowledge, their rituals, their applications and their adornments.
In my personal capacity, I have travelled to some remote areas and spent time with indigenous groups trying to understand their arts of health preservation and medicinal plant knowledge, while the grace and authenticity of their beautiful women, who I believe are the perfect ambassadors of their unique but rapidly vanishing cultures, served as models for this endeavour.
The photographs I have taken of these women in their original environments as well as their beautification methods will be featured in a series of books. The first volume of this series is about the Horn of Africa and I enthusiastically look forward to its release. A preview will be soon featured on the website, so I encourage everyone to take a look.
I have been entrusted with recipes and applications from the keepers of knowledge, which in exchange, I hope to present to a wider audience in the form of the Kanon Kosmetika, an encyclopaedic inventory of plants and recipes.
Through this website, I hope you enjoy the reflections of my travels and understand the importance of safeguarding the originality of these people, their cultures and their knowledge, before they are lost forever.
The medicinal and aromatic plants used by the locals are endangered as much as the cultivators themselves.
I therefore intend to support together with your help existing plantations and bio-nurseries and find ways for these precious materials to enter the markets in a manner that is mutually beneficial to all.
This would not only help to preserve nature and sustain rural businesses, but would also allow the developed world access to a variety of marvelous products and recipes.
As some of you know, we have started an independent project called Global Gardens to support the preservation and re-plantation of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP). Please see www.amonbe.org.
It would be wonderful to witness a resurrection of these endangered plants, to see the locals prosper from a fair trade whilst we at last get access to a wide variety of plants and profit from the wisdom of the Elders.
I look forward to hearing from your comments and any further suggestions you may have in supporting this project.