Tag Archives: 1800s

The Magic of the Mandans- a Look at the O-kee-pa

O-Kee-Pa is the name given to a religious and spiritual rite among the Mandan tribe. It was done yearly when the willow trees along the rivers were in full bloom. It recalls a time when a great flood killed all the inhabitants of the world, and the first Mandan survived on a great canoe. A bird came to them with a willow branch in full bloom and showed them back to land, where they settled and lived out the rest of the tribe’s life. Each year, they recreate this ceremony, and welcome warriors into the tribe after a ritual of fasting, and body suspension, as well as pray to the gods for food, fertility, and fortune. This us one of the most well documented and known ritual practices of suspension, although even still documentation is scarce. Few outsiders were lucky enough to witness this ceremony, however, those that were published some records of it to keep these traditions alive. The book O-kee-pa was originally authored by an American painter named George Catlin in 1867. It covers his month-long stay with the Mandan Indigenous Peoples in 1832. Catlin, formerly a lawyer turned painter, spent years living among Indigenous peoples, painting them and documenting their unique way of life. He quickly realized war and disease were encroaching on the western tribes and rushed to document their lives. It is this book, referenced by Fakir Musafar in Dances Sacred and Profane as one of the inspirations for him to do the O-Kee-Pa and meet the Great Spirit. Continue reading

Bosoms, Body Modification, and the Beau Monde: A Look at Victorian Nipple Piercings

1600-1800’s France was an interesting and wild time, historically speaking. Everyone was partying at the palace of Versailles, a symbol of all the opulence the world could offer. King Louis was regularly drawing the ire of the church for the debauchery his palace and it’s infamous parties were known for. Fashions were getting outrageous and necklines on gowns were getting lower and lower till it was fashionable to show a whole breast at court. 1 This style was sometimes referred to as “Garments of the Grand Neckline” referencing how low the neck of these dresses would dip- sometimes to the navel.  Continue reading