Pagan Studies – Medieval Beauty
The Rose – Legend has it that the first rose bloomed in Garden of Eden. It was white, till Eve kissed. It blushed, turning red. Ever since then red roses, symbol of love, are grown world over. Older than man, it has survived Ice Age, floods and famine. Rose fossils of over 30 million years have been found, it being the first flower ever cultivated and cherished by man in all civilisations.
Dedicated to Goddess Venus, as a mark of love and beauty, the rose was considered most sacred, fit alone for offerings at temples of ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis. Symbolic of purity, it is associated with Virgin Mary, also called the Mystical Rose. Interestingly a rosary implies a rose garland, even a rose garden.
During a Roman feast, rose garlands hung on walls, its petals carpeting the floors. Guests wore crowns of roses to prevent heady effects of drinking wine. Dishes were garnished with chopped rose petals. Rose baths were taken to preserve youth and beauty.
Crushed roses were applied to the face overnight, to smoothen out wrinkles. Roman brides wore rosette crowns in honour of Flora, Goddess of Love.
Cleopatra received Mark Antony in her palace, in a sea of knee-deep roses. Nero paid one tonne gold for a shipment of Egyptian rose petals. The red rose was so highly prized that it substituted for rent! The great demand led to extensive rose plantations in Italy and Egypt, which historians opine could have been instead used for food.
Medieval Beauty – Every part of a woman’s face would be painted with some type of cosmetic, and many women during the Middle Ages would sun-bleach their hair. Medieval fashion prompted young women to pluck their hairline giving them a higher forehead. A wedding might be the one time a woman would wear her hair loose. Others would weave flowers into their hair to make a floral crown.
Upper-class women did not wear make-up in the mid-1870s, however they had many beauty secrets of their own. Many women wore perfume from the drugstore, used skin-softening lotions on their hands and face, and used freckle water to get rid of blemishes. They also used rice powder to make their skin look whiter, as paleness signified not having to work and was a sign of beauty and status. After making their face pale, many women bit their lips and pinched their cheeks to get a red, healthy glow.
Elder Flower – Take of the best almond or olive oil, one pound; elder flowers (free from stalk), two ounces; place the flowers in the oil in a jar or wide-mouthed bottle; let them remain forty eight hours; then strain. The oil must now stand in a quiet and cool place at least a month, in order to clear itself. The bright part being poured off, is fit for use. If considered too strong, plain oil may be added.
Milk Of Roses is made thus: Put two ounces of rose-water, a teaspoon of oil of almonds, and twelve drops of oil of tartar, into a bottle, and shake the whole till well mixed.
Tortoise Shell Combs – When plain tortoise-shell combs are defaced, the polish may be removed by rubbing them with pulverized rotten-stone and oil. The rotten-stone should be sifted through muslin; then polish with jeweller’s rouge, or with sifted magnesia.
Freckles – -The favorite cosmetic for removing freckles in Paris is an ounce of alum and an ounce of lemon-juice in a pint of rose-water.
To Restore Hair.-Hair, when removed by illness or old age has been restored by the following simple means; though they are not likely too prove efficacious to all cases. Rub the bald places frequently with an onion.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the beeswax and almond oil until the wax is melted.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mix into a small tin container, like the ones you get for lip gloss.
Let cool. Use on pulse points
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