by Darshna Parmar
I am setting the stage for this blog with an image of a dissected apple…
so …what comes to mind when you see it? this image i used in my sketch book many years ago when i was a fashion student, it was for my final collection entitled Forbidden fruits.
Apples, pomegranates, dates are all cultural references to fertility in many cultures. They are used in sexual analogy and also nature provides us with food as medicine and will often mimic what it can be used for in terms of medicine for a body part, organs and tissues. Which is an Ayurvedic phenomenon. Every food has its own combination of the six tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each of these tastes have a ratio of the five elements space, air, fire, water and earth. Which govern different parts of the body, hence it can heal the body of imbalances and be bought back to its natural state through food as medicine. Nature has a wonderful template, a sketch book of her own which we can look into now and again.
Looking back at my artwork, which feels like a past life now! i was looking at the states of consciousness i had during each phase. Artists use their work as an expression of themselves, for my final collection i wanted to do something theatrical and used the Adam and Eve story of being banished from the garden of Eden. The forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate, which is known as the original sin! as they ate this apple, encouraged by Satan, they were suddenly aware of their nakedness and felt ashamed. They were kicked out of paradise and that was the down fall of man… So to speak!
Very similar to the creation (earlier blog) story of Purusha and Prakruti, from pure awareness duality became, as did their differences . This is symbolic of Adam and Eve living in bliss, a godly state lets say in the garden of Eden, there was no conditioning, being naked in front of each other wasn’t an issue, they had not noticed their differences, just like a baby. But the result of eating an apple they covered themselves with fig leaves as shame drew upon them.I designed my dresses for the catwalk in a sheer lycra fabric embroidered with beading which looked like the inside of Figs, which covered the private areas.
Religious dogma has embedded ideas of shame and guilt in our minds. For centuries women have been abused or degraded, which has caused ancestral imprints in the DNA. The beauty of womanhood, sexuality, conception and birth has been shadowed by fear, shame and conditioning. In return the rise in reproductive cancers, menstruation problems, Cesarean births and young children struggling with eating disorders and depression as self image is distorted. It wasn’t meant to be this way. Ancient Vedic texts admire inner and outer beauty, women are held in high esteem. The Yoni (Sanskrit word symbolising the female genitalia). The Shivalinga, representing male and female energy as one unit. Yet Culture has destroyed the purity of these symbols.
namstasyai namastasyai , namastasyai namo namaha!
This image is of Kamakhya Devi, from a temple in Assam,in India. When Sati (Shivas wife) died, he was so distraught, he carried her body around, so Vishnu with his wonderous sudarshan chakra (weapon), cut her body into many pieces, these body parts fell into various places around India, known as Shakti peeths. This temple was installed where her Yoni fell and is a place of worship where the goddess bleeds in the month of Ashaad (around June). People come to pay their respects to her, in celebration of her bleeding, her signature of fertility. Even though i was bought up in a quite liberal family, there was a sense of shame i felt during my period, as tradition stated that you were not allowed to pray, some other women were not allowed to enter a kitchen, as they would contaminate the food! i thought it was pathetic…
When i discovered Ayurveda and read the truth, my healing began. When a woman bleeds she is vulnerable in the state of her mind, her hormones are everywhere, several emotions arise depending on how she feels about herself. Its a reflective time to go inward and self enquire, therefore religious texts stated a woman is exempt from any duties and prayers because it would disturb the pranic flow. Prana flows in five directions in the body, our body is in balance when these flow in its correct direction. Apana Prana is the downward flow and governs our eliminations, like urine, feces, menstruation and birth. When this is disturbed, many ailments can arise. So it wasn’t because i was dirty, it was because i am so respected as the divine feminine that even God asks nothing of me. WOW! my mum forgot to mention that bit! why would she, it was worse for her, she only passed on what information she was given.
So the sense of shame buried in my unconscious expressed itself in my art many years ago, on a catwalk, which i got great praise for. Obviously felt strongly then but i wasn’t aware of it…..
I live in celebration of my femininity, and embrace it with LOVE!