Ah, the joys of mud... magickal, messy, glorious, multipurpose mud! If your childhood was like mine, it consisted of making mudpies and cakes, feeling the cool mud squish between bare toes, creating dams of mud, sticks and leaves in the gutter, or maybe muddy war grounds for toy soldiers, mud bogs for toy trucks, mud fights, and mud football. Mud isn't just for fun, but it is an added plus :)
Mud and clay have been used for centuries for healing as well as ceremonial ritual. The mud can contain only the mud/ clay or it can contain a combination of herbs mixed in.
Mud and clay draw out toxins from the body, and also benefit the skin as it contains natural minerals that improve the complexion, stretch the skin and softens the appearance of wrinkles.
Apache Sunrise Ceremony
The girl must receive sacred teachings, her ceremonial costume must be prepared, the lodge must be built, the girl must be physically prepared for the endurance and strength part of the ritual, gifts must be prepared and/or purchased, and the family prepares for the large feast which feeds the entire tribe.
When the actual ritual begins, the girl its escorted through various stages of the ceremony by her sponsor and medicine man/Shaman.
These stages include days and hours of running and dancing of the four directions which symbolizes the four stages of life. The girl is massaged and "molded" into a woman, there is much chanting, singing, and praying, as well as nightly dancing of the Crown Dancers aka Ga'an/ Mountain Spirits and the accompanying Clown.
The girl is covered in a mixture of mud/clay and cornmeal that must remain on her body and hair during the entire ceremony. On the last day she is blessed with pollen by her people at which time she heals any members of her tribe via touch.
This is also a very sacred ceremony and photos are often are not permitted; sometimes respectful outsiders are permitted to watch but oftentimes privacy is preferred.
Aboriginal Mud MedicineIn Australia the aborigines use mud in their medicinal practice. Earth, mud, sand, and even termite dirt are taken or applied as medicine. Wounds are dressed with mud, and clay made from termite dirt is taken orally in the form of small balls to treat diarrhea and upset stomach.
Aboriginal Body Art
So you see, mud is not just for mud pies, wrestling, and truck competitions, although they may have their purposes too :-)