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Something Scary to Do with Jagua for Halloween

Shrunken heads

Photo courtesy of jivaroinfo.wikispaces.com.


I recently had an interesting conversation with a horror expert, @ThatColdShiver. He has a huge Twitter following, and they hang onto his every word as he live-Tweets his comments, thoughts, reactions, and interpretations of what’s happening on screen as he watches horror films. So I asked him to clarify for me what passes for horror: Slasher films? Check. Monster movies? Check. Vampire flicks? Serial murder pictures? Check, and check. The Shining? Check. The Omen and The Exorcist? Check. One of his favorite films? Alien. Okay, I thought, that’s pretty broad. I probably would have assigned “psychological thriller” to The Shining, but what do I know?

I was thinking about our conversation the other day, because Halloween is just around the corner, and coming up with scary things to do (or be done to!) is a national pastime. Our own in-house social media guru here at Earth Henna is going to Universal Studios’ Halloween’s Horror Nights, where they advertise a Terror Tram, Scare Zones, and Insidious Mazes. Which made me think about what terrible, horrifying activity could someone partake in if they wanted to scare somebody literally to death? And I came up with this ancient jagua ritual, which I wrote about in my book, Jagua: A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon. You could use jagua to shrink somebody’s head! I’m sure @Thatcoldshiver would approve.

So, if you’re sitting around thinking you might like to shrink your enemy’s head, either because it’s Halloween or you want to exploit his or her power, do what the Shuar (then called Jivaro) Indians of Ecuador and Peru used to do and follow this recipe. Make sure you have a jagua fruit handy!

  1. Sever the head with your weapon of choice.
  2. Peel the skin from the face.
  3. Sew the lips and eyelids shut so as to imprison the spirit.
  4. While you sacrifice the skull and brain to the spirit of the anaconda, simmer the leftovers in a pot of jagua-infused water for two hours, after which the head will have shrunk to a third of its size.
  5. Heat some stones and place them inside the head to shrink the skin further. (The hot stones will melt a layer of fat in the head and make the skin of the head contract and turn black.)
  6. Rub the face with charcoal and jagua berries to keep it moist in order to avoid cracking.
  7. Smoke the head over a fire for an entire night.
  8. Trim the hair.
  9. Enjoy your new-found power!

Note: For all your head-shrinking needs, Earth Jagua kits containing jagua juice and jagua gel are currently available on our website! That’s right, just head on over to www.earthhenna.com and get yourself a jagua kit so you can get started. With any leftovers, you can create gorgeous temporary body art on yourself and your friends. We even have a free download of Halloween-themed tattoo stencils that you can use to create fun (and less dangerous) scary designs that will make you the envy of all your fellow ghosts and goblins.

Note: To avoid head shrinkage, do not fill up a bucket with jagua-infused water and then dip your head in it. You have been warned!

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