Body Modification in Lunukism
|Part of a series on|
|Traditions by Region|
|Scripture • Practices|
Body modification, known by various names such including sriktha or dua, holds an important role with rites of passage and coming of age. The practice is a requirement with most sects of Lunukism, as the art predates the establishment of this organized religion. Originally, in Lunukist communities scarification was the primary method through which body modification would be achieved. The practice of tattooing in Lunukist society is usually reserved to those of the role of ciktrha, or body artist. A cikthra would typically have attendants who would also participate with the ceremony, to guarantee spiritual cleanliness and proper practice of the art.
In Lunukism, body modification is a requirement with all acts with age. One would be expected to be tattooed upon their first achievements in life, marking one's maturity and health. Various designs co-exist as they are typically applied to tell a story or tuttree. These stories vary in many ways but they were a way of telling one's lifestory at a glance as in Lunukism it is believed that actions speak louder than words, and so if one is proud of their actions they would be well-suited to display them through the tattoo or scar. Most priests today prefer methods of tattooing over scarring as the side effects and chances of infection are much less, though in various sects or communities scarification still holds a significant role over tattooing.
The reasons for its importance in Lunukism aside from coming of age rituals was that the pain from body modification in addition to the art created from it would be a means of creating humility and reducing desire in its adherents. In addition, it was an important marker of peoples who belong to the Lunukist faith. Body scarring has been significantly denounced in several international communities, citing the risk of infection from malpractice, though many defenders of the practice state that only qualified officials are permitted to conduct the role of cikthra.
In Cananganamese culture, various meanings are applied to the types of scar or tattoo. As in Canamic society, there are three gender roles; male, female, and kutusa. These markings are not strictly unique but the choices are usually associated with these gender roles. For example; males will commonly have markings depicting snakes, fire, the Sun, and lizards. Compare with females who may have marks depicting plants, spiders, and the Moon. Kutusa, on the other hand, may be decorated with designs akin to pottery, weaving, and textiles separating them from the motifs of the expect male and female gender role. Various folk meanings for these designs explain why the choices are made for the markings, though some choices do co-exist between the genders as some plants which are traditionally seen as aphrodisiacs may co-exist between those of the male or female gender role, whereas Kutusa will avoid markings that may depict or encourage sexual activity though not always.
Some markings are considered exceptionally taboo to produce, such as weapons or death, as it is believed that producing these markings upon yourself may result in an early death. Marking oneself with relatives or other people is also considered a taboo because it is believed you are stealing the imitation and soul of the individual copied. Originally, this did not apply to written names, but since the 15th century this has increasingly become one as well. It is also believed that receiving a marking from a cikthra with no attendants of his own is bad luck. Other taboos might be continuing or starting a session after either the body artist or the recipient sneezed that day. It is believed that should either do so, that the spirits do not condone the act for the day and to reschedule with both parties. The most taboo of markings are those placed upon the joints. It is superstitiously believed that ink or scars placed upon one's joints may result in arthritis and other maladies, despite no supporting evidence.