By Selene Torres
New Flower Studio Piercing Apprentice

Body piercing can be traced back for centuries all over the world. Within Mesoamerican civilizations, body piercing was a sacred act of devotion, beauty, and purification. There was often a spiritual connection to piercing rituals and cultural traditions.  Among many of the Mesoamerican civilizations many believed blood to be sacred. For the Aztecs, piercing was (and is) an act of purification, and rituals once practiced became long standing traditions among the people. Tongue and ear piercings were performed as tribute to the goddess of the land and in return were blessed with spiritual purification. Piercings also helped in identifying the social classes. For example, a septum piercing would  commonly be worn by shaman, kings, noblemen, and worriers. Elaborate jewelry was worn of turquoise and gold with images of goddesses and sacred animals. Piercing the flesh was a way to stay connected to there gods and show their devotion.

The Mayan also strongly believed in the magic and power of their blood.  They also believed offerings to there gods were necessary to keep a balance in the world. Piercing took a great part in these tributes.  They were also in search of beauty and body modifications were practiced on all social levels. The common people would initially pierce their lobes and stretch them to incredible sizes, and tongues, lips, and noses were adorned with the finest jewelry available.  As part of the spiritual practice they would pierce to draw their own blood to keep the gods happy and to ask for a good life. In the death ritual piercing was still important. To ensure safe passage to the next world the departed's family members would pierce their cheeks to draw blood as an offering. The Gods that connect these great ancient civilizations needed the blood of their people. So they accommodated this in ritual offerings as a way to show devotion and gratitude. There is a Mayan creation story were the God  Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent) took the remains of another ancient being and pierced his genitals and the blood was used to create people.