Artifacts and Healing: Outline
Imagery plays a key role in healing and medicine. In the medical field, guided imagery is a thought process which involves the use of ideas, human feelings and senses that affect the body by introducing real images which relax and health the body and mind (Spector 270). This paper will analyze the power of healing in cultural artifacts by critically analyzing their healing mechanisms and support of health. Specifically, the paper will analyze the Mexican masks.
The Mexican arts were mostly centered on rituals and performances. A write up obtained from a visit to the museum revealed that ancient Mesoamerica believed that the face directly related to the spirit. In this case, concealing oneself with a mask of another earthly creature connected the wearer to the spirit of the creature. Shamanism, according to Morriss‐Kay is the “representation of a human body with animal head” (p.137). This means that the Mexican community practiced shamanism using animal masks. In most cases, masks were used for social and religious purposes. Interestingly, mask wearers were excited to fit into the personality of the masks that they wore (Morriss‐Kay 138). The Mexican culture was defined by masked dancers who took part in dances and festivals (Arizona State Museum, para 2). Ritual masks were mostly used for religious and spiritual purposes to either give magical power to spiritual leaders or enable communication with the unseen. In many societies, magic was an activity carried out for individuals facing a crisis and was part of the human social order (Edson 103). The use of masks to support health can be used through shamanism and mask-making. This is one of the oldest forms of ritual art that have acted as healing tools. Shamanism believes in the ability to maintain good health by resisting external forces, and regulating their attention to access information which can be used to serve the needs of the community (Krippner 72). The body is regarded to be full of energy, with no available space for diseases.
Therefore, the powers exhibited through these beliefs create possessive guarding spirit, which is fundamental to an individual’s health. The mask personifies the healer during healing journeys. In this sense, the mask acts as an instrument through which illnesses, feelings, and individual behaviors can be externalized. The creation of masks is defined by the specific purpose for its use. Its development may be determined individually through dreaming or elements uncovered by the healer. After the establishment of the intent, a mask-making ceremony is then established with the inclusion of ritual preparation which helps in the development of focus.The use of masks in healing is linked to spiritually-based health care systems.
Fontaine (2005 p. 21) believes that spirituality gives people the meaning and purpose of life. Thus, spiritual healing practices guide people into seeking inner peace by awakening inner consciousness through prayer, meditation, and contemplation. In times of sickness, people explore their lives to find the meaning of their suffering. Thus, this spiritual element of healing could help patients …