October 03, 2022 2 min read

Face painting is a long-used, sacred tradition going back thousands of years. It is not done for fun, but for several various reasons, all of them solemn and to be treated with respect and spirituality in mind. Paints are made by grinding various natural pigments, such as roots, berries, clay and tree bark. Most common uses of face paint are:
-In festivals/ceremonies (often to denote a special position during that ceremony)
-During wartime (again, to denote position/rank)
-To invoke special abilities
-Open the mind to spiritual guidance
-To invoke animal qualities
There are two main kinds of face paint designs: Event designs and animal designs. Event designs are used for various reasons (several listed above), and the colors used mean certain things:
-Red - War
-Yellow - Death
-Black - "Living" color (often used in preparation for war)
-Green - Grants night vision when painted under the eyes; also used as camouflage when hunting
-White - Peace
-Blue - Heightened Spirituality

With animal designs, the paint is made to look as relatively close and/or symbolic of the animal it represents, and is meant to grant the wearer a trait the animal is known for. Common animal designs and powers associated with them include:
-Bear: Power, Healing
-Cougar: Power, Swiftness
-Deer: Love, Gentleness, Kindness
-Dog: Loyalty, Companionship
-Eagle: Potency, Healing, Power, Illumination, Protection from evil
-Fox: Cleverness, Subtlety, Discretion
-Goat: Tenacity, Diligence
-Hawk: Awareness, Truth
-Horse: Freedom, Power, Safe movement
-Moose: Unpredictability, Spontaneity
-Owl: Wisdom, Vision, Insight
-Rabbit: Conquering fear, Safety
-Raccoon: Curiosity, Inquisitiveness
-Raven: Mystery, Exploration of the unknown, Trickster
-Snake: Power, Life force, Sexual potency
-Wolf: Teaching skill, Loyalty, Interdependence.

Certain color combinations mean other things. For example, red painted alongside white means hunting or fishing - the red showing the violence required for such activities, and the white symbolizing peacetime, so the red is not seen as a war color. Location of certain colors and color combinations can mean several different things, from showing wisdom to keeping one's mind open to the spirits

Native American Symbol Faces Vertical Poster



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