Ethite Eyebrow Piercing Tradition / Ritual in Nideon | World Anvil
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Ethite Eyebrow Piercing (ɛθa͡it)

While the Ethite religion has evolved greatly over time, Old Ethite practioners can still be identified by their eyesbrows. Ethite eyebrow piercing has existed as long as people lived in the area. There is some evidence that the dominant culture at the time identified their leaders through piercings around the eyes, and would attack anyone who deigned to identify themselves as such by piercing this area. Thus, the early Ethites pierced just above the eyes as an act of defiance.
Over time, the piercings came to represent protection from trickster demons, many of whom were likley representations of other cultures' gods. They were also used for spiritual healing and protection if one fell sick or had to complete a difficult task. They would also be given to mark the survival of an ordeal, such as an unexpected battle, and later, to mark important life events, such as a child's first funeral or a girl's first menstruation. This likely gave way to a structured ordeal in which young people came of age by proving their courage, which was afterward marked by a new piercing, a practice which later evoled into the Ordeal of the Mirage.

The 11th and 12th centuries saw a major shift in the Ethite religion as the upper classes, influenced by interactions with other nations, began ton criticize and move away from the more "barbaric" practices, like eyebrow piercing and cannibalism. The religion took on a more a more matriarchal nature, with the coming of age ritual dying out among men. Instead of getting a piercing to mark menstruation, girls would begin wearing a veil, to mark their status in the gender heirarchy, so men could only look on them with their permission. Though it took longer to die out among men, Modern Ethites no longer pierce their eyebrows. A smaller population, however, has kept many of the older traditions. Among this group, known as the Old Ethite or Orthodox Ethite, women do not typically wear veils and eyebrow piercings are a regular occurance.
Related Organizations
Though early eyebrow piercings were done primarily with bone, as the use of different materials became expanded, they took on unique meanings, with the type and material of a piercing denoting the reason for it. People who understood the symbolism could learn a lot about a person just by looking at their eyebrows. As a result, the phrase wear your history on your face, meaning roughly the same as wear your heart on your sleeve has become common in Ethion. Though the practice of piercing may have dwindled, the idiom lives on.

Piercing Symbolism

  • silver shaft--a mark of protection to survive an important mission
  • silver ring--completion of a coming of age ordeal/ritual
  • bronze ring--survival of an illness
  • wood ring--survival of a battle or ordeal
  • bone shaft--taking on a position of leadership
  • bone ring--first funeral
  • gold ring--first menstruation

Cover image: Ethite Flag by Molly Marjorie


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