OmphaloskepsisTuesday, March 11, 2014
Omphaloskepsis is contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation. The word comes from Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Actual use of the practice as an aid to contemplation of basic principles of the cosmos and human nature is found in the practice of yoga of Hinduism and sometimes in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some consider the navel to be "a powerful chakra of the body". However, phrases such as "contemplating one's navel" or "navel-gazing" are frequently used, usually in jocular fashion, to refer to self-absorbed pursuits.
In English we generally call the navel with a far most unromantic name, belly button. In Spanish we call it ombligo. My on-line Dictionary of the Spanish Language (RAE) defines it as:
ombligo. (Del lat. umbilīcus).
1. m. Cicatriz redonda que queda en medio del vientre, después de romperse y secarse el cordón umbilical.
Juan Marsé, the renowned Catalonian writer who writes in Spanish has often lambasted what he calls the literature of the ombligo or metaliterature. He says this narcissistic writing leaves him cold.
For me el ombligo is one of the most beautiful parts of the human body. It occurred to me today that a blog that would glorify the female belly button (I leave it to others to document the male navel) would be a good thing. When I shoot portraits I am careful in showing hands and when my subjects are undraped as the ones I shot below, I try to show when possible el ombligo.