Thursday, April 17, 2014

H is for Hair

She stands before the altar, arms raised toward the full moon.  Her long hair flows down her back and ripples in the gentle breeze.   The wind picks up and a dark cloud covers the moon.  In the distance, a rumble of thunder is heard…
Diligently working by the light of the fire in the hearth, she sews some of his hair into the poppet...

Hair, especially long hair, has been connected to magic, psychic abilities, and physical power for a long time.  In many belief systems, hair is considered magical or connected to one’s spirituality or essence.  

  • Torah-observant Jewish woman cover their hair after they are married because they believe that their hair becomes magically charged after they ‘know’ their husbands.  
  • Sampson attributed his strength to his long hair.    Once it was shorn by Delilah, he became weak and vulnerable.
  • Members of various Native American tribes keep their hair long.  You may be familiar with the article about soldiers in Vietnam losing their sixth sense once their hair was cut.
  • Hair is a part of spells in certain traditions and practices, particularly in hoodoo.
  • From a yogic point of view, hair can help raise Kundalini energy.
  • Buddhist monks have shaved heads, a physical symbol of their renouncing the, well, physical.  
  • Witches are often depicted as having very wild, long hair.

Superstitions around cutting hair include burning the hair that has been cut.  This is so no one can take your hair and work evil against you.  Also, it is/was believed that if a bird used your hair for its nest, you might go insane, or at the very least, develop a nasty headache.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  For centuries – millennia- hair and spirituality have been connected.  So what’s so special about a bunch of keratin growing from the scalp?   What is the connection between hair and spirituality? 

From my perspective, since hair is connected to the scalp, it has a connection to the crown chakra.   As it is dead material, I don’t believe that the hair itself necessarily holds a lot of power, but I think it helps protect what is there.   On the other hand, others believe that the hair does hold the life force of an individual.

Personally, I haven’t cut my hair in quite some time.  I also cover it when I’m in public (and much of the time around the house).   I do this for several reasons, with one of the biggest being to protect my energy from outside influences.     I don’t think it has anything to do with a sixth sense.  In fact, I’m not sure how sharp my sixth sense is.  Sometimes it seems pretty spot-on, but at other times, I am waaaaaaaaaaaay off.    My loose, flowing hair has never caused a storm. 

Some groups insist on loose hair without pins or adornments during a ritual, but I’m not comfortable with that.   I feel very exposed, vulnerable, and nearly naked without my head covering.   Another reason I like covering everything up is because I have almost always been known as “the chick with the hair”.   People used to get my attention by pulling on my hair.  Bullies on the bus put stuff in my hair or snipped pieces of it.  I prefer to preserve my energy and protect myself from other people’s crapola, but that’s just me.   I also wear a covering in honor of Hestia, about whom I thought about writing this post.

I keep my hair long because I like the way it looks (even though I’m just about the only person who sees it), and because I feel that it is an extra layer of protection even though I don’t think it really holds much energy itself.    Covering everything with a scarf is the other layer of protection.  It also helps me focus more on the spiritual side of life.  It reminds me that the Divine may exist all around me. 

How do you wear your hair?  Do you cut it, or do you let it grow?  (I suddenly have “Hair” running through my brain).  Do you connect it with your spirituality at all?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 


Sissy Witch said...

I have always been a gypsy soul and connect my overall look with my spirituality, but as a Pagan have never considered covering. In my old life, held in confines by family and Christianity I was expected to cover my hair for modesty. As a witch, I am free to be bold and free to be me. Which means my hair is usual a bold statement in my look. Currently every hair on my head is about 1 inch long. When it grows out, I plan to dread it.

Nar said...

I have heard of dreading or braiding items into one's hair for spell work as well! :)

dctdesigns.com said...

I have no doubt of the mystical properties of hair. But we are as much bound by it as freed, especially in modern day society. I wear mine very short these days, long wavy tresses gone. I believe it is more than just the freedom from the physical represented in a Monk's shaved head. It is raw spiritual power. It is having your knowledge and wisdom contained within your vessel. And as anyone fighting cancer can say it is a sign of a warrior spirit. So hair, if you ask me, is symbolic at best. But it can not define what you truly are made of.

asawest said...

I've noticed that the more immersed I am in my witchcraft, the faster my hair grows. I've been doing some deep work over the past year and it's currently longer than it's ever been! I'll probably end up cutting it eventually (I chop it every few years), but right now I'm just enjoying the feel of it swishing against my back.