You know, a long time ago many different cultures refused to cut their hair for different reasons. Some of those reasons being that hair in itself holds power.
While hair has always been a symbol of beauty for most, there is more to it than that. For one our hair covers our crown chakra and thus can/does work as a reminder that we are connected with something higher. Even the Native Americans wore their hair long and for the most part refused to cut it. To the Native Americans, their hair was significant and even now still is to who they are as people. For them, on a cultural level, their hair holds great power and brings them together.
When I was about 5 years old, my grandfather first told me about being forced to cut his hair when he was carted off to boarding school, and I am sure I heard this more than a dozen times as I grew up. But as I got older, he would tell me more about his experience and what it meant to him. Eventually, he told me his hair was cut in an effort to strip him of his culture and identity. Cutting his hair was their way of showing dominance over him through forced assimilation. He said that every time his hair was cut, he would cry, and every time he would cry, he would be physically punished. Unfortunately, being forced to cut our hair was a common practice in many institutions and schools across the country, and is still occurring as recent as 2018.
His story is important because we are taught as children that we don’t cut our hair unless we have experienced a significant loss, like the death of a close family member, traumatic event or significant life change. Tribes have different teachings about the value of hair and how to care for it. In our family, we are taught that our hair is a physical extension of all our thoughts, prayers, dreams, aspirations, experiences and history. When we cut our hair, it represents the end of something that once was and a new beginning. When we do have to cut our hair, it is never to be thrown away, but rather, burned with sage or sweetgrass in a ceremonial way. When our hair is burned, all of our thoughts, prayers, dreams, aspirations, experiences, and history rise to the Creator to be properly taken care of. We are then guided in the direction for our prayers to be answered. Throwing our hair away is a form of personal disrespect. So, when my Grandfather had his hair cut off and thrown away, his tears were of deep grief, confusion, helplessness, and shame. It was against everything he had ever been taught, along with grieving the loss of everything his hair represented to him. When this cultural practice was common in most Native communities, it was easy to recognize when someone in the community was grieving or experiencing a significant change in their life, because their long hair was no longer.
With our hair embodying so much of who we are, boundaries are important. Touching someone’s hair without permission is disrespectful in the Native community. Some even find that asking permission is a form of disrespect, especially with children and elders. This is not something to take personal, it’s our way of protecting ourselves from the energy of someone we know nothing about.
Even in places like India, they have enlightened people are known for coiling their hair on the crown of their heads during the day so that they can ‘energize their brain cells.’ They do this with the ‘rishi knot’ and it works to ‘energize’ their aura and work to stimulate their pineal glands. You see, during the day our hair absorbs energy from the sun and if you look at things from a yogaic perspective this allows you to also become more powerful.
Our hair reflects where we are on our spiritual path whether we realize it or not. The healthier it is the more prosperous we are and when it is in bad condition we too are in need of some meditation and healing whether we can see it offhand or not. Afterall our hair grows for a reason, doesn’t it?
For more on this topic please check out the video below. What do you think about the spiritual side of hair as a whole? I for one think that there does have to be something behind our hair linking it to our inner power/energy force.