The Spiritual Roots Of Hair
Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
Hair is a central facet of our appearance, something that both men and women take great pride in, but does its purpose run deeper? Not only is hair a key representation of self, symbolizing personal style and freedom of expression, but it can also give an insight into overall health.
Hair protects us from sun exposure and minor injuries, improves vitamin D absorption, and provides warmth to the area of the body that loses around twenty-five percent of our heat. But aside from its somatic benefits, different cultures and religions believe hair can reflect your inner-most emotions and traits, retaining its own unique spiritual power and energy. All such interpretations are centered on the fact that humans are the only creature capable of growing long hair from their head. It isn’t a coincidence that it protects the crown chakra — our connection to spirit or higher self – nor that if left to its own devices it will grow to an optimum length that’s different for each individual.
Cultural And Religious Significance Of Hair
A widespread theory is that hair acts as an antenna, collecting details of the surrounding world and channelling energy towards the frontal lobes. Almost comparable to a sixth sense, many believe it can help detect when others are lying, or even allow you to predict things before they happen – a whole new meaning to when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! Native cultures, distinguished by their gender–neutral long locks, believe that hair is an extension of our thoughts, feelings and current life situation, indicating everything from age to relationship status to happiness. When seeking to improve strength or intuition, their first point of call is their hairstyle and health.
The symbolic nature of hair is a common religious theme. In the biblical story of Sampson and Delilah, it is Sampson’s hair that delivers him with strength. Jewish men’s payots (or side curls) represent a separation between the frontal brain governing intellect, and the rear controlling physical desires. The Yogic tradition notes increased vitality and tranquillity through preservation of one’s hair.
Next Time You Need A Haircut…
Although regular trims promote hair health by ridding split-ends and giving a thicker appearance, there is an intrinsic link to your spiritual well-being each time locks are lost.
Historically, cutting hair was used as a punishment for those who had been enslaved or conquered, ridding their identity and denoting inferior power; for Native Americans it signified mourning or grieving. Yogi Bhajan, responsible for introducing Kundalini Yoga to the US, also highlighted the negatives of not allowing your hair to grow to its full length. He suggested this could result in a lack of nourishment (specifically vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous), which in turn would limit memory, stamina and patience. It makes sense that those who have fewer haircuts are able to conserve more energy, because they are not causing the body to regrow hair to meet its natural length. In contradiction, shaving your head is a religious practice among Buddhist monks and nuns and in Vaishnavism (a branch of Hinduism). Their ideology is that this allows present energies to flow out and activate the two chakras existing outside the physical body, providing a greater sense of balance with your surroundings.
Different Styles And Symptoms
Certain hair care rituals and issues can also have a direct impact on spiritual energy. Whether you are more in tune with your spiritual self if you wear your hair down or tied up differs. In India, wisdom is afforded to those who coil their hair onto their crown during the day (supposedly recharging their brain cells) and then comb it out at night for relaxation. However, other cultures believe we are more vulnerable to negative energy when sleeping, so should always keep the tips of our hair tucked away.
Although hair loss is usually a symptom of depression, mental stress or despair, causes of such conditions are rooted in an imbalance or attack on spiritual self. Depression occurs following a dilemma of character, such as low self-esteem or overbearing guilt; mental stress from an excessive need to have complete control over life’s situations; and despair symbolizes a personal renunciation of power that shows a mistrust in the process of life.
Overall, the hormonal and chemical balance within our bodies stimulates hair growth and determines our mental well-being, therefore it is no surprise that different cultures and religions place such significance on this relationship. The hair rituals that you adopt, spiritual or otherwise, will always be a deeply personal choice.
Bethany Connor is a health blogger featuring natural health and remedies.