The Pagan Experience
The blog prompt for 12 January is to share a favourite spiritual or magical practice. I spent a good part of the past week thinking about what I could write for this entry. Many of my personal practices are just me going about my day, nothing really noteworthy, at least in my mind. I noticed today, however, that a post I made a few years ago, The Call to Cover, still gets quite a few visitors each week, and I thought I might revisit this subject.
A brief look at covering my hair
I began covering my hair off and on back in 2012. I stopped for a while, but last summer began hearing little niggles from Brigid suggesting I think about doing it again.
I agreed to give it a go, but knew to start that I wanted something a bit more user-friendly for me. I don’t like fussing about with my hair or my head in the morning, so I wanted something that I could quickly and easily put on. Additionally, there are no mirrors in my house (I may write about that and the ways in which it has helped my esteem to not have mirrors another time over at The Healing Room.
After considering, and watching a few videos, I decided to go for a tichel-style covering. These days, if I am outside of my home or around other people I always have my hair covered.
Covering as a spiritual practice
In my previous post, I talked about what I had discovered through covering my hair. I have found that it benefits me by providing a constant reminder of my connection to Deity, by helping me to stay grounded, and by shielding me from the energy of others.
I’d like to look at these a bit more.
Connection with Deity
Brigid was, and continues to be, the Goddess who is around me most often these days. She may at some time become my Patron Goddess, when I am ready.
For the past 16 odd years my Patron Goddess has been Modron. I’ve worked well with Modron, and become very comfortable with Her looking over my shoulder. However, Modron is very much a Mother Goddess, and I am entering the Croning stage of life. At least physiologically. I won’t be carrying any more babies in my womb and have been going through peri-menopause for a few years now.
My children are still growing though and my work as a mother is not yet finished. So I am in a stage of transition. Modron is still present, but moving into the background. Brigid is present, but has not yet into the foreground.
Covering my hair is a constant reminder of the link between me and this Unknown stage of transition. And reminds me that I have the strength, the knowledge, and the ability to stand on my own. Note that covering doesn’t create the link, it is merely my personal reminder.
I work a lot with Energy both magically and through my work as an Energy Healer. These days, when people come to me and tell me that they are feeling tired and fatigued, after they have ruled out a medical cause I look at what they are doing to stay grounded. Invariably, people who find themselves constantly fatigued for no apparent reason are not very well grounded.
People tend to think of grounding only as a way of getting rid of excess energy, but it also has a very important role in replenishing energy as we go about our day.
Since I started covering, and focusing on making sure that I am grounded on a regular basis, I have not had nearly as much trouble with constant exhaustion. In my case, I know that there are also medical and mental health reasons for being so tired, and I am working with my GP to make sure I am taking the right medications for me.
When my head is open, especially when I am out amongst other people, I lose a lot of personal energy through my Crown. Instead of moving through and down to reconnect me with Earth, that energy is being lost into the Air. By covering my hair, I am closing my Crown so that Energy can’t escape. That Energy is able to move through the channels of my body as it is meant to do, and can naturally move into the Earth while new Energy moves back into me.
I am very aware as an empath and as a healer that I am sensitive to the emotional outpourings of people around me. Just recently, it came into my awareness that I am a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. Being able to sense emotions of others has been a very useful tool when it comes to doing healing work, but if I don’t or can’t keep it blocked at other times it can make it rather difficult for me to sanely go about my day.
With no form of shielding in place, I find that I become irritable and exhausted when I am among other people, or in an emotionally charged situation, for too long. As an Asperger woman with sensory processing difficulties, too long or too emotionally charged can be far less than what most people would consider to be “too much”.
Creating and maintaining a level of constant shielding against all that can be tiring in itself. I have found, however, that when I am covering my hair I do not have to expend as much personal energy in maintaining my shielding. Because I am not using up all my energy in shielding, I have a bit more to spend on actually socialising.
What covering means for me
Women cover for a wide range of reasons. Some cover for modesty, some to show religious devotion. Some cover because a deity told them to, or asked them to. Some cover because of health – they may have lost their hair due to illness or alopecia. Some cover for other reasons. Some even cover just because they like the way it looks.
I like having some level of emotional stability because I am not taking on the emotional baggage of everyone around me. I like feeling more connected to Deity and more connected to Earth as I go about my days. I like having more personal energy to use for daily tasks and even for taking up new hobbies and learning new skills. If covering my hair can give me all of this, then I am all for it.
Questions I have been asked:
Are there are covering styles you avoid?
There are covering styles that I prefer. As I mentioned here I have been using a Jewish tichel style head covering in recent months because I find it easy to do.
When it comes to covering your hair, there are only so many ways of wrapping a piece of cloth around your head so that it doesn’t come off. And women around the world have been covering their heads for thousands of years. Of course there is going to be some copying of styles!
Can you wear X style if you aren’t that religion?
I have had some conversation with other Pagan women who question whether they should be wearing a Jewish tichel, or Muslim hijab, or another religion’s style of covering. Is it okay? Would It cause offense? Is it in some way appropriating another culture’s dress?
All I can say is that in the past few years that I have been covering, wearing both this current style and the modified hijab style I wore before, not once have I had someone tell me they found it offensive or wrong. On the contrary, I have found that when I am with women of other religious beliefs who cover, we share a special bond. It doesn’t matter that we follow a different religion.
Do you have to follow the laws/rules of that religion if you are wearing their style of head covering?
I still eat pork, and bacon. I don’t buy kosher foods or halal (unless either is on sale and I can get it cheaper than what I normally buy). I don’t cover my arms. I wear blue jeans. Some women choose to honour the rules of a particular religion when they use that style of head covering, I have never found it to be necessary.
Wearing a tichel-style covering doesn’t make me a Jewish woman. Wearing a hijab doesn’t make me Muslim. Wearing a mantilla chapel veil doesn’t make me Catholic.
How do other people react to your head covering?
To be real honest, the vast majority of people I interact with on a daily basis don’t even mention it. When people know me better they will sometimes ask me why I cover, and when that happens I give them an honest answer.
My own experience has been that people are too busy going about their own lives to focus on what I am wearing.
Be sure to check out some of the other Pagan Experience blog entries for this week. (Link to follow)