It’s no secret that the modern “spiritual person” look often involves long, flowing locks — perhaps even with a few dreads thrown in there. While you might be aware of the link between hair and spiritual energy on a personal level, or even a scriptural level, there are so many practices, schools of thought and belief systems to explore. It’s true that there is a strong link between hair and spiritual energy acknowledged in many cultural traditions, but you may be surprised to find that there are many meanings that link can signify.There are spiritual paths that call for you to grow your hair as long as possible and there are paths that call for you to shave it bald. There are paths that call for leaving it untouched, while others would guide you to cover it. Each of these methods come from rich spiritual practices and cultures with their own meanings and understandings of spiritual energy.
Paying Attention to Your Hair and Spiritual Energy
You might be wondering which path — or combination of paths — is right for you. While your personal culture or system of beliefs may certainly play a role, you can also let your energy guide you on your way. For example, if you are Native American and following the specific paths of Indigenous hair practices helps you feel more connected to your roots and your culture, you might naturally feel more called to keep your hair long. If you mostly follow Buddhist practices, keeping your hair short or shaved may be the natural progression of your spiritual journey.
However, your hair isn’t always prescribed by your most frequented house of beliefs. There are plenty of paths without much to say about hair at all. Paying attention to how you feel and allowing it to guide you can feel liberating and connecting all at the same time. Do you feel connected to yourself when your hair is long? Or does the freedom of short hair help you feel more open to receive energy? Paying attention and listening to your inner desires can often guide you towards learning more about the path that’s right for you.
Native American Hair Traditions
In most Native American traditions — though each tribe varies with their own specific culture and practices — both men and women keep their hair long and do not cut it. From childhood, children are taught to care for their hair, and brushing and combing of hair is a spiritual exercise rooted in routine. Sometimes, hair that naturally falls out or collects on combs is collected and in full moon ceremonies.In Native cultures, hair is a sacred part of self expression and spirituality. It is a part of the divine structure of who you are. This is why long hair often helps individuals feel more connected to their spiritual energy.
In the tradition of Kundalini yoga, it is customary not to cut hair and to keep it long. The term “Kundalini energy” also refers to life force energy, and many Kundalini practitioners believe that keeping long hair helps to harness that life force energy by offering protection, nourishment and patience. Similar to the ideas presented in Native traditions, Kundalini practitioners believe that the hair is a sacred part of you, holding onto spiritual energy from you and your surroundings, and that growing it long can enhance your spiritual growth.
Buddhism and Shaving of Hair
While many spiritual practices and individuals maintain that long hair is the key to spiritual development, Buddhism takes the complete opposite approach. You probably already know that both Buddhist monks and Buddhist nuns shave their heads, which is an ancient practice that has been upheld for centuries. Since those who practice Buddhist traditions aim for non-attachment to physical limitations, vanity and earthly possessions, the shaving of the head in pursuit of enlightenment. While the practice of shaving heads is mostly upheld by monks and nuns — as lay followers aren’t required to shave their heads — the ideas behind it can apply to anyone. As a lay follower — or non-Buddhist — you can even shave your head to shed past spiritual blockages or attachments before allowing it to grow again.
The Upper Chakras
Reiki, Kundalini and many other schools of spiritual practice engage with the chakras — the various energy and emotional centers throughout the physical body. The chakras closest to the hair are the third eye and the crown chakra, located at the top of your head. They tend to deal with intuition and spiritual development.
In Kundalini, many believe that growing the hair long and covering the hair — specifically in a turban or head wrap — helps to protect and nourish the upper chakras. However, many people also believe that cutting or shaving the hair allows those chakras to open up and receive energy. Really, you should let your intuition guide you towards what you truly need.
Letting Your Spirituality Guide Your Hair Choices
What you do with your hair and how it ties into your spiritual journey are both entirely personal. There are so many schools of thought, and you may even find yourself gravitating towards different methods at different points in your life depending upon what your soul needs. When you let your inner light guide you, the connection between hair and spiritual energy could help you feel even more connected.
**By Djkel Layne