Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Power of Hair

Medium (said to be one of the Vril-damen)
There is power in hair, a secret strength and a connection to magic. It was a well-known fact in times past. There are several myths and fairy tales that involve hair, from Rapunzel's long locks that are shorn by the witch to Samson losing his strength after Delilah cut his hair.

Mediums of the early 20th century often had long hair which they claimed helped them to receive the messages from the otherworlds. The Vril-damen, German occultists from the Second World War, also believed this.

I am reminded of the connection between hair and magical power or strength by the tragic story in the news this week of a young girl who committed suicide after her father cut off her long hair as punishment for unnamed misdeeds.

It is a troubled story, and one which awakened intense memories for me. It happened to me as well.

I was eight years old when my father cut off my hair. With a dull pocket knife he pulled and sawed at it, chopping it off just below my ears. It had been almost to my waist and now it lay in shining, wavy, golden-blonde piles on the floor. I was a tiny priestess shorn of her hair and her power. It might as well have been Medusa's snakes that littered the floor.

My hair has always been sensitive. Even as a child I hated to have it touched. Every time a stranger admired it on the street and invariably reached out to touch it, drawn by its Rapunzel-like qualities, I felt violated.

The witch cutting Rapunzel's hair in the Brothers Grimm
And it was curly - falling in great golden spirals over my shoulders. Elf curls, my old granny told me - "You have fairy hair."

And it was the curls that betrayed me, the fairy curls that matted and tangled no matter what I did to control them. Hair-washing was an absolute torture for me, sitting on a chair while my mother attempted to comb out the tangles while I cried and cried.

And ostensibly, that was why my drunk father butchered my hair that day - to get me to stop crying. He was tired of listening to me cry every time my hair was combed out and so the hair had to go. Not at a hairdresser's where it could be transformed into something pretty, but in a drunken act of violence.

My father, like myself, was gifted with the ability to see into the otherworlds. He was, I suspect, gifted in other ways as well. But he was not strong enough to deal with these gifts, to learn to use them. To him they were a curse, something to be drowned in drink and drugs. He was fractured, broken...unable to use his gifts and unable to turn them off.

I know he saw the gifts that he passed on to me. He must have known what I meant when I talked of the beautiful places I saw and the people I met there, must have understood what my "imaginary" friends really were.

And so I wonder...did he somehow understand, even then, the power that my hair held? Subconsciously, did he understand that by cutting my hair he was dimming my connection to the otherworlds?

I think in some way he did. I think there was some part of him that was trying to limit my power, my connection, my reception of the signals.

I was thirteen before I was allowed to grow my hair out again. Thirteen, and my first moon time came soon after. And eventually I grew to understand the power that my hair held, the power that my father tried to disconnect.

I am not my father. Where he was weak, I have grown strong. I have accepted the gifts, use them, and work to strengthen them. I have become what my father feared...a seer, a seidkona, a priestess of power.

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