Cultural hair rituals

Haircuts can signify everything from a specific spiritual practice to marriage status, depending on the culture. Hair is ceremoniously cut in rituals from birth to death, in numerous cultures around the world. A haircut can be an offering to bless the transition of an infant into the physical world; shaving one’s head is traditionally done in mourning to signify humility and the relative impermanence of such a loss. In Hindu, the ritual of Viaragya signifies the detachment or renunciation of the material world in an effort to hone the spiritual connection within.

In modern Western culture, we often cut our hair after big life changes, like a college graduation or divorce; we may not have a conscious understanding of its spiritual impact, yet we feel compelled nonetheless. In Shamanic practice, there is a ceremony called a Cutting of Cords, a release of old energies, patterns, beliefs, and connections.

Each strand of hair is a tiny chronicle of emotional, hormonal, and nutritional experience. Most people with shoulder-length hair are carrying with them the last three to six years of every sickness, setback, or traumatic incident. At the very least, an intentional clearing of that energy is beneficial; sometimes, the only ceremony that will suffice is a ritual haircut. On occasion, it takes a big external change to let Spirit know you are serious about the intention you are setting.