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pagans who cover?

post #1 of 250
Thread Starter 
Ok... this has been bouncing around in the back of my head for a while now, and I'm finally remembering to ask (it's one of those 3am nursing session "oh yeah I was going to ask..." things ).

I often see threads discussing head covering (why, how, what, when, who, etc) in different faiths. Generally it's from a Jewish, Moslem, or Christian perspective. Now, I'm not a member of any of those faiths. However, I know from my studies (history, anthropology) that over the ages women in many cultures have covered their hair in one way or another for one reason or another, and certainly many of these cultures did not practice one of the previously mentioned religions.

Although the modern pagan movement often seems to thrive on creating a patchwork of different historic (and modern) traditions, there are pagan groups that strive to recreate a historic religion as closely as possible ("recon" faiths, many of which advocate learning the language and crafts of the people with whom the religion started). But I don't know that I've ever heard of a pagan group, recon or not, that had adopted or maintained the tradition of head covering.

But it seems like such an obvious and, well, simple tradition to encorporate (simple in that you don't need expensive tools, lots of time, huge personal artistic talent or flare with languages, etc and obvious since on the one hand there's clear cultural precedent and on the other it has the potential to be much more visible than a pentacle or ankh necklace). So I'm curious... anyone out there practice a pagan path in which you've included covering? Or belong to a recon faith where covering is encouraged? Thanks!

Just to be clear, I'm using "pagan" here to indicate religions and faiths that some people would categorize as "neo-pagan"... not "pagan" in the sense of "non-christian". For example, one of my Indian Hindu friends covers her hair (she also wears only saris... and she is an IT computer guru so she crawls around under desks a lot... I have no idea how she does it!) but I'm not really thinking along those lines.
post #2 of 250
Hey, did you see my post in the covering section? I'm just starting to experiment with covering, although DH isn't too thrilled with the idea. I have been coming back to the idea for quite some time now.

I'm not doing it as a reconstruction of any particular faith, but I feel called to cover anyway, for somewhat esoteric reasons - honoring the feminine and all that.
post #3 of 250
Thread Starter 
I missed it but will go a hunting now.

When I google pagan headcovering I mostly find Christian sites talking about how pagans don't cover (in NT Rome/Corinth), though there is evidence that even in Corinth there wasn't a real clear cut "pagans do X so you do Y" split. I've found a few references to Hellenistic and Druidic recon covering during ritual, but this covering applies to both men and women (depending on the ritual being done).

But yeah... I'm feeling a bit antsy about covering my hair (I've been casually covering a la bandana for about 5 months now and dh hasn't commented, though I haven't made an issue of it either and bandana in a hippie-intensive college town isn't exactly "out there" ) but I never seem to find pagan mamas covering.

But I figure they must be out there, right? I used to follow an Irish recon faith, and there is historical evidence for hair covering (not required as much as "appropriate/polite") for married women but the recon group never touched on it. The covering sound like it could have been really pretty (sort of an open weave scarf drapped/wrapped over the head a few times, but light enough that it could be carried in a pouch on the waist... and it didn't seem to be designed to hide the hair or female form?

I'm no longer recon but as I said... I'm feeling pulled a bit and I'm curious about pagan options.
post #4 of 250
yeah, i've read that in some cultures, not taking religion into account, hair covering was a sign of age and status.

also from what i know it was way more common in the past for EVERY one to wear hats and headcoverings more often -- you still see it in europe and other places i magine.
post #5 of 250
Subbing ... I covered for a while when I was Christian, at the end of my time in that religion. I continued covering when we were studying for conversion to Judaism, but only when at the synagogue. Then, I stopped even that, and then we stopped studying for conversion. Now I am an Earth-based Pagan who does not cover, but I am still fascinated with the topic.
post #6 of 250
Wombat- Its stuff like this that makes me your MDC stalker. You are fascinating. I am not pagan and have never considered covering, but I think your concept is very interesting.
post #7 of 250
I've been drawn to covering, though I don't know why. I have read information from mdc members but not much outside those sources. In some ways I am more conservative in my dress since my 3rd daughter was born.

I would be interested in finding more about head covering based on age.
post #8 of 250
I was just thinking about this topic the other day
post #9 of 250
Thread Starter 
It's interesting... I'm really not thinking about covering as a "modesty" issue, but more of a... well... a status issue. Though "status" isn't exactly the word I'm looking for since I don't mean to imply rank or standing, but more "group membership".

I'm sort of bumbling around with this in my head (again with the 3am-ness ) and I keep coming back to the way in which head covering has been used in ancient cultures as a mark of social standing unrelated (in many cases) to religion or codes of modesty. So married versus single, common versus noble, mundane versus, well, spiritual.

From what I've been reading, many many cultures have had traditions of covering that were integral to their social structure. And the religions of these cultures were equally integral. Just about every aspect of life tied into the religion, and vice versa. Men and women covered in different ways at different times... sort of a way of setting a person apart, or placing them within a group. So how to encorporate this into my life as a practicing pagan? An adult, married, lactating mother, who is gradually getting older and who has been openly on a pagan path for 16+ years now?

Anyway, all these thoughts are bouncing around my head... it's good to get them out and try to figure them out in a coherent manner!

(Vanessa- I have stalkers? Ack! I'll have to watch my grammar and punctuation!)
post #10 of 250

For me a covering represents both humility and pride.

Humility in the sense of being "covered" from God. Like a bit how a Jewish woman covers her eyes while lighting Shabbos candles. Or kind of like how I normally pray kneeling down with my face resting on my arms on the floor. Basically a sign of respect, and sort of "setting apart". There is nothing inherently "disrespectful" about any part of the body, of course, just that, well... Basically I view it as a nonverbal statement, or gesture, of my submission to God.

Also, I view it as a sign of pride at the same time. I'm proud to declare (even if just in front of God) my status as a believer. I don't think covering women are inherently better than non-covering women, don't misunderstand me! It's similar to my being "proud" to wear a wedding band. I don't think I'm better than women who do not wear one, whether married or single. But when I wear a wedding band I'm declaring my status as a married woman. And covering to me implies a similar commitment to God. I can be faithful without either material article (ring or cover) but I am "proud" to wear both. (Well, more or less, I'm still in the beginning stages if covering, so I'm mostly speaking from a theoretical point of view. )
post #11 of 250
This is really interesting. I've been thinking about this as well. There was a thread started awhile ago about how a Christian woman was covering as a way of remembering to incorperate God into her daily life. That's why I've been thinking about covering. It would be a reminder daily to think about/praise/talk to/turn to the Goddess as I am living my life.

However, I know DH wouldn't like it at all, and I'm not sure where to start.
post #12 of 250
Thread Starter 
I should add... I'm fighting off a virus right now, so these musings reflect a fever of 101+ and zero sleep (since both girls are also sick). So beware!

It would be a reminder daily to think about/praise/talk to/turn to the Goddess as I am living my life.
I've been making and wearing strands of prayer beads for each holy day... I wear them sort of like a bracelet and they act as "reminders" to be mindful/meditate/focus on goddess. Maybe start with something like that?

Last night I remembered a co-worker of mine from many years ago... she was training to become a priestess in an African diaspora religion (not certain which one now). Anyway, at one point she wore a head covering for about 6 months. Each "type" of priestess had a different style of covering worn during ritual. If you were familiar with the group you could identify which priestess attended which diety just by looking. As a priestess in training she wore the head covering all the time for that period of training as a reminder/focus but after reaching her full status she no longer wore the covering all the time. It became a "just for ritual" thing. I'd completely forgot about this... I guess fevers are good for something!
post #13 of 250
That's pretty interesting!
post #14 of 250
i am a pagan and i cover too, i posted in the covering thread about my reasons, will come back here later to discuss it more. There is so little info out there about pagan covering, i would love to discuss more to develop my feelings and thoughts about it more.
post #15 of 250
Thread Starter 
Batty- heyla!

I know I found a couple sites while really out of it the other day... lets see how my google skillz are when my temp is normal!
post #16 of 250
I (and everyone else present) covered my hair at the last ritual I attended. In this case, we covered in white as a protective measure. I've met Pagans who cover all the time, and some who do just for ritual, and some who seem to go back and forth on it. I'd probably cover my hair more often if I had different colored hair coverings, but I don't so I don't. Then again, I can't say I follow a particular tradition.
post #17 of 250
Thread Starter 
Fever came back, I forgot to post!

ancient Irish covering-
Married women usually had the head covered either with a hood (caille, pron. cal-le) or with a long web of linen wreathed round the head in several folds.
modern pagan head covering-
ADF "Roman":
Romans also performed rituals capite velato (with head covered). These are customs easily adapted, even for solitary practitioners, by wearing a veil or head covering for solemn rituals
ADF "general druidic":
The white berets and any other head coverings should be removed at the entrance to the ritual site. Both these customs are to symbolize our connections with the Earth and the Sky.

lots of images of ancient greek or roman headscarves

blog about combining "plain living" and "pagan living"

blog about neo-pagan (Greek) headcovering
post #18 of 250
Note to anyone lurking...DH LOVED me covered, and says it wouldn't bother him if I did it all the time. ( I know that what your DP thinks is not meant to be a major consideration, but it was for me.) Never decided what your partner will think until you've talked to them!

I've only covered one day so far, and liked it. I used a scarf I had and tied it tichel style. I liked that I was supposed to be covering my hair, as I have a really hard forehead, and find it really tricky to put ona bandana!
post #19 of 250
How interesting is it that SO many pagan ladies have thought about this?? Add my name to the list, and I have NO idea why! Several months ago I toyed with wearing scarves but was horrible at tying them. I'm also guessing dh would think I'd gone round the bend, and surely family would

I may have to ask for a pretty feminine bandana style scarf for xmas.. or even put one in my own stocking lol.
post #20 of 250
I would like to cover more often, but we are still BW'ing and she finds head coverings irresistable right now.
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