Hair, our crowning glory. How we style our hair is integral to the expression of who we are, or how we want to be perceived. Consciously and subconsciously. The meaning of hair goes deep.
Whether tied up in a bun, let loose, covered, cut close to the head or coloured, our hair tells a story – how we feel and who we are. Having great hair can boost self-confidence and “bad” hair can even ruin a day.
We may think hair is dead. We can cut it, without pain and any apparent harm. Kirlian photography, however, shows an energetic field around hair. Being part of the nervous system, hair emits energy. Melanin, which is light sensitive, acts as a conductor.
The Spiritual Power of Hair
The “rishi” knot is said to energize the aura or magnetic field and stimulate the pineal gland. The hair is coiled up on top of the crown (chakra) to energize the brain during the day, and let down to take in lunar energy at night.
Braiding the hair supposedly helps harmonize the electromagnetic field. Braids, for some Native American tribes, signify oneness and unity – the binding of the lower, middle, and upper worlds. Native Americans, like many peoples, believe hair to be a symbol of spiritual health and strength.
The central importance and meaning of hair can be found in all cultures and through time.
Some people feel hair serves as antennas – pranic antennas – that pull in the sun’s energy (prana) and other subtle energies and information from the environment.
Stories about Native American trackers have surfaced recently about the connection between hair and intuition. Recruited during the Vietnam war, these trackers seemed to have lost their super feel-the-lay-of-the-land abilities after they got the required military hair cut.
According to Yogi Bhajan, “when the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, Vitamin D are all produced and enter the lymphatic fluid, and eventually the spinal fluid through the two ducts on the top of the brain. This ionic change creates more efficient memory and leads to greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience.”
Research shows that hair is essentially a Vitamin D factory. Vitamin D is required by every cell in the body.
Energy (and protein) is expended to grow cut hair to its natural length. Dull flat hair is thought to be a sign of protein deficiency. Cutting hair equates to “depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality.” (Yogi Bhajan)
Hair in History + Story
Looking through the ages, wise men, sages, and holy people all have had long hair. Was there more to it than just mere customs? The story of Samson and Delia, for example, shows the loss of Samson’s supernatural strength when his hair was cut.
Hair has long been tied in with religion/spirituality – Sikhs with uncut and turbaned hair, the Hasidic Jews with the Peyote, Rastafarians with the dreadlocks…
Historically, conquered and enslaved peoples had their hair cut off. It was the sign of ultimate humiliation. It was also a way to curb their power, bringing on dejection. Getting hair cut off against someone’s will or for a “greater” cause is tantamount to losing their personal identity – soldiers, monks, prisoners…Trading in individual identity for a bigger identity (a military unit, religious order, etc) meant subjugating individual thinking (for Self) to a larger overarching ideology. Giving power over to something “greater”.
To shave or not to shave also played out as political resistance as seen in the history of the “queue” in China. It was the head or the hair.
Many people cut off their hair at significant events, such as the end of a relationship. Chopping off hair physically feels lighter and refreshed. Symbolically it severs the past, lightening up the load, initiating the new, and welcoming a major change. Power.
There is great memory-energy in hair; telling stories of your past, that are carried into your future. I’ve known clients, both men and women, who have shaved their heads to help set the re-start button on their emotional, spiritual, and physical lives.
En-May, Intuitive Wellness Coach
Letting down your hair is akin to letting go, freeing from conventions, feeling wild, unbridled, sovereign. Power.
Hair + Vitality
Aside from a signifier of power, hair is also a reflection of vitality.
Called “the surplus of the Blood”1, hair depends on the Blood for nourishment, which relates to the Kidney Essence. Hair, being a physical branch of the Kidney meridian, reflects Kidney vitality, and thus the body’s vitality.
Hair loss is associated with Kidney deficiency and the depletion of the adrenals and Jing.
A popular herb in TCM and a hair tonic is He Shou Wuo. The story is that a famous Chinese military officer was condemned to death by confinement. Without any food or drink, he survived on the weed Polygonum Multiflorum. The guards found a healthy man, with a fully-restored head of black hair. The herb is named after this General. He Shou Wuo is a liver and kidney tonic that nourishes the blood and essence. Great for depleted adrenals and the lecithin is great for the hair.
In Nutripuncture, the Hair Meridian is the Line of Potency. “When contact or connection with the self is lost, these vital currents are always affected.” 2 The Hair Meridian, along with the Skin Meridian, is a secondary meridian of the Liver-Gall Bladder Meridian Family, with the Master of the Heart-Triple Warmer (Spring, Touch, Ether).
These two meridians (Hair + Skin) are involved in tactile equilibrium. The Hair Meridian’s sensitivity is influenced by sex hormones. Our potency lies in our uniqueness, which is sexualized (all cells are XX or XY). When we do not feel good in our own skin or put ourselves in other people’s shoes or on their identities, we lose our essence, or at least its expression. If the condition of our hair is less than stellar, in Nutripuncture, we may look at the circulation of Master of the Heart and Triple Warmer meridian lines which figure into our container, our boundaries, our space.
Both power and vitality can dissipate without attention. The Qi Gong axiom of “energy follows attention” reminds us that attention and intention are a key ingredient to a life well-lived. Paying attention to our hair, from simple gestures to having a ritual, increases awareness of our body as a whole, embodying who we are, and standing in our power.
Keep hair healthy by washing with baking soda and conditioning with apple cider vinegar or aloe vera juice. A natural bristle brush is great to stimulate blood circulation. Opt for wooden combs as wood does not create or discharge static electricity, which decreases the hair’s energy to the brain. Brush back to front, front to back, and each side, an energizing practice, to increase circulation and scalp health. Itchy scalp? Try lemon juice or an Ayurvedic oil. Lessen the chemical load by putting on a shower head filter.
God does not play dice with the universe. – Einstein
Hair is the outward reflection of inner vitality. Poor hair condition is a sign that imbalance exists on some level. Nothing is ever wasted in nature; there is order in chaos and there is rhyme and reason for why we have hair. They are literally our feelers and as a personal asset, hair is important on many levels. Maybe science has not proven whether they are intuition antennas or whether they pull in pranic energy. Many peoples believe there is innate power in long hair. Whatever is our spiritual paradigm, feeling empowered comes from expressing our own unique identity. This, we can do with short, long, or no hair. This is power.
The meaning of hair is a spectrum of power play and spiritual expression. It serves multiple functions, including the reflection of our inner health. Many traditions have customs of keeping hair long and uncut. Some of the original meaning is lost to us. Whether your hair is long or short, it is what you believe the meaning of your hair is that matters.
1The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk, p 88
2 Nutripuncture: Stimulating the Energy Pathways of the Body Without Needles by Patrick Veret et al, p 201