The Mane Issue

Since I was a child, I have always wanted to have long hair. My Mom wouldn’t let me grow it out until I was 10. I haven’t cut it short since.

I have been known to go a decade or more between trims, but in the last few years I’ve gotten a bit braver, allowing a trim once a year, and even dying the ends to look like verdigris to my tarnished-copper natural tresses.

I’ve read in various places of people being obliged to keep their hair long for religious reasons, and I’ve long felt that keeping it long was a religious obligation for me as well, even before I actually HAD a religion to attribute it to. But for the longest time, none of the Powers I honor have claimed more than appreciation for my hair. Freyja has referred to it as a source of Power and Protection for me, but has not claimed ownership of the taboo. Others have made similar remarks in meditation, divination, or through other mediums.

Finally last night, in my usual (if irregular) personal journey work, I checked in as always with my main spirit allies, Rabbit, Stag, Lion, and Redwood. All had messages for me, and I found myself apologizing tearfully to each of Them because I have felt out of touch recently, but They each mentioned one or another way in which I have kept up my obligations as far as They are concerned.

Lion, specifically, told me that as long as I take proper care of my Mane, we’re good, and He can continue to protect me, as is His duty to me as a member of my family (which, I’ve assumed, comes from my Dad’s side of the family but I haven’t actually asked, now that I think of it…)

He also made a terrible pun about being my “Might and Main”. *Facepalm* That actually does make sense if, as Winifred Hodge and Suzana Garrison say in their article on Soulmaking at Frigga’s Web, the Main is passed to the individual via the kinfetch, or family animal guardian. I hadn’t thought of that until looking it up again just now.

So I’m a bit excited all around to finally have an answer to this question that has followed me all my life: My compulsion to keep my hair, my mane, as it were, as long and healthy as I can is indeed a religious obligation – to my kinfetch, Lion! 😀


About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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2 Responses to The Mane Issue

  1. Lusi says:

    That’s interesting… I have weird cycles with my hair; periods where I feel it necessary to have it long, and then some crisis or trough or Dark Night of the Soul comes along, and won’t pass until I cut my hair off. It seems to be about every 6 to 8 years… oh well, at least it grows quickly. After reading your post, I’m beginning to wonder if I should ask Someone about it specifically.


    • EmberVoices says:

      Hmm, possibly!

      I do know a fair few people who respond to major changes or stress by making major changes to their hair. People suddenly cutting their long hair short is an alarm, to me, because I’ve too often seen it be a response to intense distress.

      But I’ve also seen it be a sort of re-set after a major change. I have known people who basically use how long their hair is as a measure of how long it has been since something specific happened, and then when they get to the next marker, it’s time to trim it off.

      Our relationships with our hair are much more deeply spiritual and psychological than the “beauty” industry would like to allow, sometimes. Keeping up with the latest trends is definitely not the only relevant factor.


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