Regardless of whether you chose to naturally loc your hair for spiritual or non-spiritual reasons, it may be interesting to learn about the spiritual importance of this ancient style. Who knows, you might even feel a mystical connection to some of its meaning. Adding additional layer to our decisions can provide us with extra inspiration to support our choices and efforts.
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The ancient Egyptians are our first stop. In mummified Egyptian tombs, archaeologists discovered locs that were still intact. Many discovered sculptures and other artifacts, such as loc'ed wigs, show that the ancient Egyptian pharaohs had locs. Locs were thought to indicate a certain level of power and prestige for anyone who was recognized or seen with loc'd hair by the Egyptians.
We learned about locs working as an antenna and receptor of mental energies, spiritual force, and physical strength from an Ethiopian tribe. Because locs are situated around the head and face, they serve as a constant spiritual reminder to their owners that they possess force, wisdom, and are supposed to generate goodness upon themselves and others.
Shiva was reported to have “Tajaa,” or twisted locs of hair, in Hindu culture. Many of Shiva's devotees donned locs as a symbol of their commitment to spiritual growth and resistance to earthly pleasures and temptations. In India, though, locs are frequently kept for holy individuals and signify a level of spiritual dedication.
Locs, according to rastafarian religion, are a part of the Nazarite vow, which is based on Leviticus and prohibits shaving the four corners of the head. Many people believe locs are linked to Judah's Lion. Because the lion is the ruler of the jungle, associating locs to lions represents a sense of power and independence, both physically and mentally.
Spiritual forces are said to leave the body through the head and hair in both Eastern and Western religions. Many of these religions believe that loc'ing the hair prevents energy from leaving the body, resulting in increased physical strength and spiritual vigor. The head and hair serve as a spiritual portal between worlds. This could explain why locs can be found in all cultures around the world.
When done with patience and deliberation, paying particular attention to locs can induce a heightened meditative state in many people. While paying close attention to and caring for all parts of our bodies can be meditative, understanding the spiritual potential of locs and tuning in to locs as a source of power can help to refresh and recharge important energy flow. Perhaps the ancient Ethiopians, Egyptians, and other tribes were sensitive to this energizing force.
What do hair locks symbolize?
Hair strands have a symbolic meaning and have been used in religious, superstitious, and sentimental rituals throughout history.
- A traditional belief holds that owning a strand of hair from another's head confers power over that person, just as having a piece of clothing or an image of that person confers such power.
- Giving a lock of one's hair to someone has long been thought to be a show of love and dedication, particularly before a separation. In fiction, particularly in the romance genre, it is still a popular motif.
- Virbius, Jove (Jupiter) in his woodland deity appearance, received locks of hair from Roman girls who were about to marry (Virbio).
- Shaving children's heads but leaving a lock of hair (often multiple locks) on their heads was an ancient and widespread (e.g., China, Egypt, Thailand, Albania, Ukraine, India, Israel, etc.) pre-adolescent ritual. The lock of hair was customarily cut off when you reached adulthood (see Rites of passage).
- A scalplock was a strand of hair preserved by a man throughout his life. The scalplock, like childhood locks, was a widespread phenomenon, especially among eastern forest Native American tribes in North America (see Iroquois, Huron, Mahican, and Mohawk) (see also Scalping and Mohawk hairstyle).
- According to Leo the Deacon, a Byzantine historian, Sviatoslav I of Kiev was said to have worn a scalp lock. Later, scalplocks known as oseledets or khokhol were worn by Ukrainian Cossacks (Zaporozhians). This tradition is still practiced in India, although exclusively among orthodox Hindus. Take a look at Sikha.
- Moroccan males with scalp locks are described in Mark Twain's travel book The Innocents Abroad.
- Moroccan Riffian (Berber) males had the custom of shaving their heads but leaving a single lock of hair on the crown, left, or right side of the head so that the angel Azrael may “draw them up to the Last Day's heaven.”
- A popular belief is that a strand of hair from a baby's first haircut should be saved for good luck.
- Accepting a lock of hair (or a four-footed beast) from a lover is considered unfortunate in Irish folklore.
- In 1994, Sotheby's of London auctioned a lock of Beethoven's hair that was cut off his head in 1827. The composer's lifelong ailment was caused by lead poisoning, according to hair analysis.
- A Polish plait (Koltun in Polish, meaning “Knot,” but sometimes referred to as a “Elf-Lock” in English) is a matted hair lock that looks like a dreadlock. King Christian IV of Denmark (15771648) had a Polish plait hanging from the left side of his head due to a scalp illness (Plica polonica), which is ornamented with a huge pearl in an engraved image in the Royal Collection. The haircut was claimed to have been adopted by his courtiers in order to impress the king. The Polish plait used to be very popular in Poland due to superstitious beliefs (hence its name). Originally, the plait was thought to be an amulet that would bring good health because it was thought to “take” the illness “out” of the body, hence it was rarely cut off.
- From the end of the 16th century until far into the 17th century, a lovelock was popular among European “men of fashion.” The lovelock was a long plaited (braided) lock of hair worn over the left shoulder (the heart side) to indicate devotion to a loved one.
- It was typical practice in Victorian times for devastated family members to save strands of hair from deceased children or relatives. The surviving loved ones were comforted by these strands of hair, which were viewed as mementos. Lockets were commonly used to store these strands of hair, while small jars and other types of jewelry were also utilized in some situations. Jewelry can range from bracelets to earrings, as well as different sorts of brooches (see hair jewellery).
Why are dreadlocks sacred?
Dreadlocks, on the other hand, are much more than a hairstyle among Rastafarians. They symbolize a link to Africa as well as a rejection of the West, which they refer to as Babylon. Dreadlocks symbolize a revitalized pride in African physical traits and Blackness, which is in line with their belief in keeping things natural. Dreadlocks are thought to connect wearers to Jah (God) and have a deeper spiritual significance “His magical power, which may be found all across the globe, is known as “earth-force.” Some even believe that tying or securing one's hair retains this energy within the body, preventing it from exiting through the skull. The Biblical narrative of Samson, who lost his strength when Delilah cut his seven locks, attests to this idea in dreadlocks having physical force. The Nazirite vow, which includes abstaining from alcohol and not cutting one's hair, is described in the Bible's Book of Numbers and was embraced by Rastafarians as a major part of their religious system.
I can't rule out the potential of finding matted or trapped hair in European history at some point. Although there is visual evidence of Ancient Greeks with braided hair and possibly locks, one might argue that the Greeks were more inspired by their darker complexion Eastern and Mediterranean neighbors than their Northern neighbors. Regardless of this likelihood, it should go without saying that white people's modern-day dreadlocks are unrelated to their own past and instead influenced by ours. When I've inquired about white people's dreadlocks, I've received comments ranging from “My hair would do this naturally if I didn't comb it” to “Vikings had dreadlocks.” I checked into the latter remark and found no evidence to support it. There is a Roman passage attributed to Julius Caesar that describes the Celts as having “hair that looks like snakes” However, it appears illogical to imply that this is evidence of the presence of dreadlocks in the first millennium, let alone to use this as justification for wearing dreadlocks now.
Do dreadlocks have a meaning?
Dreadlocks have always been a fashion statement. They're spiritual for many people, and they represent letting go of material stuff. Others see them as political and a means of defying conformity and the existing quo. Some people are simply drawn to the way they appear.
What is the history behind locs?
From Germanic tribes to Islamic Dervishes, locs can be found in practically every civilization throughout history. The majority of historians believe locs originated in Egypt. The first ancient evidence for locs was discovered in Egypt, when mummies were uncovered and discovered with their locs fully intact, which is a pretty amazing image.
Another theory claims that Locs first appeared in India around 2,500 BCE. Ancient Indian scriptures contain references to locs. This literature is known as Vedic scripture, and it depicts the deity Shiva with a twisted lock of hair called ‘jaTaa.'
Locs have always been associated with spirituality. The spirit departs the body through the skull, according to many ancient cultures and religions. Many people believed that by knotting, twisting, and tying their hair, they might conserve more energy in the body, resulting in greater physical and spiritual strength. Rastafarianism is well-known for espousing this viewpoint.
Ras Tafari, the Ethiopian ruler, is the founder of Rastafarianism. Natural locs arose as a symbol of reverence for their god. When Ras Tafari was exiled, many of his supporters pledged not to cut their hair until the emperor returned.
Rastafarians in Jamaica were known for wearing locs not as a fashion statement, but as a way of life. Locs represented a sense of belonging among the rastas. They were worn to convey a message of togetherness and diversity. “At first, the hair choices of the Rasta brethren were considered as terrifying to youngsters, unstable to society, and potentially even sacrilegious,” writes Dr. Bert Ashe in his book Twisted: My Dreadlocks Chronicles. The rationale for why so many people wear Locs now hasn't strayed far from its original meaning. While locs are more prevalent in some cultures than others, they are nevertheless a rich multicultural emblem of identity with both community and personal significance.
Where and when?
Our story originates in Israel between 1080 and 1119 BC, more than 3000 years ago. So, roughly a thousand years before to the birth of Christ. In Israel, in what is now known as Tel Aviv.
Samson was a tribal warrior from the Dan region of Israel.
We can see where it would have been if we look at our globe and the local map.
We can see the location of what was once known as Dan on the shoreline right here near the West Bank of Jerusalem.
Who is Samson and why are his dreadlocks relevant?
We all know about Samson, a guy whose dreadlocks were thought to be the source of his strength and might. But there's a lot more to the story. We only hear about Samson and Delilah when we learn about Samson's locks, but that's only half of a five-chapter story.
Samson belonged to the Nazarites tribe. The word ‘Nazarite' is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Nazir,' which means ‘consecrated or segregated.' Some argue that the term'set apart' is more accurate.
The Nazarite vow forbids hair cutting and encourages ‘locks' to grow. This is found in Chapter 6 v5 of the book of Numbers. At Biblegateway, you may cross-reference a number of various translations.
However, in the New King James Version, the most commonly used word is as follows:
v5 ‘No razor shall come onto his head during the days of his separation vow; he shall be holy until the days for which he separated himself to the Lord are fulfilled. Then he'll let his hair grow in its natural state.
Prof. Robert Beckford, publisher of the book Jesus is dread, told us in a recent interview that he believes Jesus wore dreadlocks.
This is based on the assumption that Jesus was a nazarite. As a nazarene, Jesus is referred to. But that's something we'll keep for another video.
How does God feel about dreadlocks?
Although dreadlocks are not religious in nature, they are worn by certain people to reflect their religious beliefs or convictions.
- Dreadlocks are not a sin according to Biblical standards. They are mentioned in the Bible several times, most notably in Judges 16, where it is revealed that Samson had seven locs. His locs reflected his commitment (or detachment) to the Lord as a man who had taken the Nazarite vow.
The Nazarite vow is a short consecration undertaken by both men and women to demonstrate their total dedication to God. The vow, recorded in Numbers 6, specifies that no razor shall touch a person's head during the days of their oath of separation, and that their hair must grow long. Many Nazarites are said to have fasted from not just cutting but also brushing their hair, causing dreads. A sacrifice is presented to the temple to complete the vow, and the person's hair is cut.
Believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are no longer subject to the law, but to a new covenant. While there is no reference of hair in the New Testament writings, some people prefer to grow their locs as a mark of their faithfulness to God (Romans 12:1).
- The Nazarite vow, which we just studied, was spoken to Moses and is recorded in Bamidbar (the Jewish Torah's book of Numbers).
Today, Jews are permitted to take the Nazarite vow, but doing so would almost certainly be a lifelong decision due to the lack of a mechanism to end the promise. Remember to bring an offering to the temple at the conclusion of the vow. The Nazarite vow cannot be fulfilled without a temple in Jerusalem.
- Tibetan Buddhist Yogis, also known as the Ngakpas and Naljorpas of Tibet, usually wear their hair in dreadlocks. To retain their appearance, mind, and body uncontrived, they leave their hair untouched, unstyled, and uncut.
- Dreadlocks have grown fashionable among followers of the Rastafari cult. Locs are a sign of the Lion of Judah and the tremendous reverence Rastafarians have for their god.
- The Hindu god Shiva wore'matted' dreadlocks as a symbol of keeping his desires tied together, or under control. Each strand of hair was thought to represent a desire, and by tying them together, he would be able to control his desires. Hindus may also dreadlock their hair for the same purpose.
You may have heard (or seen images) of Sadhus, Hindu and Jain religious ascetics who adhere to a rigid spiritual discipline. Dreadlocks (jata) are worn to represent spiritual enlightenment and superior understanding. The length of their locs corresponds to the length of their devotion to their gods.
Are dreadlocks a protective hairstyle?
They're considered a protective style for natural hair because they don't require any chemicals to make. They also aid in the retention of moisture in the hair and do not place undue stress on the scalp. Dreads also necessitate a great deal of patience, since they can take years to complete.
Are dreadlocks a cultural thing?
The truth is that, as valid as my method of taking care of my locks is to me, it is not the only way to have locks. Rastafarians were not the first to wear dreadlocks, in fact. Many cultures have owned dreadlocks, with representations of locks in Hindu Vedic literature predating its current radical symbolism, and Indian holy men wearing locks long before Rastafarian messiah King Hailie Selassie in the 1930s. Dreadlocks were also worn by Vikings, Aztecs, and Germanic tribes. It felt good to claim and own my dreadlocks, but it felt selfish to insist that only others with my skin tone and hair pattern could respect the dreadlock journey.