Years ago, I found out that there is an entire movement within various pagan hemispheres regarding head covering. I find the whole thing kind of fascinating and I spent a good deal of my time back then, reading through various pagan blogs about the phenomena. There were a lot of different reasons that pagans chose to cover their head and while I found it interesting, I knew it wasn’t for me. In my mind, I kind of associate covering one’s head with priest roles and since I am clearly of the laity brand of Kemeticism, it obviously wasn’t for me.
Flash forward to a few months ago and I got this overwhelming urge to just take a “peek” at what other Kemetics are doing as far as head covering. I wouldn’t say that there is a movement, per se, but there are a few who have taken on covering their heads. In some instances, it is a daily thing. In other instances, it is on festivals and holidays to a particular god. In still other cases, there are occasions of priestly duties being fulfilled that require [on the part of the personal practice of the devotee] the act of covering one’s head.
All very fascinating, of course, but what the fuck did this have to do with me?
After perusing through the blogs of people who do this sort of thing, I got a sort of like mini-whisper at the back of my mind: like wouldn’t it be kind of neat if you did this? I said very surely and very emphatically, “no.” I then took it upon myself to take a bandana into the bathroom with me and tied it over my head so that the ends were covered by my [very long] hair. I stared at myself and was completely freaked out by the fact that this was getting too close to that line in the sand, the one that said this stuff was a priesthood kind of thing and I’m not interested. I consequently ripped the damn bandana off, threw it across the room and yelled, “no.”
I know this sounds like me being a prat and to some extent, I am being one. The thing about it is that, to me, covering one’s head is more emphatically “priesthood” than I am willing to delve. I do a lot of things and fulfill a number of roles that can easily be perceived as priesthood – and I admit that – but the fact that I was taking head covering seriously was yet another step in the direction that frightens the hell out of me.
There does seem to have been some hair restrictions within the priesthood of ancient Egypt – shaving one’s body hair seems to have been a thing – and I’ve remarked that times have changed often enough. It stands to reason that instead of shaving one’s head in a Kemetic context, a devotee would have the push to cover their hair instead. For the most part, we don’t live in a place where having excess hair could cause overheating and we don’t live in a time when hygiene is a huge problem.
I got the push a few times to cover my head and each time, I very forcefully refused. “I am not interested in this. Please let’s come up with a level of compromise that both sides can be comfortable with.” Since my hair is so long, there are actually very few hair styles that work on a daily basis… but braiding helps to keep it out of my face. It also prevents the pain at the crown of my head if I wear my hair up too high for too long. (You may not realize it, but hair can get fairly heavy.)
I quailed and dithered about this for a while. Again, I was being put in a position to do something that seemed far more devotional than I am willing to commit to. Again, I recognize that I’m probably coming off as an ass and a whining baby. But you know what? I went into Kemeticism not with the idea of priesthood, but with the idea of creating a functional practice that I could hand down to others.
To me, being a priest is a sort of calling and there is a limit to who can and cannot become a priest. By jumping into a quasi-priesthood role, I felt as though I was moving away from what I had originally intended and into an area of dark, unexplored territory that I had firmly informed myself that I would never go into.
Never say never, I guess.
In the end, I decided to just bite the bullet. Braiding one’s hair isn’t so bad. So, I ended up moving forward with braiding my hair on a regular basis. “Okay,” I said to whomever was pushing me, “I will braid my hair 90% of the time when I leave the house. Is that acceptable?” The push to cover my head faded and I relaxed about it.
During my last services to Sekhmet, I got another kind of little push in the head covering department. I told her she could take a long leap off of a short pier. Actually, my phrasing was that I would go ahead and do that if she could scratch my back first. The feeling faded quickly enough and I went back to ignoring that whole shtick and everything it entailed. Until I got the hit this morning while I was getting ready for work.
All right, all right. I figured I could just give it a shot.
Aside from all of the remarks I got from various coworkers about the bandana wrapped around my head, I felt absolutely nothing different. Oh, that’s not true. I was annoyed that I was doing this. I was annoyed that I got a ton of comments from my coworkers (which range from being informed that I am channeling my inner Lucille Ball to reminding another about weekends spent cleaning the attic). I was annoyed that the damn bandana kept slipping back and I had to retie it repeatedly. But above all else, the most annoying bit was that I felt more relaxed and clear-headed than I have for weeks while at work.
I am not comfortable with this, at all. The idea of wearing bandanas every day is kind of bothersome, never mind the comments or the fact that I don’t know how to prevent it from sliding back on my head. But even with the knowledge that I was quite comfortable and felt rather more relaxed than I have been lately, I have to ask myself if this is something that I can commit to. It’s all a jumbled mass in my mind but at the top of it all is the frantic high-pitched screams at the back of my mind because this isn’t how things were supposed to work out. I recognize that things may ease up considerably, stress wise, but I have to ask myself, am I really ready for this?
Logically, I should just go for it and get it over with.
Illogically, I am a gibbering idiot, screeching about how this isn’t fair.