H is for Headcovering

1 May

When I was in eighth grade I had a scarf.

It was long, flowing, a variety of shades of pink. It started light, and the color deepened throughout, before fading again as it reached the end. I always found it particularly beautiful, but I couldn’t figure out exactly how the scarf should be worn. Around my neck? As a belt? On my head?

In the end, I did decide that covering up my ears (chronically sticking out where I didn’t want them) and hair (which even at my shoulders, felt too long) with the scarf was the way to go. The contrast it made against the school uniform was beautiful. When I moved into public school the next year, I had found a black scarf that I wore bandana-style over my hair. It stayed there until a group of boys began to make fun on me and call me a nun.

About a week ago (the 20th, I believe), I had a yearning to cover my hair again. I went into my mother’s room, took an old square bandana, and tied it loosely around my head. It’s stuck with me since – usually in the form of a pseudo tichel (my hair is way too short to do a proper one). For months, I had been reading blog after blog about pagan/polytheist women who covered their hair. Usually, they were god-spouses or Hestia’s women. It marked modesty for most of them. And while I thought it was beautiful, I didn’t think it would work for me. My goddesses did not seek for me to be modest, but to stand out and shine like Their own solar selves. My Fathers, I figured, did not particularly care about my looks. There was no Kemetic reasoning, ancient or modern, to convince me to cover my hair. As for myself, “modest dress” was something I did when insecure about my body, which my goddesses were teaching me to celebrate.

Hence my confusion at the compulsion I felt. At first I thought it might be Wepwawet asking me for this. Compulsion admittedly did not seem His style, but even less so was it Ptah’s. Ptah might be a king and creator, but His style is much subtler than Wepwawet’s has ever been in my life. It definitely wasn’t Sekhmet, Hethert, or Bast. I went with it, confused, and giving credit in my mind to the crafty Jackal I call Father.

As I began to cover more, I got a little less clumsy with the scarf I had. The four family members who have seen me all asked why when we met (“Because I like how it looks, and it feels right”), but did not object or push about it. My partner seems to like it (especially taking it off or putting it on), though his family remains curiously quiet. The only feedback I get has been positive, and I feel great. Some people say that head-covering helps them block out other energies, but it feels more like a filter to me. Yes, it blocks negative feelings from affecting me, but I feel much more in-tune with spiritual energies now, none more so than the ones who sent me this way: my ancestors.

I have never had a strong relationship with my akhu. They seem happy enough with me. The only akh I really feel like I knew in this life was Esther, and this isn’t her thing. It’s different akhu together, much older than her. Ones that are blood relatives, for one. I’m not sure how far back they go, or where they’re from, or anything, really, other than that they are women. They want me to connect with them, and this is the first step. I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I’m in their hands though – our blessed dead are why my family is where it is at today, and I won’t turn them away on good faith.

I wanted to get to know them anyway!

As for modesty and head-covering, I’m not sure how to treat that. I just got to the place where I like my body. I’m not going to lose the shorts, or start lengthening my sleeves, not in a summer drought. I know I’m not going to wear a hijab, as I am not a Muslimah and do not want to provide others with confusion (I already keep having to explain that I’m not a Unitarian-Universalist…) It’s all learning from here on out…

Dua Akhu – shining as gold in the arms of Nut! Help me to learn your ways, and honor you in ma’at, in all that I do.

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4 Responses to “H is for Headcovering”

  1. kallistaqbhwt May 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    This was very interesting to read, thank you 🙂
    I’ve often felt the need of covering my head (usually with a scarf or bandana). My mother used to hate it, she said I shouldn’t hide myself. I quite disagree with her still. I’ve always found covering my head comfortable and comforting. It was quite amusing as in Egypt people often asked me if I were muslim, as I adopted the hijab style, only not covering the neck, just the hair and back of the head. (I suppose it wasn’t just that, I often wore a linen tunic, just like most muslim women did, so I think that added to the confusion).
    And I find it a good filter as well 😉

    • Khenneferitw May 7, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      I don’t usually consider it hiding, but when I take my hair down around my partner, it feels like a revealing, or an opening. Like vulnerability and trust are being expressed in the simple motion of untying knots.

      People mistaking me for a Muslim woman would be a happy surprise on my end, but I think many Muslims would not be comfortable with such a liberal, sexual pagan being mistaken for part of their faith, and I’d hate to misrepresent.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Ekunyi May 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I’ve never used a bandanna or scarf to cover my head, only hats, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe I use them similarly. Something of a buffer, where I can pull the rim down and keep my eyes hidden, send my thoughts within instead of wandering out and worrying overly much about the world around me. Fascinating. Thanks for the chance to ponder! I hope you keep having good experiences with your own headcovering. ^_^

    • Khenneferitw May 7, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Hats! Man, I should have worn HATS when I was a kid, instead of staring at the ground and ruining my spinal alignment! Go get a time machine, Eks (that’s your new name. It’s about to be Ekans), and warn past me!

      Thanks for reading this! ❤

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