Advice · beauty · Lifestyle

Hair-Releasing Rituals

Recently, I experienced an epiphany, one I never imagined I’d experience. As of April 2014, I decided to release my Sisterlocks, a special, interlocked style I’ve adored for well over fifteen years now. For those of you who’ve never heard of this style, it is a system of specific hair weaving, with or without a tiny implement, as one can easily lock the hair with one’s fingernails. Once locked, the hair boasts a thick or a very thin diameter, which gives the head of hair a slightly different look. My locs are very thin, thicker in the back, locked with a few strands of natural hair at a time. My sister Bernadette’s locs, for example, are much thicker. I opted for thinner locs thinking they would be more easily manipulated, style-wise.

I’m releasing my hair in a ritualistic way. The notion of a Big Chop, as many of the natural-hair divas on YouTube coin the release of relaxed tresses, is where I’m headed, yet I don’t want to simply film myself cutting my locs and tossing the hunk of hair in the trash.

My hair is my crowning glory, to quote my father, and as such, I value and adore it. Therefore, my desire is to release it into the world and have it received with the same reverence that I offer it. I want my hair to bless, to grace, and to uplift. My hair-release ritual is about a BEAUTIFUL BEGINNING and a SHINING START.

Not only am I continuing to brim with excitement about the release of my locs to whomever will listen, but also I’m filming myself on YouTube continuing to lovingly care for them, until I stage my Hair-Release Gala, which will be televised as well. Why not? Look for it!

Steeped in hair euphoria as I am, quite naturally, I found it interesting to learn that some of my friends don’t feel the same way that I do about my decision. Many think that I am actually DEPRESSED. One of my beloved darlings said that I’d been lovingly caring for my hair TOO long to make such a rash decision. I paused. Thought about another friend, who gently prodded, “C’mon! Let’s talk about it. Really? Why? It’ll be okay, whatever it is.”

What was I to say?

Then today on my five-mile walk, an idea popped into my head. Google “Hair Release Rituals.” I did. But there were none, at least, none like I expected to find. I did come upon on an article on In the piece, I learned that some Indian baby boys experienced a hair-release ceremony, when they turned a year old. It is a sacred ceremony known as Mundan Sanskar, the baby boy’s first haircut. Relatives and friends come together to bless the child, and the baby’s hair is cut in an intricate, ritualistic manner.

“According to the Hindu beliefs,” the article read, “the hair present at birth is supposed to represent unwanted traits from the past lives.” The belief is if the child’s hair isn’t cut it just might harbor “undesirable qualities.” WHAT? Talk about interesting. Practitioners even believe releasing the baby’s birth hair stimulates and improves blood circulation to the brain, which contributes to the child’s long and wonderful life.

The Mundan Sanskar ritual reminds me of my family’s custom of having a baby boy sit for his first haircut at 12 months of age as well. Our custom isn’t subsumed in the carry-over of ugly ways from past lives. Some of us just think a boy’s braids shouldn’t snake his back, like his sisters. My sister Bernadette, for example, claims her two boys looked like little old men, the longer their hair grew, when they were toddlers. That was funny to me, but when she added that she’d heard that if you cut a baby’s hair before he was a year old, he wouldn’t possess the ability to speak clearly. I screamed at that one! My only son, cute as what, never favored a miniature man with his long braids, before his year-old chop.



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