Since writing the post on Samson last Saturday, in which I copied out Barbara G. Walker's interesting observations on Samson from her The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, I couldn't get HAIR out of my mind. I wondered what on earth would possess the ancients to believe that a man's strength was somehow connected with his hair? I wondered is this some kind of inborn genetic thing, and is that why men start to panic and use all kinds of chemicals and drugs and even resort to hair transplants when their hair starts falling out, leaving them looking like Prince William by the age of 28??? They feel the need for hair, but they don't understand WHY.
And what is the WHY, anyway?
But before I get into that, I can't help myself, darlings, I've just got to put up this You Tube video of the fab song Hair from the musical by the same name. I saw a live performance of it in 1970 at the old Palace Theatre in Milwaukee, WI (my hometown) way back in 1970 I think it was. The Palace has long since disappeared, but the memories live on. We were in the nosebleed section of the balcony but the music was SO loud, and once again my affinity for the stage and performing was confirmed. I SHOULD have followed my instincts as a child and turned myself into the next Debbie Reynolds. Oh well. A road not followed. Maybe in my next life...
So bear with me, and I do hope you enjoy this as much as I do! This is the 1969 version by the Cowsills -- Yes, the COWSILLS? Is anyone out there still alive who remembers THEM? Talk about wholesome middle-America! LOL! And then they came out with Hair and of all the versions I've heard, even the stage versions, I love this one best of all! The pronunciation of the words and how the music flows together, just fabulous! I could understand every single word in this version of the song, and the lyrics are JUST.SO.AWESOME! Even 40 plus years later, I still sing that damn song every now and then...
So, now, on to the serious stuff!!!!
As shown by its importance in witch-charms and in the mutual exchange of talismans between lovers, hair was usually viewed as a repository of at least a part of the soul. At the ancient temple of Troezen, youths and maidens dedicated locks of their hair to the savior-god Hippolytus before marriage; this was "designed to strengthen his union with the Goddess." (1)
When the Goddess-mother became Queen of Shades for each god or man at the end of his life, his soul was likened to a child seeking safety in the mother's shadow. The Great Mother's hair cast its shadow over the approaching soul. An Egyptian found salvation by identifying himself with Osiris, for whom the Goddess made resurrection-magic with her hair: "He is found with her hair spread over him; it is shaken out over his brow."(2) When Isis put on mourning garments for Osiris, she cut a lock of her hair to preserve his soul. Egyptian widows similarly buried locks of their hair with deceased husbands, as a charm of protection in the after-world.
When Isis restored vitality to the dead Osiris, entitled the Still Heart, she created his new life with her hair, made his heart beat again and his penis move so she could conceive his reincarnation, Horus. She "produced warmth from her hair, she caused air to come...She caused movement to take place in what was inert in the Still Heart, she drew essence (semen) from him, she made flesh and blood, she suckled her babe alone."(3) She further protected her Divine Child by "shaking out her hair over him."(4)
Mortal women often claimed the same preservative magic for their own hair. Ptolemy III was protected from harm on his Syrian campaign in 247 B.C. by his wife Berenice, who dedicated locks of her hair on Aphrodite's altar for this purpose. When the hair vanished from the temple, it was discovered among the divine figures in heaven, where it appears to this day as the constellation Coma Berenices, "Berenice's Hair."(5)
Signs and wonders in the heavens were usually intepreted as significant omens of future catastrophes, particularly a comet, "spirit of hair." A comet was supposed to be a tendril of the Great Mother's hair appearing in the sky as the world was slowly overshadowed by her twilight shadow of doomsday. Most forms of the Death-goddess showed masses of hair standing out from her head, sometimes in the shape of serpents, as in the Gorgoneum of Medusa-Meta-Neith-Ananti-Athene. On the magic principle of "as above, so below," women's hair partook of the same mystic powers as the Goddess's hair. Tantric sages declared that the binding or unbinding of women's hair activated cosmic forces of creation and destruction.(6)
WOW! That is totally awesome information. I'm calling it a night now. My energy level is not what it used to be.
I will continue with Barbara Walker's fascinating information on HAIR tomorrow night.