Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Head Covering and My Spiritual Experience

I promised to talk more about my recent spiritual activity, so here it is!

There have been a few things going on with me as far as spirituality and religion go, in particular the urge to be more involved in my practices.  That's one of the reasons why I created the Daily Prayer resolution-- I wanted to be more connected to the Divine on a daily basis, and I feel like prayer is an important spiritual practice in regards to connection with the Divine.  It's been a struggle to do intentional prayer on a daily basis, but I'm working my way up.  Prayer in general has been a really important aspect of my faith, and has held steady both as a christian and as a pagan. Prayer is a very real way for me to connect with the Divine, and as a fan of rituals I've been trying to make prayer part of my daily routine.

In addition to prayer, I've been dabbling in head covering.  I know, not really a pagan tradition. Or is it?  I did some googling, and I found that there are quite a few pagan women out there who practice head covering as part of their spiritual practice. In fact, there's a private group on Facebook for pagan women who practice head covering. And in reality, headcovering itself is not some special tradition known only to fundamentalist Christians or  practicing Muslims.  The Romans and Greeks did it, Jewish men and women do it, Catholics do it, and yes, even pagans do it. And there are plenty of people out there who cover their heads for non-religious reasons, as well.

Pretty sure J-Lo is not a married Orthodox Jewish woman, but she can rock a tichel if she wants to!

The reasons for head covering vary by culture, but when you do a lot of google searching you start to see some general themes, and one of those is Modesty.  Now, I don't wear skimpy skirts or itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikinis, but I wouldn't characterize myself as modest.  I can curse like a sailor, I like showing off the girls in V-neck shirts every once in awhile, and I certainly don't think that I need to cover my body because showing it off is somehow impure. My body is... well, my body.  It's got its good parts and bad parts, but I don't think it's inherently pure or impure.  I also don't think I need to cover myself in order to reduce the sexual power of my body, either.  If boys get off by looking at me (seriously, me?!) and cannot control their behavior because of that, then THEY have the problem, not me.  And I find it quite annoying when men think that because of their issues around sex they are entitled to control the things women wear. "I'm a Fundamentalist Jew/Muslim/Christian/PaganWhat-have-you and when I see women's hair/hands/cleavage my penis takes over and I have the sudden urge to jump your bones, and that's YOUR fault for being a human being with hair/hands/cleavage, so I'm gonna cover you up so my penis won't freak the fuck out!" (I told you I can curse... you've been warned).

Found this little gem over at Sociological Images-- Definitely check them out!

Whoa.  I got a little political there.  Let's rein it back into perspective, shall we?  What I'm trying to say is that head covering for my personal use is not for modesty's sake. And it's not a symbol of my submission to man or God. For me, head covering has really evolved out of prayer.  Early on in my exploration of Paganism, I took to covering my head during formal prayer, and I will continue to do so as I begin to cover outside the confines of my household.  But for me, I feel called to do more than covering during prayer-- I feel that the act of covering is a symbolic way of connecting to the Divine, and that should be embrace, not used sparingly. When I have practiced head covering outside of my house, I've definitely felt a shift in my awareness of the Divine, and also a shift in my approach to others.  I feel called to be more gracious, more honest, and more courageous when my head is covered because it is a constant reminder that I am connected to the Divine and to the Earth (and to the Earth's people).

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