Headcovering

This is an entirely personal post that pretty much has nothing to do with the focus of this blog because it’s neither a religious act or a cultural one, the way I’m doing things. And by things I mean wrapping my head with a scarf.

Yours truly with a simple wrap on.

So as you can see I have basically joined the ranks as a “veiled pagan” though honestly I’m neither veiled or pagan in the subculture sense. I bring this up because when searching for headcovering styles and stories its predominantly women who either do it for their gods or do it for ritual/psychic purposes. I share none of that, and do not see another like myself who does this. So here’s my perspective:

I’m not a woman. I am female bodied, but as I’ve mentioned before in other posts I’m non-binary and my gender status is agender. Therefore the headscarf is not a symbol of being an adult woman for me (though I do recognize it as meaning such for most other headscarf wearers since that is a common attribute). The aesthetic appeal of a well done wrap or scarf is something I like on all genders, just like how I love long hair on all genders. But external stereotypes do influence me a bit and I find that I like the more decorative wraps on days I feel more womanly, whereas on more manly days I just want to keep things plain or not have a scarf on at all. The wrap you see in the picture above was one of those womanly days. The days where I’m neither are anything goes days pretty much. 

I do not wear the scarf for ritual or spiritual purposes. My current restrictive living situation and the fact that I’m just now getting started in exploring aspects of myself and who I want to be in the future means my wrap-wearing hours are limited and irregular. The wrap doesn’t go on or off for any particular holiday or moon phase or anything like that. It doesn’t have an association with rituals like divination or spirit work (mainly because I don’t do those things). I am not devoted to any gods who would want me to do this nor do I believe that such a direct, personal request would even happen in the first place.

As far as I currently know headwrapping is not a universal practice in pre-Christian Central Europe, though various things were worn on people’s heads in a variety of cultures (hats, jewelry, helmets) and neighboring empires like Rome did have women covering their heads. But comparing modern cultures to ancient ones we see more examples of headcovers in recent times than the bronze and iron ages, possibly the result of Christianity. Obviously I’m not wrapping for Christian reasons and there’s no solid historical precedent to make wrapping a recon move either. 

So why do I wrap? I wrap because of power. I can choose who can and can’t see a part of me that is normally taken for granted as being visible in my society. No matter how much I scream from the rooftops that I’m nonbinary people will still look at me and see “woman”, with all the entitlement to my body that goes with that assumption. So fine, here’s a “fuck you” by creating a barrier between my body and the eyes of others. I am not approachable, I approach people instead. I am not here for you to look at, I’ll decide when you can see me and how much you can see. My body is for me alone. It’s a political statement essentially (and I do also use the headwrap’s association of being an older woman or old fashioned/conservative woman for that distancing purpose as well). 

On the flip side, I also like how it makes me feel, both for the protective aspect and for the aesthetic appeal. Headscarves are beautiful and the methods of wrapping them even more so. I feel beautiful wearing one, which is a difficult feeling for me to obtain. It protects me on an emotional level, but also in a practical way because it covers my hearing aids/cochlear implant, which protects them from inclement weather like rain. Scarves aren’t itchy or uncomfortable like hats are and hats tend to be outdoors only while scarves are also appropriate indoors. Hats also tend to hurt due to the bulky nature of my implant around my ears, while scarves go around that and aren’t restricted to just one head size or shape. 

In essence, I wrap because of personal secular reasons. I don’t cover because I’m a pagan, I’m a pagan who happens to cover. Well, technically a heathen who happens to cover but Google search of “heathen headcovering” just brings up bible studies, so this is pretty much restricted to the pagan/neopagan community. There may come a time in the future, once I can more freely and regularly do this, that the wrapping takes on more religious meanings for me or develops into a meaningful system, but for now it’s pretty simple. 

NOTE: the style I use is not tichel or hijab or anything like that. Those are specific words for religious headcovering customs and I do not lay claim to any of them.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Headcovering

  1. This was an interesting read, thanks a lot 🙂 I have tried to wrap my head in a scarf a few times too, and I also share the ‘beautiful’ feeling…and also the feeling of being more ‘in control’. I am too shy to wear it regularly though, but I am working on it (like yesterday I could have, my hair was terrible and this would have helped haha).

    African women have in my opinion particularly mastered the art of gorgeous headcovering, and well, also the textiles they use for that are stunning… Inspirational stuff. 🙂

    • Oh yes I agree, especially the wraps like the Yoruba women wear that have the fabric spread out in a large halo around the head. They say they use starch to stiffen the fabric but I think magic is involved too. Looks absolutely gorgeous.

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