Culture Uncategorized

A Journey Through The Spiritual and Cultural Origins of Dreadlocks

Sprouting from the roots and serving as a testament to the cultivation of one’s inner vibration, Dreadlocks are culturally and socially known as an alternative hairstyle and means of expression, yet carry far more potent meaning beyond the hair itself. The word itself connects the juxtaposition of two words, dread and lock, to bring to light the healing that comes through breaking free from societal chains that bind. Dating back to 3600 BC in Ancient Greece, mysticism and energetic themes laced within matted hair came alive before our time within some of the earliest documented depictions of dreadlocks worn by mummies in Peru and Aztec Priests dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Ancient remains recovered from archaeological artifacts have sparked both interest and curiosity that digs beneath the surface to uncover the origins of intent and purpose.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, external odes to a variety of practices have subconsciously spoken of spiritual devotion and resistance, yet the magnetic quality and energetic volumes that speak through hair have surfaced through higher levels of divine thought and being. One of the most cultural and social correlations when it comes to dreadlocks is the belief that an individual has chosen the rastafarian way of being and living. Taking a journey back to the 1930’s, the Rastafarian movement began as a small group of impassioned and energetically aligned individuals that believed that the emperor of Ethiopia at the time, Haile Selassie I, was the almighty Messiah and the emblazoned heart within the movement. Although the human deity never wore and sported dreadlocks himself, the belief system that matted hair created a pure and unadulterated state of being became indented into the tribe that universally broke free from the shackles of idealization and wiped the inclination toward succumbing to cultural ideals of beauty free in body, spirit and mind. In the midst of cultivating their movement, Rastafarians faced harsh penalties including imprisonment in Jamaica due to the lack of acceptance and adaptation to their intention. One of the most widely-known human models of peace and the free-spirited embodiment of love is activist and musician, Bob Marley, who largely influenced the movement and subconsciously created broader understanding and societal compliance to Rastafarians pure intention to rid of vanity and collectively step into their shared humanity.

Another one of the most ancient origins and topics of speculation stems from the knotted snake-like hair that was embodied and worn by the one and only Greek Mythology figure and myth: Medusa. Although the belief system that venomous snakes were worn as hair, a variety of musings and hypothesis’ state that Medusa indeed captured remains of life and primal energy within the hair to accompany the rebellious and anarchic theme behind the ancient figure.

Painting by Caravaggio

Global popularization of sporting matted hair and dreadlocks has significantly increased over time and continues to become widely accepted as a simple means of expression. There are a multitude of widespread theories that state that our human hair serves as an antenna to the divine and our manner of care and expression leads to the the ability to channel a sixth sense. There is indeed historical significance behind the choice to wear the hairstyle, yet it is important to recognize that each and every human beings who has chosen to lock their hair has their own personal and intimate reasons as to why they have chosen to wear their hair in this manner. What are your beliefs and if applicable, what has led you toward choosing to wear dreadlocks?

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