Back in 2014, I gave Loki my hair. It was going to be covered and not cut, dyed or otherwise altered for a fixed period of six months–equinox to equinox.
And I…never really took it back. It was mine the following spring, and I threw some red hair dye on it, but there was a shift in my mentality. I hadn’t bothered to bleach it beforehand, because I didn’t want to damage it.
This was abnormal, for me.
For a long time, my hair was just this tedious, scratchy nonsense that needed constant trimming, bleaching, coloring, combing, and especially constant washing, because it’s stick-straight. I treated my hair like garbage. Up to and including buzzing it off, because I lost my patience while trimming my bangs.
Oh yeah, there were Sinead O’Connor jokes for a while.
But I like it, now. I like how an act of servitude granted me an outward symbol of liberty and good health. I like braiding it, or rolling it up and fastening it with handmade hair sticks that sit on the shrine.
Most of all, I like how I have a constant mark of devotion that goes everywhere with me.
External Holiness is not really A Thing™ in Heathenry. Especially recon Heathenry. The only historically or mythologically proven example we have is the wearing of Mjölnir pendants, which increased after Christian contact. More multireligious contact begat more signalling of faith. But I digress.
I digress a lot.
I don’t think a lack of historical basis should be a deal breaker when it comes to showing devotion through our bodies. If doing something harmless (or minimally harmful) to our bodies make our gods happy, and is acceptable to us…why not? These are things that take effort, and in the case of body mods, cause brief pain and long-term changes in appearance. (Tattoos and piercings are decorative, carefully inflicted wounds after all.) Growing out my hair, and now planning to grow it to its terminal length, is a long term and high maintenance show of devotion.
But if I’m lucky, it won’t be dragging on the floor. No amount of ecstasy and devotion is going to make me tolerate dirty leaves in my hair.