Of all the reasons people use to shave their heads such as low- maintenance, being proactive and beating male pattern baldness to the punch, to look tougher, etc. There are other reasons to shave your head. To some, shaving your head becomes a spiritual a more profound spiritual symbol. This blog post will address the symbolism of shaving your head. Personally, I think if you totally embrace your baldness, face it head on and shave it, you will come to know a deeper more significant meaning to shaving your head. Shaving style boys.
You see, shaving your head can have a much deeper significance than just your appearance or the superficial and stylistic effects it can have on you and your outlook. It can also give you a sense of freedom, a sense of calmness that comes from confidence. The confidence of taking on one of your greatest fears, losing your hair.
Some say that when a man begins to lose his hair, it is the first sign of old age and our own mortality. If you think about it, there is good reason for that opinion. Especially, when a person begins losing their hair at a very young age. Most young men have problems with confidence to begin with, especially coming out of puberty, entering college or the workforce.
You start going out to bars and clubs, you start learning about fashion and just when you start feeling confident in yourself, that you’re finally starting to get it, nature plays it’s cruel joke and shows you that you don’t. It shows you that life is fleeting, like the trendy clothes, current hairstyles and the music you listen to.
However, by nature showing you that you’re losing your hair, it is also showing you that you too, will one day die. That’s pretty morbid for a blog post, but it’s usually the first symbol, the first meaning and it’s probably the hardest one to accept. That’s probably, deep down the most significant.
Rest assure because the symbolism of shaving your head can have a much deeper and more profound meaning than just looking like a tough guy. Let’s explore of them.
A Shaved Head, The Spiritual Benefits
The main spiritual benefit of a shaved head seems to stem from the spiritual belief of rejecting all things of the exterior. It represents a sacrifice of the superficial.
Some say that a shaved head represents is symbol of spiritual rebirth. Others say that shaving your head is a way of deflecting negative energy. Shaving your head is a part or is it least mentioned in many spiritual traditions. Some religions like Hinduism, men shave their heads when their father passes away and it is considered a sign of mourning.
Biblical Meaning Of Shaving Your Head
In the Bible shaving your head is mentioned in several places and for different reasons, they include:
Personal Hygiene as in Genesis 41:14
“So Pharoah sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.”
In Samuel 14:26, “Whenever he cut the hair off his head, he used to cut his hair once a year because it became too heavy for him. He would wear it, it’s weight was 200 shekels by the royal standard.”
As in the Hindu religion, the symbol of shaving your head in the Bible can also symbolize grief and mourning.
Latest hair and beard style
Job 1:20, “Job got up and tore his robe and his and shaved his head. He fell to the ground in worship.”
Ezekiel 27:31 “They will shave their heads because of you and we’ll put on a sack cloth. They will be over you with anguish of soul and with bitter mourning.”
Another biblical meaning of shaving your head is a Sign of Shame.
Isaiah 7:20, “In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River. The King of Assyria, to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also.”
Any more positive notes on shaving your head in the biblical meaning could also symbolize dedication as in Numbers 6:18, “Then at the entrance of the tent of meeting, the Nazarenes must shave off the hair that symbolizes their dedication. They are to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.”
There are many other situations in the Bible of people shaving their heads for various reasons.
The Spiritual Meaning Of Hair In Dreams
There several spiritual meanings in dreams, but for the purposes of this article in keeping with the theme of the website, I would just go over the spiritual meaning in regards to dreaming of losing your hair. If you find yourself dreaming of losing your hair it means that you’re worried about getting old. You could also fear losing your sexual power and attractiveness. Additionally, you could be worried about your looks and physical appearance. Dream in which you find yourself losing your hair could mean that you are perhaps feeling weak or lacking strength as well.
Dreaming of losing your hair could mean that you may be in a situation that is not within your control. Your dreams of losing your hair can be associated with issues of self-esteem and anxiety or you feeling a sense of limitations. However, I find these negative meanings to be ironic since shaving your head is the ultimate expression a freedom and a rejection of societal beliefs about hair, period.
The Meaning Of Shaving Your Head In Warrior Cultures
We are all familiar with the age of Aquarius. The hippie generation of the late 60s and early 70s. Even John Lennon had a protest in a bed in Amsterdam “Hair Peace” with Yoko Ono. We all know how that turned out. We all also know what happened after the age of Aquarius of the 60’s and 70’s. Inflation, Vietnam and the Energy Crisis. You get the picture. I know this is a bit of a stretch as an intro to this section and I’m not saying that if our culture had men of shaved heads running things, those historical situations would have turned out better, but I’m just saying sometimes having a lot of hair is not the answer.
Shaved Heads in Warrior Cultures.
There’s a reason why the US military shaves all new recruits’ hair completely off. Pictures of Elvis Presley come to mind when he was drafted. For new recruits in the military, it’s shedding of your old civilian skin, it’s also your first right of passage in being warrior.
The US military isn’t the only military that believes in shaving a man’s head as part of their warrior tradition. The Maasai warriors of Africa also believe in this tradition and have been using it for hundreds if not thousands of years. As part of their rituals, when a boy enters manhood, Maasai boys must first undergo circumcision when they are teenagers. Then they enter a special camp called an Emanyatta. This is where the boys become men and there as men, become Maasai warriors. Unlike the US military, it isn’t until these warriors graduate from the camp that they get their heads shaved for the very first time. In fact, their heads are shaved by their own mothers once they graduate from the camp. It symbolizes their change of life into manhood.
The Shaved Heads of the Cossacks
The Cossack peoples were Slavs who lived in the areas that are now part of Russia Ukraine, Poland etc. Their heads were completely shaved. However, the Cossacks were only shaved all the way around except for a small area at the crown which was grown out and worn as a ponytail.
The Aztec Tradition of Head Shaving
The Aztec word for “Warrior” directly translates into the “Shaven One”. However, the Aztecs didn’t completely shave their heads they shave their heads around the sides and left a very narrow strip of soft tousled hair down the middle. The reason the Aztecs did this was simple. It was because they usually fought other warriors at this time in close combat and part of their fighting techniques involved grabbing the enemy’s hair in order to help subdue them. Now the strip down the middle of an Aztecs warriors head is similar to the Mohawk, however it’s a little different. As we will see below.
The Samurai Warriors of Japan
The Samurai shaved their heads a little differently than other traditional warrior cultures who practiced shaving their heads. The Samurai would grow their hair longer on the sides and back, then pull it into a ponytail, only shaving the tops of their heads. The Samurai actually made the horseshoe that we all look down upon in hair styles today fashionable. It was quite a status symbol to have a long grown out horseshoe pulled back into a ponytail.
The reason Samurai shaved their heads in this way was because they had very sophisticated, high quality armor for their time. Especially their helmets, however these helmets became very hot when they were worn since the Japanese were one of the first cultures to incorporate steel in their armor. But this steel could get very hot underneath causing their heads to sweat. So in order to keep the steel helmet on more securely the Japanese would just shave the tops of their heads.
Mongol warriors incorporated different shaved head styles into their culture. Most of which were derived from practicality and how their helmets were designed, similar to the Japanese Samurai. Others would leave the sides longer and put them in a ponytail but shaving the receding parts of their hairlines all the way back as well as shaving the backs of their heads. Some Mongol warriors would have hairstyles similar to that of Cossacks, leaving a long strip usually towards the back of their head around the crown extra long hand tied in either a ponytail, braided or left just long and flowing.
We all know, or most of us know at least, what a Mohawk haircut is. It’s when your head is completely shaved around the sides and the back leaving a narrow strip of hair on top which is then styled in a spiky way so it stands on its ends. The reason why we called the Mohawk is because it was most popularly associated with the warriors of the Mohawk tribe. However, there were other tribes in American Indian culture who also used a similar haircut like the Mohicans.
Head Shaving in Human Culture
The practice of head shaving can be traced back from the earliest recorded ancient societies to the modern day. Humans have practiced head shaving throughout history for various reasons. These reasons include that of convenience, low maintenance, practicality, style, fashion, religion and cultural aesthetics.
We have already talked about the spiritual as well as the military reasons for head shaving but let’s go go deeper. In fact, we could start with the modern day.
Although prison is a place most of us want to avoid, head shaving is a common practice in prison environments. This stems from the original purpose for head shaving prisoners. Since prisoners were kept in close environments and many of these environments lacked adequate hygiene, prisoners had to have their heads shaved originally to prevent the spread of lice.
Head Shaving as a Form of Punishment
Dadhi style for man
Many cultures would shave people’s heads as a form of punishment for example, the Nazis would punish those who mingled with Untermenschen or those they defined as a lower race by shaving their heads and placing signs around their necks which detailed their crimes.
During this time the Nazis were not alone. Right after the end of World War II, thousands of women who fraternized and mingled with the enemy in occupied countries, including France as well as Italy, were rounded up in town squares. The punishment for fraternizing and mingling with the enemy, in this case the Germans, the partisans would shave their heads and parade them through the town. These women were often beaten, spit upon and had rubbish thrown at them along their parade route of shame.
We had already talked about religious reasons for shaving your head. Some main religions including Buddhism and Islam as well as Hinduism practice a form of head shaving, especially among their monks. Also, the Hasidic sect of Judaism requires women to shave their heads after marriage. However, this practice faded away after World War II in the Holocaust.
Throughout the 20th century in many Western societies head shaving was often associated with seaman and soldiers as well as dock workers and hospital patients. Head shaving was also often associated with the lower classes and manual labour.
Athletes often shave their heads especially competitive swimmers. In fact, competitive swimmers not only shave their heads, but they shave all their body hair too in order to reduce drag during swimming competitions. Often sprinters, joggers as well as competitive runners shave their heads and body hair for the same reason.
So as you can see shaving heads for spiritual reasons, as we began this article with, are not the only reasons that people shave their heads or have shaved their heads throughout history. Shaved heads have been a part of human history for as long as history has been recorded. Baldness and shaved heads are part of our culture and have become fashionable once again from the late 90s through the new Millennium.
In fact, not only men shave their heads nowadays, but women shave their heads too. So you’re not alone. If you shave your head, you too will become just another part of human history. Maybe you’re doing it because you’re suffering from baldness and you just want to get it over with, which is a reason why most modern men shave their heads today.
However, not all modern men shave their heads for this reason. But you, my shaved head friend, are in good company.
If you’re shaving your head for fashion reasons you’ll join a long tradition of men from Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas, Vin Diesel, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Statham and The Rock as well as Bruce Willis. These men are great examples to follow and look awesome with their shaven heads and so will you.