Posted by: Lisa | December 19, 2013

Hair and Consecration

“As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.”
(Judges 13:5a)

In this passage, the angel of the LORD is speaking of Samson who would be under the nazirite vow (consecrated) for life.  In the New Testament, John the Baptist was similarly declared by an angel to be a Nazirite for life.

The subject of hair and consecration to God fascinates me.  Many centuries ago, one of the outward signs of consecration to God was uncut hair (actually, this is still true in the Rastafarian movement).  Yet, among some Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian monastics, one of the outward signs of consecration is a shaved head (see Tonsure).  I really don’t understand why these differences exist, but I find the whole subject fascinating.

In my own spiritual journey, back in 1997-98 (before I knew anything about hair and consecration to God), I had a very strong sudden urge to have all my hair shaved off.  I went immediately to a barber shop and asked to have my head shaved.  The barber looked at me quizzically and said, “Are you sure?”  He asked more than once.  I insisted I was very sure – and so my head was shaved.

During 2000-2003, while I was studying and practicing Buddhism, I made the spiritual connection of the shaved head.  I understood that my head was “supposed” to be shaved for God.  This is a difficult concept to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand.

After my mother’s death in 2004, I felt a very strong urge to join a Catholic religious community.  Years of research and trials with communities led me to believe that I couldn’t fit in anywhere.  Yet the urge to consecration remains – even though I’m now married!

Every few years, I decide to start growing my hair again.  Inevitably, the tension becomes too great after a few months – and I end up getting it shaved again.  I’ve been through this process at least five times over the years.  I still don’t completely understand the whole situation.  But to me, if God is urging me to keep my head shaved as an outward sign of consecration, that’s a very small price to pay for love of Him.  May He be praised forever!

(And now you know why I just can’t seem to grow my hair!)

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