I’m with Meg Barclay, I think what your great-grandmother said resonates for some reason. It seems to make intuitive sense. After reading it, I thought “people cut their hair when mourning in the Hebrew Scriptures, don’t they?” and “penitents and monks shave their heads.” So then I went and googled “ritualized hair cutting” and found a lot about first haircuts, an interesting article about not asking women “WHY did you cut your hair” , and some hair folklore, but nothing about cutting your hair after trauma or to initiate a change.

There are a lot of people who don’t cut or wash their hair after someone dies, and then do shave, wash, cut after a prescribed period (10 days or something).

There are counter-examples, like Samson, where cutting hair leads to a loss of strength or fertility, but I can’t think of anything where cutting your hair “got rid” of things.

So, the best the Internet can give is what your great-grandmother told you. “We harbor our fears in our hair.”

I’ll probably be saying that until the end of my life.

Written by

Tribune of Medium. Mayor Emeritus of LiveJournal. Third Pharaoh of the Elusive Order of St. John the Dwarf. I am to Medium what bratwurst is to food.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store