What is the spiritual meaning of dreadlocks? Style enthusiasts and people who want to try dreadlocks often stumble upon this question.
Let us explore this unique hairstyle and what it resembles in different cultures across the globe.
The topic of hair has always had cultural and religious importance around the world.
Geographically and religiously, showing off and hiding one’s hair has different meanings and implications.
Hence, different hairstyles always have more to do with beliefs, showing respect, religious interest, obedience, anarchy, and more than just being a style statement.
Dreadlocks are popular among hair stylists and people across the globe because of the peculiar style statement they make.
In this article, we will explore the spiritual meaning of dreadlocks and their cultural importance around the globe.
Dreadlocks are also known as ‘dreads,’ ‘locs, or ‘locks.’ It is common for people to get confused between braided hairstyles and dreadlocks. Braided hair is treated as a short-term style statement by stylists. You can always go back to your normal hairstyle by easily unbraiding the strands.
The confusion between dreadlocks and braided hair happens because they are visually similar. A person can get dreadlocks in a natural way. If you let your hairs go uncombed and uncared for, they will get messed up and stick to each other, forming thread-like structures.
But such a natural formation of dreadlocks is considered unhygienic. Hence, to get dreadlocks, it is often recommended to approach professional hair stylists.
The existence of dreadlocks can be dated back to the Minoan civilization in Crete, Greece, 3600 years ago. According to historians and researchers, the presence of dreadlocks has been noticed in Indian and Egyptian civilizations, too. Shreds of evidence of braided and knotted hair were clearly recorded while analyzing some Egyptian mummies.
Certain chapters in the Bible also depict the mystic importance of dreadlocks. It is believed that the name ‘dreadlocks’ came from a Jamaican tribe that was part of a movement that followed the teachings of the Bible, Hinduism, and the Jamaican African tribe.
The word ‘dread’ is believed to indicate the tribe’s fear of gods, and the word ‘locks’ indicates their matted, threaded hairs.
Spiritual Meaning of Dreadlocks
Almost everyone who follows the style of having dreadlocks across the globe considers the hairstyle to be a depiction of their spiritual journey and faith. Dreadlocks are often treated as a spiritual style statement to indicate that the one wearing them has reached a higher level of faith and consciousness.
A lot of younger people can be seen wearing dreadlocks as a mere fashion statement and turning heads as the center of attraction in a group. But if one tries to dig deep into the origin of dreadlocks, despite the culture, a deep spiritual connection can be found.
It is literally impossible to specify which culture actually ‘found’ dreadlocks, as they are naturally formed due to messy, untreated hair. If we have to see through this logic, then we will probably find all pre-historic and early modern humans roaming around with dreadlocks.
This same point of view depicts the connection of dreadlocks to the earliest forms of homo sapiens and their cultural importance among human beings.
Let us explore the importance of dreadlocks in different cultures across the globe and what they depict.
One of the supreme gods of Hindu culture is called Shiva, known as the god of destruction. Shiva has been worshipped by people since 1700 BC, according to historians.
Lord Shiva is always depicted as a god who wears dreadlocks. Shiva has another name called ‘Jata Dhaari, which means the one with dreadlocks. Ardent followers and devotees of Shiva can be seen wearing dreadlocks to depict their devotion. In India, people wearing dreadlocks are often treated as holy men and as those who have attained a higher spiritual level with their devotion to Shiva.
If you go through the chapters of beliefs followed in the early Ethiopian culture to date, you can see the presence of dreadlocks throughout. Dreadlocks have a deep connection with African and African-American cultures. As per Ethiopian culture, the dreadlocks are treated as a depiction of purity and commitment to spiritual forces. People from the Ethiopian culture believe that, as deadlocks are directly connected to the head and face, they boost the connections with spiritual forces around them.
Dating back to 2500 years ago, Buddhism is considered one of the world’s oldest religions. The presence of dreadlocks can be seen throughout Buddhist culture. As per historians, dreadlocks are an inevitable part of Buddhism. One of the sole teachings followed by Buddhists is to get rid of all earthly things and their connections to them. Wearing dreadlocks is considered their way of showing freedom from all earthly commitments.
Dreadlocks have iconic importance in Egyptian culture. As indicated earlier, the presence of dreadlocks was found in the mummified remains of early Egyptians, according to them. Dreadlocks are considered a symbol of power and strength. As per historians who have researched Egyptian culture, it was believed that only pharaohs or powerful men could afford the dreadlocks. Hence, it remained a symbol of greatness and power among the Egyptians.
Even though the Rastafarian culture originated in the early 20th century in Jamaica, it quickly gained popularity across the globe. It is the Rastafarian culture that made dreadlocks so popular among youngsters through the depiction of dreadlocks in their stereotypical entertainment videos.
Hence, even people who wear dreadlocks inspired by the Rastafarian culture may not be aware of the spiritual importance they hold. As per the Rastafarian culture, the dreadlocks are connected to the tale of the Lion of Judah and the vow of the Nazarite. According to this belief, it is prohibited to shave the four corners of one’s head.
By wearing dreadlocks, the people of Rastafarian culture show off their ardent belief in their culture and deep respect for their religion.
Different Styles of Dreadlocks
There are different ways of styling one’s hair strands to form dreadlocks across the world. Let us explore some of the popular styles and spiritual meanings of dreadlocks in this section.
- Interlock Dreads: This kind of dreadlock styling is considered to be practical. Offering an aesthetic look to the wearer, the interlocking dreads are treated as a form of style that shows an intense spiritual connection to the divine powers.
- Sisterlocks: The sister lock hairstyle is followed by people to indicate independence, strength, and determination. It is considered one of the protective hairstyles followed by people. The sister locks also represent strong spiritual and symbolic protection.
- Microlocks: Microlocks are one form of dreadlocks followed by people to not only indicate a strong spiritual connection but also to show off a creative physical self. People who opt for microlocks believe that such a form of hairstyle protects them from negative energies and also attracts the positive cosmic energies around them.
- Freeform Locks: Freeform locks are considered to be a depiction of the inner spirit and soul. People who wear freeform locks use them to show off independence, creativity, and self-expression.
Many always stumble across the doubt of how to style dreadlocks after making up their mind to have them. Let us explore a few distinct ways to style dreadlocks in an effective manner.
- Interlocking: Interlocking is one of the most commonly adapted and simple ways to create dreadlock styles. As the name implies, it is done by interlocking two pieces of hair strands together to a point using interlocks or something similarly effective.
- Palm Rolling: The palm rolling method works best with wet hair. It is done by first wrapping the hair strands around your fingers and rolling them using your palms till they form tight, string-like shapes. Attaining palm rolling in wet hair will deliver the best results, as the moisture will keep the hair in shape easily.
- Backcombing: As the name implies, this style of dreadlock requires combing using a fine-toothed comb. The comb is used to loop the hair and lock it in one place. Here, too, the styling will be easier on damp hair, as it will be easier to handle and lock the hair strands as needed.
- Crochet Hooking: Dreadlocks formed through crochet hooking look perfect, but this way of styling demands more patience. Crochet hooking is done using a hook tool to pick up and intertwine hair strands tightly to lock them.
Spiritual Meanings of Removing Dreadlocks
We have seen the importance and spiritual meaning of dreadlocks in different cultures across the world. Now, let us go through some general spiritual meanings people take away from removing this hairstyle.
- Purification: For a good number of people who opt for removing dreadlocks across the world, it is a way of purifying their mind, soul, and body. By switching to normal hair from dreadlocks, they believe they have gotten rid of all negative energies and spiritual impurities. It is like upgrading one’s spiritual sense to a higher level and thereby welcoming positive energies from the surroundings.
- Protection: There are people who believe the removal of dreadlocks brings protection! According to some people, cutting dreadlocks means leaving all the impurities behind and welcoming a new, purified life. Some people consider the removal of dreadlocks the activation of a symbolic shield that ensures protection.
- Prosperity: Certain cultures believe that the removal of dreadlocks brings not only blessings and prosperity to the individual but also to the entire society. Sacred rituals are conducted while cutting off one’s dreadlocks to invite positive energies into his life that will reflect on the lives of others associated with that person as well.
- Transition: Getting rid of dreadlocks indicates a transition in certain cultures. When a person gets rid of dreadlocks, it is believed that he or she is entering a new phase of life. This can be taken in a spiritual manner, too, such as by shifting the person’s life to a greater spiritual level by cutting off the dreadlocks.
- Ancestral Beliefs: According to the people of Dieng, cutting dreadlocks is an ancestral belief. By getting rid of dreadlocks, they believe the heritage of their culture is preserved. Their strong adherence to this custom shows their respect and commitment to their culture.
Dreadlocks are a hairstyle that holds multiple meanings across different cultures. While some consider dreadlocks impurity, a mess, and an uncultured way of living, in a spiritual sense, they are often considered to bring positive changes.
The spiritual meanings of dreadlocks are diverse, and it is this diversity that makes dreadlocks even more popular and a tad bit notorious among hairstylists. In this article, we have explored the spiritual meaning of dreadlocks across various parts of the globe.
The bottom line of this analysis is that the diversity in the way dreadlocks are treated by various people shows freedom of choice, style, spiritual take, and much more.
The beauty of independence held up by the human race across the globe is depicted clearly by such indifferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should the Hair Be to Create Dreadlocks?
It is suggested by hairstylists that to create a perfect dreadlock, and the hair strands must be at least 20 cm long from root to tip. For ease of measurement, the hairs should be long enough to reach one’s chin.
Is It Okay to Oil My Dreads?
It is strictly not recommended to oil or condition your dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are formed due to messy, matted hair. Oiling the hair will make the hair smooth, but it will end up delivering the opposite results of what you desire from the dreads.