I don’t really wear my hair down.
Not outside, anyhow. I take it down when I’m home sometimes, if I can keep the unruly mass from getting in my way.
Usually it’s in a bun, speared through with a gnarled wooden hair fork or a bit of shed antler. Sometimes it’s in a braid, laying against my shoulder. Sometimes it has ribbons, or beads, or tassels, or feathers. Accessorizing it is often just a matter of fashion. Wearing it up is less so.
Some other witches and Pagan women come from traditions that practice veiling or securing their hair. Some veils are long and cover most or all of the hair. Some are as small as a square of lace. Some people just pin their hair up. Sometimes, a veil serves as a group identifier. Sometimes, it’s to show obeisance to a deity. Sometimes, it’s just to keep the miasma of the world from clinging to it.
In my case, I keep my hair secured because I shed like a golden retriever and sympathetic magick is a thing.
If you subscribe to the idea that a curse doesn’t necessarily need to have a ritual behind it — that any malevolent thought or sotto voce wish for harm directed at you can serve as one — then it makes sense to avoid picking up as much of that as possible. Naturally, a great deal of this can be achieved by not being a butthole. Witches are also taught to shield ourselves before we go out, to create a kind of magick bubble that will keep other people’s bull where it belongs. I try my best to never be a dingus to a stranger and to keep myself shielded, but I’d also like to avoid leaving bits of myself around to pick up whatever bad vibes some random might be throwing off.
Hair is often used as a way to tie magick to a person. If someone I know and like wants to do a spell for me, I can hand over whatever they’d need. If I’m passing through a crowd and someone I don’t know springs a dainty hateboner for me because they’re having a bad day, I don’t really need to help them direct their malevolence my way, you know?
There’s actually a lot of magick surrounding hair itself, too. Many of us unbind our hair and shake it out during spellwork. I’ve used locks of hair for knot magick. Tying a strand to a blossoming cherry tree is said to help attract your true love. Tying sprigs of herbs, flowers, crystals, or other curios into your hair allows you to carry them with you as you go about your day. Hair’s pretty important.
Do you practice veiling? What purpose does it serve for you?