So, today is the 2nd annual Covered In Light Day, which was created last year in honor and in support of people who choose or are called to cover. Not to be confused with Word Hijab Day (which is similar but less inclusive), Covered In Light was created to be a way to express support for women (and men!) who, for whatever reason, for whatever religion, cover their heads for more than just fashion.
I cover. I’ve covered for a number of years now, and it’s exciting to see other polytheists and pagans covering for religious reasons. It’s exciting to hear them talking about it, and talking about their reasons for doing so. There were no such discussions happening when I began covering. I found three other pagans talking about head covering, and two of those folks had talked about it years prior and were not all that active online in any places I could find. So, I started talking about it here, off and on, and you know, it was surprising to me the number of people who reacted poorly to such an idea. I had hold-overs from Christianity (never mind that the Christians I interacted with had never been the head-covering sort); it really had no place in paganism; any number of comments about how there was no way the gods would ever ask something that reeked so much of monotheism (take your pick as to which one) of one of their own.
To which, of course, I have to cry, bullshit.
Pagans cover for a number of reasons: they use covering as a mindfulness aid; to honor traditions and ancestors; to control energy flow; because they’ve been asked to, and so forth. I know people who are involved with possessory work who use covering as a signal that the horse has been stabled for the night, so to speak. I know people who cover to honor Hestia. I know people who cover to help them remain grounded.
Why do I? At this point on my, I can point to all the benefits covering grants me, and many of them are psychological. It helps me take myself seriously. It helps me take myself seriously as a wife. It helps me feel less like a child playing grown up — and this may not be purely psychological; I’ve noticed differences in how I’m treated since I began covering. (Ageism sucks, in either direction.) It helps me maintain my sense of personal boundaries. On a more mystical level, covering helps me maintain a sense of my personal shielding. It helps me remain mindful of the spiritual around me, and the spiritual in all things. On a purely vain level, it makes me feel better about my thinner hair. It has helped me learn the conditions of the migraines that beset me, and has helped me to cut the number of them way, way down. It’s helped with my anxiety.
But that’s not why I cover.
I cover because, in 2007, Poseidon requested that I do so. I didn’t, right away, because it was a terrifying idea. I did, off and on, but I didn’t start covering every day, all the time, until we moved to Oregon — a new place where people wouldn’t have to deal with the change, or rather I wouldn’t have to deal with the questions about the change.
It is absurd the amount of crap some people have to deal with, regardless of their religion, when they choose to cover. You’d be surprised at how not supportive some people from within the same religion can be.
So, all this to say: I support Covered in Light Day, and while I’ll be covering today regardless, I’ll be doing so with my fellow headcover-ers on my mind, as it were.