On Covering: An Internal Debate

Not too long ago Kaleanani from Alpine Sanctum wrote a blog article on what a Pagan wears daily. The focus of her post was modesty and head-covering. I found the post both thought-provoking and rather like a call from home – It struck a chord in me that has kept it in my mind.

I’ve always been more comfortable with a covered head. My mother put hats on me basically from the moment I was born, so we’ve always chalked it up to that. I collected hats as a girl. In later years to the present, I’m regularly found wearing a bandana over my head.

At first it was just comfort. After I became more sensitive, it became a matter of necessity on some days. I’ve used it as a buffer between the world’s energy and my crown chakra.

For some reason it never struck me that other Pagans might be covering for various reasons. It never really struck me as something to do as a Pagan in general. But then along came Kaleanani with her blog, and it was like my life was completely revolutionized.

I thought more and more about covering on a more regular basis out in public as a devotional act. The more and more I thought about it, the more and more the world seemed to throw little nudges towards it.

At Pier1, I bought napkins, and the woman behind the counter told me about how she liked to use them as bandanas.

At work all the scarves went to 75% off. (Okay, okay, maybe that was just me justifying buying new scarves that I’d had my eye on all summer.)

But then I timidly mentioned it to a co-worker that I was excited about the scarves going on sale. I went on to tell her that I was hoping to start covering. Come to find out she used to cover, but no longer does – So she brought me a couple scarves that she thought I would like! They are so, so very pretty. I felt so honored that she gave them to me.

She asked me why I didn’t cover at work. I explained that I was just starting to, so it was a matter of getting used to it being part of my identity. She agreed and said that she thought it was easier to go into a situation covered instead of having to introduce it later on.

It did get me thinking about covering at work. I think I will. Especially with the holiday season coming up, since I work retail and will want to keep myself from getting overwhelmed with the general nastiness that can get thrown my way.

I feel the need to talk to my manager about it first. I don’t want to get any flak for it. I don’t want to be constantly defending myself. I’m having a real hard time getting up the gumption to talk to her, though she’s a very nice woman.

However, it also means coming out of the broom closet at work. I have one person at work that knows the basics behind my religious flavor. The experience of telling her was both liberating and positive.

I know, though, that not everyone will react as kindly. A lot of people see covering as anti-feminist or archaic. Some people don’t react kindly to “alternative” religions in Protestant-ruled Iowa. I feel like at work I’ve been given this job to teach people about differences – Bipolar disorder, chronic fatigue – Now a basic explanation behind Paganism?

I can’t go about explaining it as “I’m a psychic,” because unless they know my history (which they don’t) sometimes that statement comes off as a little loony. Or they want free readings.

The gossip at my store is just horrible. I think that’s what worries me the most. I prefer that people get their information about who I am from me and not someone that wants to say something bad about me – Which I thought for a while was just me being paranoid until someone confirmed that my coworkers were talking badly because of the days I’m too weak and tired to go into work. It hurts when I’m nothing but nice to people, I work my butt off, and I only call in maybe one day out of the month. I can’t control my body, and I feel badly enough for it. If they’re put off by my absences, they should try living with my condition for a couple days.

Okay, I went off there. Back to the subject at hand. I’m apparently happier in my broom closet than I thought. I’m not ashamed of my religion, but I do have social anxiety disorder and my biggest fear is being judged… Maybe this is an issue because I need to learn not to worry about what other people think. Maybe I just need to suck it up and be brave – That is part of the Witch’s way, isn’t it? To dare? Though there is that part about holding silence. Hm. Torn.

Opinions? Advice?


8 thoughts on “On Covering: An Internal Debate

  1. I also found Kaleanani's post very enlightening. I had only ever "known" one other pagan to cover and didn't realize how many actually do so. I hope that your manager is understanding. I'm glad that you found one understanding person at work, at least!


  2. Oseana from the podcast "Get Witchified" talked about covering (which was the first time I'd heard about it) and how she had done that for a year. I think that if you are moved to do it, you should. As for your employer – there is labour policy in place to protect employees who have certain religious practices or needs, so while you may get some looks – they can't refuse you or discriminate.Blessings!


  3. If you are comfortable, then it is the right thing to do. Yes, we should challenge our comfort zone, but we also have the power to pick and choose those challenges sometimes. Sometimes silence really is golden.There might be more comfortable places for you "to dare" for a start. What feels right for you?Blessed Be!


  4. I usually love my hair far too much to keep it covered. all the time… But I do cover on certain occasions, like when I know that I'm going to have a grueling day (I always cover when I know I have to readings for a group of people), when negativity abounds and sometimes for rituals, etc… Fingers crossed that your manager understand your choice…*hugs*Sarah over at Shimmeringways.wordpress.com, it wouldn't let me post with that…


  5. I think if you really want to try to do it, you should. If you have any fears of "coming out of the broom closet", do you really need to? Is there any sort of dress code at your work that prohibits hair coverings for reasons other than religious? If there's not, I don't see a reason that you'd have to explain at all.


  6. This is fascinating. I like my head covered as well, but haven't really thought about why I do, now you've got me thinking!Love your site.Lisa 🙂


  7. I just came upon this post belatedly, and wow, a whole shiny post my blog inspired? Totally awesome!! I'm glad you my post thought-provoking. Somewhere earlier in my blog I linked a looooong forum post that has a lot of pagans going "you cover? I thought I was the only one!!" – pages and pages of it. I'm going to include a section on covering on my soon to launch website. I'm gathering stories of pagans who choose to cover (and also pagans who would NEVER cover, for a different perspective). Maybe you'd like to contribute a statement as well? I'm trying to get as many people to do it as possible (contribute their stories, not cover! 😉 ). Let me know. 🙂


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