thenestabove (thenestabove) wrote in get_up_dread_up,
thenestabove
thenestabove
get_up_dread_up

Maa Das

I've seen a lot of posts in this group about how to "make" or "give yourself" dreadlocks, and I just wanted to make something clear that I'm not sure a lot people understand... Dreadlocks have been around far longer than even written history (there are 30,000 year-old cave paintings that appear to show people w/ dreads), and up until the last 25 years or so of human history, people have grown dreads simply by not combing or cutting their hair. Dreads have also been part of cultures in virtually every part of the world and, with the possible exception of the Spartans, have nearly always been symbols of spiritual dedication. The process of going through months and even years of letting the hair matt has been one of sacred importance for ages, and it's really only been since Bob Marley got famous that dreads have become fashion statements. Does that mean it's wrong to manufacture your dreads instead of letting them naturally form? I'm not going to try to make that decision for anyone; just keep in mind while you're back-combing your hair or looking for knotty dread soap that you're abbreviating an ascetic practice that is one of the few universal elements of human culture and spirituality, and that this sacred practice has universally been associated w/ a level of spiritual power that is also often considered dangerous unless properly guided.
I can say this, though: Bob Marley never back-combed his hot-lines to God. - Maa Das


As for the spiritual aspects of locks, I wasn't just assuming that. I've done quite a bit of research both in academic and personal contexts, and I feel quite comfortable making the assertion that locks in the vast majority of cases have been a spiritually-related phenomenon. I don't doubt that throughout the course of all human history that there have been people whose hair matted simply in response to environmental stessors, but in general dreadlocks don't just appear. Even without the benefit of scissors or combs, full-fledged dreads are pretty easy to prevent with your hands. However, most of the "primitive" people throughout time (including the present) have been far more sophisiticated than modern Westerners give credit, and some form of scissors and combs have been around for a very long time. For instance, if you examine the story of Samson in the Hebrew testament, you'll find that Samson was under an oath called the Nazirite vow, which included not cutting his hair. Now, a description of the Nazirite vow occurs in Leviticus 6:1-21, which is at least 3000 years old, so we can safely assume that incidental dreads have been avoidable for at least that long. In the Rg Veda 10.136 (the oldest Hindu text), which is at least 3500 years old, we find the Hymn to the Keshin, or "Long-haired Ascetic;" if the members of the ancient society that produced the Rg Veda had no choice about cutting their hair, that "long-haired" bit would be completely redundant, so we can also assume that hair cutting is a still-older tradition. Granted, that leaves another 46, 500 to 96, 500 years to account for in the history of modern humans, but existing religious texts are not the only possible source of information here. We can look at those cave paintings I mentioned in my original post: it seems very suggestive that the figures who appear to have dreadlocks in these paintings are a) few and far between and b) in illustrations that appear to have some sort of magical import. Taking all of this into account, as well as archaeological evidence of combs and the ethnographic information collected throughout written history, but especially since the 19th century, from contemporary "primitive" societies, we can make a fairly strong assertion that matted locks have been an intentional, religion/spirituality-related phenomenon in all human societies up until the 1970's or 80's CE.

Now, as for preaching, I simply sought to bring the light of truth to the general discussion going on in this group. It seems to me something must be wrong if the truth offends. - maa das
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