Rhonda Tharp

Active Member
Besides Loki stealing Sif's hair, Theseus cutting his hair before his father quest, and Isis restoring vitality to Osiris with her hair, do you know of any other myths with hair references?

Found this in Walker's Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

"A comet was supposed to be a tendril of the Great Mother's hair appearing in the sky as the world was slowly overshadowed by her twilight shadow of doomsday. Most forms of the Death-goddess showed masses of hair standing out from her head, sometimes in the shape of serpents, as in the Gorgoneum of Medusa-Metis-Neith-Anath-Athene. On the magic principle of "as above, so below," women's hair partook of the same mystic powers as the Goddess' hair.

The same idea prevailed among prophetic priestesses or witches, who operated with unbound hair on the theory that their tresses could control the spirit world. Mother Goddesses like Isis, Cybele, and many emanations of Kali were said to command the weather by braiding or releasing their hair. Their corresponding mortal representatives could cause to be bound or loosed in heaven what they bound or loosed on earth - hence, the unflagging superstitious belief in Christian Europe that witches' hair controlled the weather. Churchmen said witches raised storms, summoned demons, and produced all sorts of destruction by unbinding their hair. As late as the 17th century the Compendium Maleficarum said witches could control rain, hail, wind, and lightning in such a way. Scottish girls were forbidden to comb their hair at night while their brothers were at sea, lest they raise a storm and sink the boats. A Syrian exorcism for werewolves invoked "that Angel who judged the woman that combed the hair of her head on the Eve of Holy Sunday," suggesting a connection between hair-combing women and the werewolves mythologized as dogs of doomsday."


Active Member
I don't know if you can count the Bible as myth, but Samson was told by God to never cut his hair or he would lose all of his strength. Unfortunately a woman tricked him into telling her his secret and he did. I htink he was asleep when she took his hair and he lost all of his power and was killed, but before he died, he brought down an entire building. I also know that in the Bible God says that a woman's hair is her glory.


Well-Known Member
In one version of the myth of Medusa, the gorgon used to be a young maiden who angered Athene and she punished the young maiden by turning her hair into a tangle of snakes, though did not take away her beauty. She was instead condemned to shadows as any man who looked upon her with love in eyes would turn to stone.

There is a term, "Medusa locks", used to describe wild hair, which I just find interesting.


Isis restoring vitality to Osiris with her hair
When did Isis use her hair to restore Osiris? She cut off some of her hair in mourning, but her hair was not used to restore the pieces of his body or his ka. There's no evidence of her "commanding the weather by braiding or releasing her hair," and no Egyptian mythological principles influence Christian accusations of witchcraft, over three thousand years removed from classical Egypt.

This is not a personal attack on you Rhonda. But judging from what the Woman's Encyclopedia has provided so far, I sincerely doubt that the majority of Walker's claims are grounded in evidence, and I believe that she self-interpreted. She does not appear to have extensively researched the mythological record, and inflated general superficialities to fit her feminist ideologies. I would not consider her a reliable source of factual accounts of myth details.

Her use of "As Above, So Below" to equate hair magic with Goddess power is a clear attempt to connect Neopagan elements to Egyptian mythos, when no such connection is tangible from the record left by the Egyptians themselves or their Greek commentators.


Active Member
Yeah, I'm familiar with Walker myself. She plays a little fast and loose with the facts.

Isis was considered somewhat proficient in magic however. Her wings also give her an association with wind and breath.
In one version of the story i read, after she reassembles the body of Osiris, she leans over him. With hair cascading down she breaths over the face of Osiris and restores him to life. It seems that it was really her breath and not her hair that did the trick. It was also with the help of Anubis and the process of mummification that gave Osiris new life as the powerful lord of the underworld.


Active Member
Theseus was apparently copying the custom of the Abantes of Euboia, who shaved the front part of their heads so that their enemies could not grasp their hair in close combat. Theseus, however, is also said, when he first arrived at Athens, to have had such neatly plaited hair (a Troizenian hairstyle for men at the time?) that some locals taunted him saying that he was a marriageable young maiden.

King Pterelaos of the Taphian Isles was the son of Taphios, son of the sea-god Poseidon (who is sometimes called the father of Theseus). When Pterelaos was born his grandfather Poseidon made one of the hairs on his head golden and declared that as long as that hair remained on its owner's head he would be unconquerable and his kingdom inviolable. After an altercation with his relatives from Argolis, Pterelaos' kingdom was attacked by an army led by his kinsman Amphitryon from Tiryns. The attackers besieged their enemy's strongholds for awhile without success until one night the king's own daughter Komaitho, who knew his secret and had meanwhile fallen in love with Amphitryon, plucked out Pterelaos one golden hair as he slept. The next day the kingdom fell to its invaders and Amphitryon slew the king. When Komaitho confessed her part in it, Amphitryon was horrified and executed her. (He then went back home to find his fiancée Alkmene pregnant with Zeus' son Herakles, but that's another story.) Komaitho's name, incidentally, means "Bright-Haired" or "Long-Haired."

Pretty much the same story is told of King Nisos of Megara, whose daughter Skylla fell in love with Minos of Crete when the latter attacked Megara. (Skylla's mother Habrote was the daughter of Onkhestos, yet another son of Poseidon.) Nisos had in the middle of his scalp a magical lock of purple hair which did the same for his kingdom as Pterelaos' one golden hair did for the Taphian Isles. Skylla chopped off her father's magic hair-lock, upon which Minos breached the city and slew its king, or Nisos killed himself, or he just perished as soon the hair had been cut off. In yet one other version he was transformed into an osprey. Skylla met a much crueller fate than Komaitho, for Minos tied her upside-down by her feet to the stern of one of his ships and put the ship out to sea so that the young princess drowned. Her body was transformed into a bird or a fish or it was washed ashore and eventually buried.

Antigone, a daughter of King Laomedon of Troy, and a sister of Priamos [Priam], who later succeeded Laomedon on the throne, boasted of having hair that was more beautiful than Hera's. Consequently the goddess turned her hair into snakes. The other gods pitied the princess and transformed her into a stork, which bird preys on snakes.

When Herakles was trying to convince King Kepheus of Arkadia to support him in his vengeance campaign against Hippokoön of Lakedaimon, he gave this king's daughter Sterope a lock of Medusa's hair inside a bronze hydria (water-container). Herakles had received the hair-lock, which was itself a bronze snake, as a gift from Athena, and it had the power to repel any enemy from the kingdom of its bearer if it was held aloft three times before the invading army.

When Thanatos, the god of death, came to claim Queen Alkestis of Pherai on the appointed day of death, he appeared as an austere priest of Haides [Hades] in a dark robe and with the sacrificial sword with which he cut a lock of the dying person's hair and devoted it to the Underworld.

The surname Akersekomes [Acersecomes] was given to the god Apollon [Apollo] in reference to his beautiful golden hair which was never cut or shorn. The laurel tree apparently never sheds its leaves because Apollon commanded it to be this way, in imitation of him never cutting his hair. This god was also designated by the names Khrysokhaites (Golden Hair), Eukhaites (Good Hair) and Komaios (Flowing Hair). In Thebes, Apollon was depicted with grey hair and called Poleiris, "Grey-Haired." Atē, the personification of ruin, delusion or blind folly, was also said to be golden-haired. The nymph Krokale was the hairstylist of the goddess Artemis. Kalais and Zetes, the twin sons of the North Wind Boreias, had cerulean-blue-coloured hair. The Pleiades had violet-coloured hair. One of the Centaurs whom Herakles killed in Arkadia was called Melankhaites [Melanchaetes], "Black Hair." Presumably he had black hair ;)

Padraic Colum says that Polynesian hero Maui, after whom the Hawaiian island Maui is named, was descended from a "goblin goddess" of death named Hina-nui-te-po, "Great Hina of the Night." This description of the goddess is from his Orpheus, Myths of the World:
They went in the evening, and as they went they saw the flashing of the teeth of the Goblin Goddess. Her teeth were of volcanic glass. Her mouth was wide-shaped, like the mouth of a fish. Her hair floated all around her as sea-weed floats in the sea. Her eyes shone through the distances.

In European werewolf lore a werewolf can be exposed by cutting the individual in his/her animal guise. When s\he reverts to human form a wolf-hair will be found in the wound.