Red hair in the sunlight

When I was in my twenties, I had a dream that I was driving a big sedan in a deserted, urban street and parking lot, trying to elude pursuers. I reached a place where I couldn’t go any farther and looked in the rear view mirror at my reflection. I had red, curly hair, and knew the pursuers thought me a witch.
The hair in my dream was very little like the straight, dark-blond hair of my waking life. (The photo here was taken at sunset, and the reason for the photo was that my hair looked unusually red.)  I understood intuitively that the red hair and curls were symbols of a wilder nature than I usually let people see, of passion and creativity that I feared I’d be judged badly for expressing.
Hair shows up in a lot of different ways in dreams. I learned from Jeremy Taylor to see the association between hair and thoughts, since both spring from our heads unbidden. Robert Bly, in Iron John, mentions links between hair and sexuality, animal nature, and excess.
I see hair as part of identity, since people often settle on a single hairstyle and changing that style makes people see them differently. Also, shaving the head or tonsuring is associated around the world with rituals of joining religious or military orders, a symbol of giving up individual thoughts and identity and assuming the teachings and identity of the group.
When hair stands on end in waking life, it generally means that there’s a lot of electricity in the air and lightning is likely. As a symbol, this might mean the imminence of inspiration or spiritual awakening. (In waking life it means “Get off the mountain!” or “Get out of the water!”)
How has hair appeared in your dreams?

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1 thought on “Hair as a metaphor”

  1. Oddly, I don’t ever remember dreaming about my hair, except my facial hair, which in dreams is often so thick and wiry that it makes huge holes in my face.

    In waking life, hair has a huge emotional meaning to me, though I’m not sure where it comes from. Maybe old fairy tales. I know Mom would have preferred I have a cute bob, but I always wanted long hair. It meant being a princess, which in my personal symbol language means being loved, desired, taken care of, and yet powerful. As I age, my hair has gotten thinner and shorter, but I haven’t had the heart to cut it, though that would look better, I’m sure.

    I did dream about short hair last night, but not my own. There was a ghost named Anna who was haunting a hotel or nursing home. She was heavy-set and had close-cropped gray hair, about a quarter inch long. She wore bloomers and sometimes a petticoat. I thought she might be a lesbian, a stereotype about the short hair, I think. When she appeared, I told her she should put on more clothes. The next time she appeared, she had on an elaborate black and white dress in the style of Anne Boleyn. After I woke up, I thought she might have been a nun, which would also fit in with the short hair. No idea what it meant.

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