‘I was wearing my shells on my locs when a gentleman from Liberia approached me and asked me why I wear shells in my locs when they represent Vodoo and the devil’
Well, this is just one of the many negative views that people will either say to your face or whisper behind your back. Still, others will choose to stay away in fear of the ‘evils’ associated with cowrie shells.
Photo was taken at our Hair & Fashion Show at the African Festival in 2018. Click to watch the video of our last show and make sure you stay tuned for the show this year!
But the main question is, ‘does hair jewelry represent Vodoo?
The truth is, different people wear cowrie shells for different reasons as we’ll see below. While others wear them for beauty, others believe that cowrie shells will bring them luck and prosperity.
For others, it could be a gift or a symbol that reminds them of a specific happening at some point in life.
Let’s check out what cowrie shells mean to different people:
Hair Accessory, Simple!
For most people, cowrie shells are simply accessories like any other hair jewelry. People wear them to feel and look good, accessorize an attire, or bring more attention to their locs.
While some people see cowrie shells as beautiful hair accessories, they are a symbol of ATR to some people. This would make people who want nothing to do with African Traditional religion stay away from them.
It is important to note that religion and perspectives differ from region to region. For instance, cowrie shells were a form of currency in Nigeria and were also used for divination.
So, if you are from a place where cowrie shells mean wealth, fertility, and prosperity, carry your jewelry like a crown! If you're not, feel free to adopt this meaning.
A Sign of Beauty, and a Stable, Flexible Spirit
Who doesn’t want to look beautiful? Well, when someone wears cowrie shells to look and feel beautiful, don’t attach other meanings!
You love how your hair looks with cowrie shells on, don’t let anyone’s opinion stop you. After all, you don’t owe anyone an explanation as long as you remain true to yourself.
A Proof of How Far You are in Your Hair Journey
I have a couple of friends who have cowrie shells that represent how old their locs are. With each year that passes, they add one more which is beautiful.
For others, they have cowrie shells that they were gifted at the start of their hair journey which they hold so dear. This makes wearing this jewelry so symbolic and one would do anything to keep them.
Love for Marine
I love spending my holidays at the beach. The beautiful feeling of walking barefoot as I collect cowrie shells is indescribable.
And when the holiday is over, having the cowrie shells on my locs is the best way to keep these memories. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I will relive the beautiful moments along the beach.
So, if like me you love marine life, let nothing stop you from showing off your cowrie shells. And if you want, don’t just stop at wearing them in your hair… let your home and office reflect this love!
Cowrie Shells Were Once Treasured Possessions
During the early civilization in Africa, the Europeans traded cowrie shells for gold, making them a precious possession. Some even used cowrie shells as a means of exchange which gave them the same value as money.
So, instead of stressing that your hair jewelry could be voodoo, carry your crown of beauty with pride!
Liberation, Freedom, and Heritage
Just like other human rights, you have the right to enjoy feeling liberated. The right to wear what works for you in confidence.
A lot of people are searching for excuses to bother others simply because their spirits are corrupted. Even worse, they will initiate a conversation when you least expect it.
Well, no matter what others think, go for what makes you happy and content.
Now, Does Hair Jewelry Represent Vodoo?
If like me you love accessories, do you…if you love wearing cowrie shells in your locks, go for it! Because in the end, what matters is how you think about it.
If cowrie shells hair jewelry means something else to another person, that’s their belief. One fact stands out; you are not practicing evil. To you, cowrie shells are all about fashion!
And if you practice Vodoo, making your cowrie shells a more religious adornment, hold your head high. My friend says cowrie shells represent fertility and has 7 kids to show for it!
Do you wear cowrie shells in your hair jewelry and does it have a special meaning for you? Please let us in the comments section.