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Chudakarana – A Child’s First Haircut Ceremony

Austin backyard with Gabriel Lindsay, on the Wild Family TV show

A few weeks ago, our 2-year-old son’s hair was shaggy to the point of falling in his eyes and ​tangling in dreadlocks​​ in the back. ​We had been discussing a ceremonial haircut for some time, thinking it might help him to release some of his emotional baggage. So, on the last full moon, we hosted a special haircutting ceremony ​for Gabriel.

By Kat Lindsay and Cabe Lindsay

Backstory: Life With A “Fussy” Child

​Gabriel was the most peaceful baby, with a pleasant voice, ever-so-soft. He smiled a lot. He relaxed. He slept well. Then, when he was six months old, our family moved to a new house. Beginning that night, he began to cry a lot. At first, we thought it was just a matter of changing homes and he would get used to our new space, but his crying kind of became his identity. “Oh, he’s just a fussy baby,” people would say. Over time, his crying transitioned into screaming.

But we knew that he had been different in the beginning, and we wondered what had happened to change his behavior. Looking back, we see a lot of stress factors in our family’s life that likely contributed toward his inability to be calm. We met some struggles financially, as we worked to finish our first feature film. We recognize Gabriel was mirroring our own distress, to some degree.

Our son’s fussiness became a point of concern for all of us. It was like a house fire, creating a state of emergency at times, often exhausting our mental, emotional, and physical energies. Some of the times, our efforts to ease Gabriel only fanned the fire. Other times, we were able to help. One of our best successes was a song designed to soothe him and shower him with love.

Family Wild Mama Katherine Lindsay with Baby Gabriel Ohana Lindsay

Intention: Releasing What Does Not Serve

In India, the child’s first haircutting ceremony is called “Chudakarana​.​” ​According to tradition, the hair from birth is associated with undesirable traits from past lives. A fresh shave signifies freedom from the past and moving into the future.​ Similarly, our intention with Gabriel’s haircutting ceremony ​was to release ​the heaviness of whatever weight he was carrying.

Our aim was to symbolically un-cord him from his mama, in order to empower himself. ​This “un-cording” refers to discarding old psychic and energetic cords so he can find new ways of navigating life. As a baby, Gabriel relied on his mama and dadda for comfort, nourishment, and security. As a two-year-old, Gabriel was over-reliant on his mama’s embrace; he frequently cried and screamed when his mom couldn’t hold him, even though he was well-equipped to stand on his own two feet.

​In addition to releasing what doesn’t serve, ​this ritual ​was ​also ​a reclamation of energy​. ​Rather than an act of humility, or surrender, or grounding, it was ​an act of empowerment, aligning with the full force of the moon​ to support him in this process​. It was a call for us all ​to connect on a deeper and more personal level with our ​​Mother, and with the embrace of Motherly love that is all around us when we ask for it.

Ritual: Designing A Sacred Ceremony

In alignment with our intention for release, we created an outdoor altar and lit a fire. Many of Gabriel’s greatest supporters joined us​ to help ground and hold the space and energy​. And of course the moon was with us. Not only was this the full moon (in Leo) ​​but also a ​lunar ​eclipse.​ Traditionally, the eclipse allows us to see ​the shadow parts of ourselves more clearly​ and ​feel compassion for those shadow parts so we can ​show ​up fully ​in the world. Eclipses are ​also ​times of beginnings and endings, ​gateways that represent ​opening​​ and closing​​. ​

Just before the ceremony began, ​we asked everyone to draw a card from a ​tarot ​deck of divine feminine figures. Cabe started crying when he drew “Mary.” The card’s illustration is a woman with feathers in her hair, holding a bearded man who is lying in her arms. It brought him to tears​, because it reminded him that–no matter our age–we are all​ ​being ​loved and ​held by our Mother.​

The card’s message was divine, and perfectly timed: “Mary is most closely allied to the Middle Eastern moon goddesses; like them, she is a creator goddess. Associated with both the heavens and the sea or other waters, she is worshiped by Catholics as the Moon of the Church and as “Stella Maris,” the Star of the Sea. The moment of the annunciation is when she confronts the truth of her own great creativity, symbolized by Gabriel, the angel of truth, made from fire. This is the moment at which she accepts the imperative to create, the need to bring forth life from the very center of her being. Mary is the goddess as womb, as source of all life and of regeneration. She is the mother of mercy and infinite compassion, the one we turn to in times of need. She is a reminder that compassion toward oneself fosters creativity; she reminds us to be gentle with ourselves.”

​During the ceremony, Cabe offered a prayer, carrying Mary’s blessing: “Oh my Lord, Jesus Cristo, thank you for your blessings. Thank you Creator, for this young man, Gabriel. Thank you for the angel who inspired his name. Thank you for the love that created him. Thank you for your Love that created us all. Thank you for the love that created the holy family: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Thank you for the divine presence of that mother figure with us: Mary, with that full moon with us. Thank you for Mary. Thank you for Her grace. Her love, and her watchfulness for us. For Her mercy. For Her tears. For Her care. For the way that She loves us so much. And I pray for a new energy to come into this boy’s life and give him a new sense of calm and courage, as he makes his way in the world, and marks his territory, and finds his Path, finds his Light, finds his way of shining, becomes his own rainbow. Thank You for all the ways he’s already blessed my life and our lives. And thank You for the continual flourishing, and unfolding, and blossoming of this boy, this beautiful boy. Amen.”

As we buzzed his hair, Gabriel maintained that calm courage we prayed for. ​We all shed tears of joy and release. ​​Our dear sister/friend Kahtia led some incredible prayer songs including: “On Bhu Bhuvasvahar,” which we recited three times. ​Her husband Raju’s Vedic mother recommended this mantra​ for our ceremony​. The words mean, “Supreme one, who is the physical, astral and causal worlds himself. You are the source of all, deserving all worship. Radiant, divine one, we meditate upon you. Propel our Intellect towards liberation or freedom.” ​Another sister/friend, Ileana, led ​a precious song about Mary​.​ Then we had a countdown to 20, to help Gabriel persevere through the fears and discomfort. We sang the songs: Message of the Moon, Viva Mother Mary, and Lua Branca​ (White Moon). Afterward, we buried ​Gabriel’s hair​ and ​planted ​a baby bay ​leaf tree over it. Bay leaf is said to be a plant of Angel Michael​, the archangel who helps us to cut cords and attachments to any energy that is not Love.

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Takeaways: Choosing A Positive Change

On the same morning of Gabriel’s haircutting ceremony, one of our son’s aunties told us about a vision she had, regarding Gabriel’s life. She discovered an inner stabbing pain in his left side–a psychic attack from someone he wronged in a previous life. According to her, Gabriel was a warrior, and he ousted the leader of his war party, who tracked Gabriel into another life to cause suffering. Gabriel’s aunt was able to create some resolution, in order to free Gabriel from the fear.​

Following the ceremony, Gabriel has been different. He has a certain glow about him. Even a few of the other kids commented that Gabriel looks and feels different. He is more confident, more embodied. This is the power of intention and ritual…and community. We are so blessed to be surrounded by support to honor our children’s transitions, to shine the light of our awareness and love upon them and help them to shine more brightly.

We hope that this story will inspire you to create a ritual of your own. If you don’t know where to start, please leave a reply in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you and we all have so much to learn from one another.​

  Top Three Posts Related to Toddlers

Check out some of our other videos and articles with a focus on toddler stories.

Birthday Boy Gabriel Ohana Lindsay“Gabriel’s Birth Story” – Birth video featuring the arrival of our third child, Gabriel, who is now 2 years old. This micro-documentary film is narrated by his mama, Kat Lindsay.
Rosalie Lindsay swings - scene from the Wild Family TV Show“Rosalie’s Ride To Outer Space” – Birth story of our daughter, Rosalie, who is now 4 years old. This story is told by her dad, Cabe Lindsay, in the form of a launch sequence.
Wild Family Studio is the family-focused film company of Austin, Texas“40 Families Share Parenting Perspectives In Wild Family Film” – Presenting Wild Family on the big screen at the historic Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas.

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