The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages.

8 Hestia/Jan. 2



Sorella Shoshana, representative of the Iremian Order of the JOP, is an expert on historical fashion. Here, she shares with us the spiritual significance of historical head-wear. Thank you, Shoshana for this insightful article.


From Sorella Shoshana:

I enjoy researching and recreating period costume to wear. I either wear these for specific events or just wear them out for fun. I live in Las Vegas. So, its not so weird to go out to a touristy part of town in an unusual outfit. I am currently researching medieval and renaissance era fashions for upcoming garment construction. I wanted to share here some interesting things I’ve noticed about head wear.
Lets begin with the earliest, medieval.

There are many interesting head wear styles in medieval fashion that I’ve noticed. I will be discussing three of them, starting with the cone shaped one seen below. Its the single style we tend to think of when we think of head wear for this period and it is most often associated with princesses (the Daughter side of Dea?).


These were called hennin and some sources say they were inspired by church steeples. Imagine having a steeple coming from your head! There is a lot of imagery in this symbolic shape.

First, is the more obvious, the church steeple. The church steeple is represented as a cone shape that comes to a point at the top. This can have similar symbolism as the better known symbolism of the pyramid where Dea is the center top and most people are at the bottom. It represents a hierarchy of importance. Upon one’s head, it can be a reminder of where one’s thoughts should be…..above.

The next one is similar to the one above. But, it has the top cut off. This one has been said to look like a chimney. Chimneys were beginning to be a big deal towards the end of the medieval period. Before that, there were open fire pits in the grand rooms of most homes causing a smokey atmosphere. The chimney, though flawed by design in the beginning, causing fire to homes that were nowhere near to being fire resistant, helped relieve the smokiness.


There is some beautiful symbolism relating to the chimney. What a beautiful thing it must be to have that symbolism upon one’s head.  I was joking with my husband recently and called him “my chimney”. It was then that I realized how beautifully symbolic a chimney can be. I called him my chimney because he is tall, lean, and has smoke up top (gray hair). But, also, he protects me with warmth and carries all the bad stuff (billowing smoke) away from me. In the past, chimneys were part of the stove that cooked food and boiled water to keep us warm. There’s also the symbolism of the hearth fire, which is represented by our hearts in this imagery.  You can read more about beautiful symbolism of the hearth here:
The final medieval head piece I will be examining before moving on into the renaissance period is the butterfly head piece.


The only symbolism there is for such a beautiful piece of head wear is the obvious, the butterfly. Butterflies represent change, beauty emerging from the ugly, new beginnings, etc. Again, beautiful symbolism to have upon one’s head.

And finally, I wanted to talk about the similarities I noticed in a certain piece of renaissance era head wear and renaissance era art. Art during this period was religious in nature. In fact, religion was important for both these eras. So, it would come to no surprise that there is relevant symbolism in some of the fashionable items from these periods.

I want to talk about the French hood.


During the medieval and renaissance eras, the Mother Mary, as we know, was often depicted in religious art with a halo around her head. The French hood fashion as always looked very similar to me.


Well, that’s it for now. I hope this has been an insightful journey through some of the medieval and Renaissance fashions. I hope you’ll have a wonderful 2017.

5 thoughts on “The Spiritual Significance of Head-wear through the Ages.”

  1. Sorella Shoshana, many thanks for your insights. There was a time when everything in the manifest world was religious, a signpost to Dea. Smiles, I was heart warmed by your description of your husband. May you share many blessings together, by the grace of Dea. Unfortunately 2 of the illustrations are missing. But due to this I went researching and discovered:
    Heartshaped Hennin Symbolising Dea’s Unconditional Love for All
    Instructions for making one:

  2. Angela Clayton is a wonderful young teenaged costumer. I am very familiar with her work. Here, she is showing us how to make the butterfly head dresses I spoke of. They are also sometimes compared to ram’s horns. I do believe the medieval period was the start to an era where spiritual symbolism still existed in obvious ways all over. But, this is when people started to become less and less aware of it. As we know, the spiritual significance of clothing has been lost and this occurred rapidly during the second half of the 20th century.

    Once I finish my Renaissance era costume I am making, I was planning to move on into making a medieval one. They share similar under garments, construction techniques, and layers. (I have my own views about the symbolism of historical layers….3, 5, and 7 seem to have been favored for centuries and I follow this with the 1950s styles I wear and my own layering.) I wasn’t sure which style of medieval head wear I would make. But, thanks to your description of this hennin, I believe I have made my decision.

  3. Sorella Shoshana, Dea be praised for leading you into a head wear decision. I do hope that you will share your “symbolism of historical layers….3, 5, and 7 seem to have been favored for centuries”. Dea has gifted you as a craftswoman. I am not. Thank you once again.

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