The Reasons for Deanic Head Covering

The Reasons for Deanic Head Covering

by ArchMadria Pamela Lanides

The other day, I saw a woman go to mass in skin tight yoga pants. In summer time many of these women and girls wear shorts to church. This is a church where just a few decades ago, the women wore dresses, skirts and chapels veils or hats and the men wore suits and ties.


Dressing decently for worship showed respect for the “meeting place” between Heaven and Earth. It further showed reverence for God, the Blessed Sacrament and for the angels who were present at mass.


Traditional Catholics still dress this way for mass. Spanish women wear their beautiful, traditional mantillas during Holy Week in Spain. Many Eastern Orthodox women wear head coverings in church, as well and, of course, Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women cover their hair. True modesty and dignity of dress need never be frumpy and unattractive.


Who, having been invited to an important dinner function where dignitaries would be present, would wear yoga pants, jeans or shorts to the function? No-one. We would wear our very best. Why do we no longer wear our very best for God? Lately, it seems that more Christian women, coming from different denominations, are recognizing this problem and are beginning to look at veiling for church in a new light.


It is amazing how many neo-Pagans and Wiccans are drawn to veiling during their Esbats, Sabbats and other sacred rites. It seems that it is especially those devotees of goddesses who are usually depicted as being veiled, such as Hecate and Hestia, that feel called to do so. It is an holy and altogether intensely feminine custom and people do it for differing reasons.


As Deanic women, we take pride in dressing both in a feminine manner and with basic modesty in our daily wear. This does not mean we must wear skirts to our ankles and sleeves down to our elbows (although there is nothing wrong with that), nor do we feel the need to completely cover our hair, but we dress with common decency and with respect for both ourselves and for others.


Some of our members ‘cover’, that is, they wear a head covering when out in public. There are many different reasons for doing so and we support them in their choice. Many of them, as they place their scarf or hat on their heads will consciously ask Our Lady to place them beneath Her Great Mantle of Protection. The scarf or hat then becomes symbolic of Our Lady’s Mantle.  (By the way, the idea of Our Lady’s Mantle of Protection originated with the Catholic Church.)


A majority of our members do not ‘cover’ in this manner, but we do veil during our sacred rites. Many will immediately say to me, well, what about men? Customs do not always have to be the same for men as for women. I grew up during a time when it was considered rude, inconsiderate and extremely bad manners for a male to wear a hat indoors. Now, they do, even in restaurants which boggles my mind. That is something that I will never get used to. But, some men might feel drawn to wear a men’s religious head covering during religious rites and that is fine. Baseball and other sports types of hats are not appropriate for religious rites.


Recently, in addition to wearing my mantilla chapel veil during liturgy and during the prayer times of Aurora, Noontide and Evensong, I have begun wearing my veil during my rosary. For me, it is symbolic of a ‘time set apart’ for prayer and for being in the immediate Presence of Dea and the Janya. Wearing a veil during formal prayer makes me feel sheltered,  focused and it lends an air of sacredness to my time of communing with Dea.


Veiling during formal prayer might not be for everyone. But, for those who feel called or drawn, it is a very special custom. It is a sacred and holy custom. It lends self-dignity and shows respect to our Deity and in its own way, it helps to create ‘sacred space’.  Additionally, as Deanic women, we should be mindful of our status as representatives of Dea on Earth and so we should dress with dignity, self-respect and basic modesty.


One thought on “The Reasons for Deanic Head Covering

  1. I don’t think people even view a church as a “meeting place between Heaven and Earth” anymore. I remember when there was debate about how whether or not people should wear jeans to church and church felt more like a social gathering then. My parents made us dress nice for Sunday morning. But, we were allowed more casual wear during the midweek evening meeting. Like all of society, churches seem to be becoming more casual too.

    I am of the conservative branch of Judaism and one will see all married women with something on their heads during Shabbat morning service. The synagogue provide kippah for males and pieces of circular lace for females. There are even covering provided if a lady doesn’t feel she is dressed properly and prayer clothes for men. I have always loved the beaded kippah ladies wear and have a pink iris one myself.

    True modesty and dignity of dress need never be frumpy and unattractive.

    I tell people the above all the time. One can have a style and it can still be modest and cheap. I do 1950s. I feel naked without something on my head, even if it is just a flower, I usually have the back of my hair in a net….like a thin snood.

    I find, with men, if it’s a more formal type of headwear that goes with the outfit, it’s fine. It’s like with ladies, their hats are usually part of their outfit and in the days of common hat wearing, her hairstyle may have been done specifically for that hat and there’s a good chance it is secured to her hair. But, if the man can easily remove his hat, he should…..and, most the time, he can easily remove it. If you think about it, religious hats for men also tend to be secured to their hair with clips or combs. No matter what though, if the hat is so big it can obstruct the view of others, it should be removed or one should politely ask for another seat (or re-seat oneself).

    Sent from my iPad


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