Placing ashes on one’s head has origins in Pagan religion.
In the ancient Nordic Pagan religion, placing ashes on one’s head was a method of insuring protection from Odin. This was a ritual performed on Wednesday, Odin’s day. In fact, another name for Odin in the old Nordic language is the same word for Ashes.
But the Norse adapted this custom from ancient Indian beliefs. Agni was the ancient Indian God of Fire, believed to be the deity to cleanse and purify the body of sins. The Romans adapted this God’s name in the Latin word ignis, for fire. And how we derived the present word ignite.
So, as the Catholics believe………”Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”……….all is connected and everything returns to its source.
All religion has common links……formed from the same intentions and fears of all who share the mortal bonds of human particles of life……the decaying human cells of man……..”Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust” Only the fiery energies of human souls rise up like the Phoenix.
Human souls who have looked to the Heavens in praise of Gods since ancient times.