The worldview of our European forebears was cyclical, and at the core of their traditions was reincarnation – the reincarnation of nature, but essentially the reincarnation of the mind/spirit. This means that when a child would be old enough, and that was usually between seven and eight years old, it would participate in a reincarnation ritual through which it would acquire its real name i.e. the name of the honourable dead – of himself in previous lives. Among the Slavs this remained a ritual in which the child at the age of seven would descend into a cave taking with it only a candle. In the cave a sorcerer impersonating the god Veles would welcome the child and kindle its candle, after which the child went outside and placed the candle on the ground along with the candles of other children, forming a fiery ring. Later the children would step into the ring and have their first haircut, even if it was just a small piece of hair, and receive their real names, names which belonged to the honourable dead – themselves in previous lives. Among some Slavs only the hair cutting part of the ritual was preserved, but the children always received their real names at the age of seven, and before that they had a substitute name, so to speak. The cutting of the hair is a symbolic act of rebirth, it mimics the cutting of the umbilical cord, for the hair is related to Veles/Triglav, who is represented as having very long hair and beard. This is why Slavic sorcerers, known as volhvs (akin to druids) were obliged to let their hair and beard grow very long.[…]

Bardic Sorcery — The Ancestral Tree