Cosmetic Veiling

It occurs to me that some people may be wondering why I wear my makeup in the manner that I do.   I do not usually explain these details to others, but I feel that it may actually help someone who could be wrestling with limiting ideas of veiling.

What is veiling?  Why do it?  And, is the head the only part of the body that can/should be veiled?  While all of these questions will have to be answered by each individual for their own needs, I can give a few examples based from my own experience.

Eye Shadow

Eye-shadow 2
Eye-shadow 1Eye-shadow 3

Women of color, such as myself, are often seen wearing very bright and/or metallic colors of eye-shadow in media and daily life.  It could be an aesthetic choice, and as such would be perfectly acceptable, because grown persons may wear whatever they feel comfortable in, as evidenced by the many people who go about their lives doing just that.

But there are other reasons to have a strikingly made-up face.  Aesthetics aside, one may choose to apply color to their eyelids as a way of veiling the eyes.

I usually wear a silver eye-shadow, because, when charged with the task, it easily reflects away those things that I am not interested in “seeing”.  I wear it because it ensures that when I am interacting with the public, I do not “see” too much.  This veiling of the eyes is paramount for me and my ability to stay in the present moment (and out of other people’s heads) in those cases when I have to deal with the public.

Even when dealing with the public is only done via technology, this technique is proven effective.  Potentially speaking to a hundred people via the internet is no different than speaking to a hundred people face to face for me, energetically speaking.  In order to protect myself from unwanted energy exchanges, and to protect my audience from being probed without consent, I veil my eyes.

The eyes are but one example of cosmetic veiling however, and there are some others which I do partake in, for other energetic and ritual reasons, and I’ll give a couple more examples.

Nail Polish

red nail polish1

I try to keep my nails Apollon’s preferred color for me, which is bright, glossy red.  I don’t always, because the upkeep is tremendous for a woman living a country lifestyle, yet I do notice the differences in how much energy I am expending on daily activities when my nails aren’t painted, as opposed to when they are.

When they are painted, I simply have more energy to spare after a long day, and am less cranky and particular about my personal space.  Also, it bears mentioning that the red gloss is the last layer, which may cover an anointing oil, or small Runic or Greek Alphabet characters drawn onto the nails before the base-coat of clear polish.  Depending on what my tasks are for the week (I try to keep it looking neat and it usually lasts about a week before I have to remove it and start over), I can tailor my energetic output to maximize my efforts, or to minimize my losses.  I also paint my toe-nails, for similar reasons.


A woman applying cream under her eye

Covering my face in foundation helps me to construct a mask for myself– one which may assist in the vanishing of ego during the initial stages of particular types of Work.  I find that preparing before the mirror triggers the process, and as I see myself disappearing under the mask, so too do I relinquish control of those part of my body that Apollon wishes to affect.

When I no longer recognize myself in the mirror, I can more readily forget myself, and then become what is needed for the time being.

This is also a great way to add a little (or a lot, depending upon the scope of your aesthetic desires) theatrical beauty to formalized ritual.  I personally wouldn’t engage in this dressing activity for everyday prayer or ritual simply because it is a tedious process, but occasionally, Apollon does desire to see me looking a certain fabulous way when addressing Him before His shrine. And I do it please Him, as well as myself.

So, to recap, aesthetics are a valid enough reason to apply a dramatic look, but they are not the only reasons why one may choose to do so.  If you feel inclined to experiment with make-up for in or out of a ritual context, do so without any apology, because it is not for anyone other than yourself, or your Gods and spirits to understand.  Donning the veil, in all the many ways that exist, is a beautiful expression of religious devotion, and should be respected in its many varied forms.


18 responses to “Cosmetic Veiling

  1. Alexis Sólveig

    oh your links are private :(

  2. Reblogged this on Beloved in Light and commented:
    I am sharing this in prelude to my own post on ritual cosmetic adorning and how it impacted me my first time doing so in my evening ritual last night.

  3. This is so wonderful to see! I’ve recently started wearing more facial make-up (I used to be an eyeliner and lip gloss gal!), primarily for facial hair issues (I’m also a shave-every-day gal! *sigh*) but I’ve noticed, especially for going to the day job, that a “mask” (foundation, cover-up, powder; eyeshadow and liner, lip gloss) really helps me settle into my “out and about” persona. I use less for the weekends, but I have a bare minimum now that I don’t leave the house without (except for vet emergencies).

    You’re making me reconsider sparkly eyeshadow. I generally prefer matte (nothing makes my baby blues pop like some nice flat brown color) but something with some shimmer could be nice for that reflective purpose.

    I simply adore reading about different sorts of veiling that people do. This is one of those areas where I don’t think I consider it enough, but with the witchy and magically inclined, I have no idea why make-up shouldn’t be considered another area in which one can work one’s will. Love this, so very, very much. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Oh I love this because I LOVE make-up even though I go for the “natural look” for every day use. When I do put on eyeshadow, heavier mascara, and eyeliner I can feel that “otherness”. And I love the idea of painting symbols on the nails before the polish. Genius!

    And I wanted to say how refreshing it is to see WOC models for this post. Gorgeous!

  5. Oh this is such an interesting idea. I could at least do this with nail polish. As I present and am seen as male these days, it would be difficult and unsafe for me to don anything other than nail polish but the uses of make-up in magic sound so intriguing!!

  6. Columbine, on Samhain I’ve been known to play with face paint and I mess around with my nail polish constantly. The stuff never stays chipless more than a day so I’m changing it all the time. I’m dedicated to Celtic gods, so I’ve toyed with Ogham-like nail art, from time to time. *slaps forehead* It never occurred to me that my nail polish love might be a form of veiling.

    • I think sometimes we get these ideas in our heads that veiling and glamour are somehow mutually exclusive. They aren’t really. They are more like two sides of the same coin. Anything we cover can be covered for a purpose, whether we cover with plain cloth, bright or patterned cloth, or with cosmetics and adornments. A lot of people see veiling as a strictly modest practice, but it doesn’t have to be if one is not naturally inclined toward modesty. I lean on the modest side, but it is a personal modesty and not dictated to me by outside forces (other than Apollon). I have found that adding cosmetics in a serious way, as a focus for specific goals, is highly satisfying to me as one who walks a path of Queenship. Modesty, for me, is more of an exercise is behaving in a reserved manner than it is an exercise in keeping my body covered anymore. It’s nearing the end of Summer here, but it’s still really hot. It would be impractical to keep all covered up at this time of year, and cosmetics are quite flexible in most climates.

      • *nods* Agreed. Like I said, makeup just wasn’t anything I ever thought of as veiling–because sometimes it seems as makeup draws attention (with comments like “Oh, you look really nice today!” or from my hubby “Why are you wearing makeup? You’re pretty enough without it” *lol*.) Plus, I take terms too literally, sometimes I guess. I always thought of veil as a piece of clothing. And you’re right, I’m in the south too so make up just melts off me in the summer. :) Still it’s nice when we *can* wear it, huh?

  7. Oh this is so interesting! I have never been much into makeup, except for nail polish, but it’s very interesting to see it as a form of veiling. I have been avoiding it in part because I see it as a mask, but now, the mask idea is taking another dimension that I like. I might not start wearing heavy makeup, but it’s interesting to see it from another angle.