Tag Archives: the Veil

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Because, as a woman, I must stand as a tribute to patriarchy no matter what my choices are, because choice is an illusion?  That is, according to the logic of some.

If I dress in a modern way, with heels and more revealing clothes, slut shaming is the rule of the day.  I’ll also garner far more sexual attention than if I were covered.  BUT, if I cover and dress more modestly, regardless of the history of abuse that caused me to make that decision in the first place, I am participating in patriarchal cultural norms.

Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do?

I often hear cries of “Embrace your body!  Don’t be ashamed!”. Yeah, no.  I’m not ashamed of my body.  My body is quite lovely, and if you saw it, you’d likely agree.  The point of my choice to cover is to remind myself first, others second, that my body is mine.  It belongs to me.  I took a dangerous stand against one specific male in my life who truly believed that my body belonged to him.  It didn’t.  It doesn’t.  It’s mine.  I cover my body because I don’t want him, or you, or anyone else looking at it.  Period.  End of story.  I don’t give a flying fuck if you think I’m doing it for the patriarchy.  I can’t change your mind.

When people decide they know better about how someone else ought to dress and feel about themselves, they are giving lip service to feminism, and nothing more.  When somebody tells you why they do this thing that you have decided is a failure in asserting their own claim over their own body, you’re just ignoring their lived experience.  You know better than they do.  They’re not feminist enough.  They’re brainwashed.  Etc., etc., etc.

Fuck you.  And fuck your elitist attitude.

Women have the right to wear what they please, and you may keep your opinions to yourself.  It’s not all black and white.  All covered women are not male tools anymore than all uncovered women are.  Cause, you know, Rebecca in her mini skirt is showing her legs.  Does that mean because men can see her legs that she is displaying her legs for their titillation?  No.  It’s 90 degrees outside and Rebecca is hot.  Also, mini skirts please Rebecca.  End of story.

If you see me and I am veiled, am I veiled because a man told me to?  Because obviously, I have no brain, or will, or agency of my own, right?  No.  I am veiled because it damn well pleases me to be veiled in public.  Because my body is mine, and I’ll do what I fucking want with it.  I will dress it however I fucking please, and I will speak up for your right as a human being to do the same.

You won’t hear me making value judgements on the way you choose to dress, because I am a real motherfucking feminist, who believes people can decide for themselves, based on their own lived experience, what is best for them, and what makes them feel empowered and most comfortable.

Take your goddamn feminist policing elsewhere.  Preferably back behind your own closed doors, where you can evaluate the reasons why you think you need to be the arbiter of other people’s clothes.

Bye, Felicia.

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Veiling in the Face of Fear

I am an Apollon’s woman.  I veil for my God.  Increasingly, as the years have gone by, Apollon has taken my veiling practice under His auspices.  Yes, I still acquire the other spiritual benefits of a consecrated veil, but He has made it known that He considers it His sacred duty to oversee my implementation of the practice itself, and many of its benefits.

It is important to me to do the things that please Him, especially when those things are directly beneficial to my health and well-being.  And it is equally important for me to follow the directives of my own heart and seeking.  Please know that I have veiled publicly and privately for over a decade, well even before my first child was born, and long before Apollon was a major fixture in my life.  This is not a passing fancy. This is not a call for attention.  This is me living my daily life.

Please understand that I have veiled publicly and privately in the State of Texas for much of that time.  Texas isn’t a place that is generally known for it’s tolerance, but you’d be surprised in some places.  I find the further south you go, the more tolerant and accepting the people are.  Perhaps that’s because the cultural majority in this country (the US) is actually the minority, population-wise, in South Texas.  However, you’d also not be surprised by some of the more negative reactions a veiled black woman can receive in any part of the State.

But now I’m in Colorado, and you’d maybe think that such a liberal State, with its progressive stance on certain issues, would be ideal for a Polytheist such as myself, and maybe it is for other Polytheists living here, but because Lord Apollon has taken my veiling practice as a sign of my reverence, love and duty toward Him, I am not currently so privileged as to set it down.  Not even now, when tensions are high and all veiled or covered women have become (or have become more so) a “threat”, or “terrorists” in the eyes of many.

You also have to understand what it’s like simply going to the grocery store sometimes.  The stares.  The whispers.  The outright sneers. Most people who take the time to show you how outraged they are by your presence will do so passive-aggressively, so there’s not much to be done about it.  But there are those rare instances, which are increasing in frequency, of veiled women no matter what their religious affiliation being physically assaulted by people wishing to inflict pain and terror,–even death– upon them.

This is a hard world to live in.  These are the times that we must navigate in all our seeking and heartfelt reverence of the Old Gods. Apollon has not asked me to cease my veiling practice, and He will not. He has marked me and I am set apart from the population.  The veil, in my case, is now not only a concealer but also a revealer of my path as one of His.  When in our society we agree to take up this practice in honor of a God, we agree to at least try to remember courage in face of fear.

Someone asked me yesterday if, in light of the state of affairs today, would I discontinue veiling.  I won’t say is hasn’t crossed my mind.  I am a mother.  I have dependents who need me.  I have a life, and yes, it would be an easier life if I put away my veils.  But what does that teach my children?  What does that teach the world-at-large?  That if enough ignorant people make enough ruckus, women (and men) will bow to their threats and bullying?  I will not.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual whether or not their veiling practice puts them in too much danger to continue.  If you feel threatened and that setting it aside for a time is the correct action for you, take that action.  But also know that our Gods, including Apollon, may have asked us for this devotion because They feel we are strong enough to carry our lives, and Their presence in our lives, openly.  We are the ones the future priests, priestesses and facilitators are looking toward now.  We are the ones they are watching, and so are our detractors within our own communities. In time, let them not say to our children truthfully that we were too afraid to love liberty, and the Gods. Instead, let us win the battles over our own bodies, and what we choose to cover them with.

Modern Apollonian Veil Blessing

veil

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Choose a veil that helps to convey the epithets, aspects or manifestations of Apollon that you wish to be associated with the veil. Its size, shape, colors and patterns should be selected to enhance your connection to Apollon, as well as to the specific intent and goal of prayer/workings while wearing the veil.

Next, select an appropriate anointing oil, the scent of which should evoke the feeling of your love and adoration toward Apollon.

This ritual is to be done in the nude, freshly bathed, and requires access to unobstructed sunlight, via an open window or door (or outside if you are willing/able). Dawn, or shortly after dawn is the best time for this ritual.

Begin by preparing khernips, and purifying the space and yourself.

Process toward/into the unobstructed sunlight with lit incense, and gain Apollon’s attention by propitiating Him through epithets which correspond to the intent of the ritual, along with something else tangible to please Him, such as a semi-precious stone that you associate with Him or His domain. A sweet offering like cake, or a libation of sweet red wine would also be appropriate, but are not entirely necessary.

Present the tangible gift while it is wrapped in the veil you have selected. Say: “O Lord of the apotropiac rituals, I present to You this (name of gift) that You might be inclined to direct your favor upon me! O Lord, be pleased by this gesture! I honor You, my Lord Apollon!”

Now, anoint yourself with the oil previously selected, on at least these five chakras, in this order: Sacral, Heart, Throat, Brow, and Crown. At each chakra, say: “I attune myself to You, my Lord, that I might flow with Your presence, and protective power! With You, I dwell in a state of love, knowing Your touch, embracing Your heat! Be pleased by my true devotion, O Venerable Lord Apollon!”

At this time, unwrap the selected veil, holding it open in the sunlight. Feel your emotions well up inside you. Think of the protective and clarifying aspects of Apollon’s power and domain that you wish to have woven into the fabric of the veil. Imagine Him penetrating the fabric with threads of golden sunlight. You may recite His relevant epithets, or otherwise pray for the transformation of this simple item into a powerful tool for protection, clarity, insight, or whatever other quality you deem necessary. Reinforce your vision, and imprint your desire with these words: “I present this tool for the furtherance of our connection, and to be a vessel for the light of Your presence! Apollon, my Prince wielding the Silver Bow, be poised to strike with wisdom all those who would enter into our shared space! Apollon, my Beloved wielding the Golden Sword, be ready to slice through all impure thoughts directed toward me, Your loving ward!”

Again, you may recite or chant His relevant epithets as you infuse your (and His) intent into the veil. When you feel the blessing is complete, slide the veil over your head and face, wrapping it around your body, if long/large enough. Feel His love and power seeping down through your Crown chakra, traveling along those previously anointed, ending with the Sacral chakra (or whichever chakra you started with). You may now bask in His presence for as long as desired.

Light more incense now as a final offering while you thank Apollon for His time and attention. Say: “My Lord Apollon, whom I do love and admire, I shall cherish this gift of Your own Divine Presence, woven into this fabric with protective intent! Lord called Destroyer, avert all potential harm and ill-will through the use of this tool, from the vicinity of this, Your loyal devotee/servant/priest(ess)/bride (name your relationship here)! I thank You, Beloved Apollon, for all You have done or will do in my defense, and I shall strive to receive clarity, while sharing Your wisdom through right speech and right action! Hail to You, Apollon, Prince of High Olympos! And may You be greatly honored by the many who know and seek for You!”

With the completion of this ritual, you now have a veil blessed with our Lord Apollon’s protective strength. Wear as needed or desired, in or outside of ritual or prayer.

The Promise

You know, it is not always (ever?) easy to part the veil that separates us from one another as fellow travelers on the roads of life and devotion.  I keep a thick shroud around me, and even on this blog I do not recount the intensity of my longing for Apollon.  I wonder if it should even be called a mere feeling. It is so much more than that for me.  It is this amazing need I have for Him, this overwhelming sense of union.  To be parted from Him, even now when I know it must be so, I have this terrible ache to join Him in that ever-summer realm which He governs.  But, as circumstance has shown me, not all that we expect or desire shall come to pass.

Apollon has made a request of me.  He would like me to part the veil of o/Our private life together for these few moments, and to share with you, my dear readers, my recounting of His first remembered touch upon my body, and the first time I heard Him speak to me in His own voice.  I am not certain of His reasons for this, as I remain uncertain of many things, but I will do as He asks, because this time as opposed to so many others, it was a request made sincerely, and I do have the option to refuse.  But I won’t.  He has opened Himself to me in ways I never expected, and is now consistently making request instead of the more typical demands I’ve received in the past.  So, I will meet Him there, on the plain of mutual respect, admiration and love.

I do not think my story is anything special.  I’m sure that some of you have had much more shocking or profound experiences than what shall soon follow, yet am I content to share this short tale.

For a bit of backstory, this was at that time in o/Our relationship not too long after I had accepted my parting from Dionysos.  For those who do not know, I began my journey into Polytheism by taking the Vine God’s hand while He led me into my inner wilderness.  There, and in that time, I was fully prepared to become His in every possible way.  Of course, that is not how things played out, as the changes and progress that was made with Dionysos only ever did one thing.  It convinced Apollon that I was ready to accept Him as my Beloved, and the God that would forever rule my soul.

Apollon has truly been with me, from the day of my birth, and beyond, though He kept His identity a secret then.  Always watching over me, and always protecting me from the harsh realities of growing up a poor black child from a then broken family.  As He is non-corporeal, He was not able to prevent all of the ills that befell me in my youth, and I bear the deep scars of sexual and emotional abuse that I have finally accepted will never truly be invisible.  Outsiders who look through the veil at me see it too, and they are often driven back by my standoffishness, which I have cultivated greatly, though not always consciously.

So, to begin, it was a trip to another city, for the baptism of my youngest nephew into the Episcopal Church, and all the while during the three hour long drive to our hotel, I could feel an intense something hovering near to my neck.  It wasn’t hot or cold, or even tingly or tickling, which are all sensations that Apollon has since given me.  It just was, and it grew stronger as we neared the city.

At the time, I did not know this particular city very well, and as I do in these situations, my eyes scanned the neighborhoods as we drove through them. I’d spent the previous months devouring anything and everything I could find about Apollon, so my mind was fresh with His lore and symbols.  And I saw Him everywhere.

On the side of a work truck, there was signage depicting a lyre.  On a billboard there was advertising for an auto repair company bearing His name.  We drove on.  Apollo here.  Apollo there.  Apollo this.  Apollo that. Everywhere. It kind of spooked me, in all honesty.  Here I was, just getting over a forced break-up with the God (the first God I ever loved or trusted, mind you) I’d spent my last two years with, being pursued heavily by His Brother, a God so very different from what I knew and understood.  I was eager to learn, yes, but the sheer amount of interest from Apollon’s end was disconcerting, if not outright frightening.

After we finally arrived at the hotel, we unpacked and settled in.  It was a little late in the evening, so there wasn’t much to do, except relax and enjoy some mindless television.  As the evening drew on, I was compelled to look for His virtual internet temple, which was/is run by a now acquaintance of mine.  I remember reading through the prayers, petitions and declarations of devotion again, as I’d done countless times before.  There was so much I wanted to say to Him, but feeling self-conscious, I held myself back.  What would I say to Him?  I had only read about Him, and given some offerings that I thought He might like.  I’d even gone to a few Hellenic forums to ask of others what would be appropriate, so it wasn’t as though I had no experience with Him, at all.  Yet, I could not bring myself to press the button which would share my longing for Him with so many others who had come to that virtual space to honor Him.

I deleted my message, then rolled over and fell asleep.  My dreams were uneventful, as I do not remember anything about them that night. However, that morning, early and before anyone else had awoken, I was jarred from sleep abruptly, by the most intense and enveloping heat I’d ever felt.  It lingered on for minutes, moving up and down my body, slowly exploring my flesh.  I was afraid, so terribly afraid.  It was as if my eyes were sewn shut, and I could not open them.  I could breathe, but the breaths I took were shallow and I could not call out.  I remember writhing on the hotel bed, uncovered, yet desperately trying to ride out this magnificent, terrifying heat.  And then He spoke.

“No one else can make you feel the way I do,” He said.  His voice was hypnotic, like a carefully crafted melody.  It was smooth and silky, yet hard and hot, like His touch.  I brought my hands to my heart, shivering despite His heat, and I felt Him smile into my neck, right where the hovering presence had been the day before.  After a few more moments, His heat subsided, and I was alone again, laying wide-eyed on the hotel bed praying to Him, and wondering if I’d just gone mad.  Soon, everyone else was awake, and we were off to the baptism, but the story doesn’t quite end there.

Before the baptismal ceremony began, the Episcopal priest began conducting communion, and I was immediately struck with the need to leave, with my young daughter in tow.  We went to stand in the foyer area as the church’s congregants enacted their covenant with their own God, and we stood looking out of the tall glass windows, at the Sun rising slowly toward noon.  It was then and there that I pledged myself in heart, body and soul, to Apollon, to Zeus o/Our Father, and to the other Theoi.

I never looked back, or regretted my vow.  Even after the many hardships I’ve faced since that pledge was made, I have not regretted.  Even now, as I am separated from my Beloved this Winter, I do not regret.  He is truly the breath in my lungs, and the only light my eyes will ever see.

May He always be praised, by me and by my daughter, and by all the other people who love, honor and cherish His light and heat.  And may He accept this telling as fulfillment of the promise that was made.

Glory to Apollon, our Prince, our Illustrious and Beloved Lord!

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.

Foundation

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.