Around this time of year it’s common to see numerous articles discussing “the Veil between the worlds”, that bit of energy that keeps spirits and creatures over there until such time as the Veil is considered “thin” and they can push through into our world.
And I admit, I started to write a pretty similar article. I didn’t question where this belief came from, taking it for granted through pop culture and some of the beginner Pagan books I ingested that this belief was “ancient” and pervasive amongst our ancestors.
Then I came across this post by @Cavalorn on Twitter.
To break it down, the earliest references to a “Veil between the worlds” of the material existence, heavens, hells, and fae palaces, appear to crop up during the Victorian era. In earlier lore, these places were believed to be physical locations you could reach as surely as you could London. The gods lived on Mount Olympus, the fae dwelled in the earthen mounds, and the spirits of the dead were always, always around us.
With the rise of photography, however, came double-exposure, those instances in which two overlapping images appear in the same photograph. Spirit photography, then, naturally became popular, and people began to believe that other worlds must exist at the same time (and in the same place) as our own. This has only been further entrenched with our growing understanding of scientific principles, mixed with heavy doses of science fiction and speculation, which suggest to us that there may be dozens or hundreds of alternate realities or planes of existence, neatly mapped over our own.
But its important to note that from what I’ve researched, I’m in agreement: our ancestors did not believe this. In every resource prior to the 1800s, they were quite clear about spirits and gods dwelling all amongst us, and that what is dead, remains. The ancestors are with you, always.
So if the gods and spirits and dead are all around us, why can’t we see them constantly? Why are they hidden? Well, they’re not. There may be value to the notion of the Veil, after all. It is perhaps most useful to think of the Veil as, not a physical barrier, but a shift in perception, a mental fog that we allow to descend over our senses to better focus on the physical matters at hand.
There are numerous folks among us that talk of being able to see the dead or spirits when they were younger, but either because they were scared or they grew to focus on more worldly matters, simply stopped seeing them one day. Many of us erected mental barriers to keep from getting “spooked”, and now have to spend many years taking down the walls we erected to keep ourselves from being “the weirdos”. Now, we have community. Now, we have others we can talk to about our experiences. Now, we can start learning what it is we’ve been experiencing.
If there is a Veil, it is time we tear it.