by Soren TwoCrows
What is “the Veil” and what impact does it have on our lives? First, to understand the Veil we have to understand ourselves and the nature of our consciousness and our relationship to the universe.
Let’s start with ancient Egypt. Hundreds of years before the Common Era, C.E., Egyptian philosophy had peaked. At that time, the Egyptian God of Wisdom and knowledge was known as Thoth. A corpus of scriptures involving metaphysical knowledge developed during that time and these teachings we attributed to the God of the mysteries himself.
The Greeks, also had a god that they equated to Thoth, his name was Hermes. Over time, the Greeks absorbed the teachings of Egyptian Thoth and infused them with their philosophical bias. Many of these teachings therefore became attributed to the Greek god Hermes and the corpus became known as the Hermetic Teachings.
The most lucid and influential of the Hermetic texts to be published in the 20th Century was part of a book called the Kybalion. The Kybalion, published in 1908 by the Yogi Publication Society, put into modern day terms a set of Hermetic philosophies that came to be regarded as the cornerstone of many metaphysical teachings. In the Kybalion, the teaching of Correspondence, Vibration, Polarity, Rhythm, Cause and Effect, and Gender are elucidated and brought to light.
The symbolism of the Golden Dawn and the Tarot, as you will see later, are referenced in the Kybalion. In the Kybalion’s chapter on Correspondence we find the famous Hermetic Axiom, “as above, so below”. In this same chapter it is written that “The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most important mental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles which hid from view the Unknown. Its use even tore aside the Veil of Isis to the extent that a glimpse of the face of the Goddess might be caught.” This river of mystical teaching which flowed from the land of Egypt, found fertile soil in the Greek mind and after the church released its hold on the world, found its way into the Kybalion. Since it is with the Hermetic philosophers that the teaching of the Veil began, it seems a fitting place to begin our journey.
However, before we can comprehend the Veil, we have to comprehend the Self. As with any journey, we will need a guide to put us on the road. With this in mind, I would like to introduce none other than our tradition’s founder, the Blv. LaVeda, a.k.a, Lady Elizabeth Greenwood.
Lady Greenwood published in her later years an exposition of her beliefs entitled “The Five Mystic Secrets.” The five mystic secrets are a like a set of keys for understanding the dynamic of the universe. Lady LaVeda lovingly refers to these keys at the five sisters. The forth Key or sister is called the SOUL.
In Lady LaVeda’s description, she refers to the soul as being in two parts. The first part is called the OVERSOUL. The Oversoul is eternal and contains the sum of all or our lifetimes and experiences. As a composite being, outside of space and time, it is constantly aware of its many human and other experiences. It is commonly referred to as the High Self, Guardian Angel, or simply Spirit.
The Oversoul, being eternal in nature, has an egoic representation that it defined by pure love. It is the Oversoul that gives us compassion and helps serve the human race. It imparts to us our highest ideals and aspirations. It is the Oversoul that connects us to the Divine and guides our FATE. While the Oversoul has chosen for us the road upon which we walk, it still gives us the freedom to explore the breadth of this road as we travel along its path.
Lady LaVeda, states that we are also composed of another type of soul, she calls this part of us the UNDERSOUL. The Undersoul is that part of us that experiences the space/time world. It is the sum of our physical, intellectual, and emotional experiences. Unlike the Oversoul, the Undersoul’s identity is formed in this lifetime and thus it knows only one persona. This persona is egoic in nature and its modus operandi is survival.
In order to fulfill its mission, the Undersoul seeks to get ahead, to be first, to thrive, and to overcome all obstacles. It is the Undersoul that makes you want to cut off the driver who tries to get ahead of you. It is the Undersoul that dresses you up in those uncomfortable shoes and too tight skirt so you can attract that special guy. It is the Undersoul who is afraid of dying and seeks to fills the world with its mythologies, only to suppress what it feels to be inevitable.
While the Undersoul is visceral, intellectual, and physical in nature, the Oversoul is empathic, intuitive, conceptual, and spiritual in nature. Like two sides of a coin they represent the sum of our potential and the essence of our being. Now consider once again the hermetic axiom, “As above, so below” and ponder the God and Goddess. Are they not like us? “As above, so below, as within, so without”, I say we are cut form the same mold. What if the God is that intellectual, visceral, material, survival oriented Undersoul of the Divine? Would not the Goddess be the intuitive, spiritual, and empathic Oversoul of the Divine?
Hmm….. makes you wonder. Like us, maybe they are two side of the same coin. But remember, even a coin, thought it contains two sides, is still one coin. That which separates yet joins the two sides is the middle.
The Oversoul, with its thousands of lifetimes of knowledge and the Undersoul, with its new kid on the block mentality are truly one being. So, if that is the case, then why is our human Undersoul only aware of its current life? At the beginning of this pager, we were asked, “what do we forget as a result of the Veil?” I am going to take an unconventional stance here and claim that “we forget nothing”. It is my intention that the Oversoul is incapable of forgetting. I would also argue that the Undersoul’s only knowledge of itself is what’s learned in this incarnation. Lady LaVeda states in the “The Five Mystic Secrets”, that “The Undersoul begins with birth and builds throughout one’s life”. Therefore, I believe that the Undersoul simply never knew the Oversouls many lives. When people begin to pull back the Veil and access the memories of the Oversoul, they become confused and believe that they, the human persona Undersoul, lived those lives. Surely one cannot blame the Undersoul for believing this. However, I contend that it is the mighty Oversoul of our being, complete with its litany of thousands of lives, that is the true incarnator of our past, present, and future. Thus, the Undersoul cannot forget what it never knew, and the Oversoul can forget nothing at all. But given that this is crap shoot, I may be totally wrong here. However, this is what I have come to believe.
Now the next question is, why are these two souls kept separate and by what force are they obscured from each other’s vision? To me it seems reasonable to suggest that, in order for the Undersoul to maintain its individuality and not be gobbled up in the Infinite pool or Oversoul lifetimes, something must separate the two. The ancient mystics, who pondered this question, provided us an answer— THE VEIL.
What is the Veil? Some say it is an energy field. Others have suggested that it is some kind of dimensional barrier or variance in vibrational frequency. However, I would like to suggest something altogether different. The teaching of the Veil is one of the most closely guarded secrets in metaphysics. The Masonic Order teaches about the Veil. The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, speaks of a Veil mystery. Ceremonial Magicians teach of the Veil.
So what is the Veil? Before we can answer that we must take yet one more detour. To comprehend the mystery of the Veil we must come to understand its importance and wrap our mind around that which it represents.
To complete this journey we will return to where we started—The Hermetic Teachings.
For over 2000 years, the corpus of Hermetic knowledge passed from person to person. As the power of the Roman Christ cult grew, it became necessary for the mystery schools, philosophers, mages, witches, priests, and the priestess of the various religious orders to go into hiding. What remained of ancient teachings survived though family bloodlines such as the Strega of the High-Correll. One of the most infamous of these magical societies and possibly the most influential in the neo-pagan revival of the last century was the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.”
The Golden Dawn was started by William Woodman, William Westcott, and Samuel Mathers, who all were practicing Rosicrucians and Free Masons. Later the group acquired several other members, such as Israel Regardi, Arthur Edward Waite, Dion Fortune, Edmund Berridge, and the infamous Aleister Crowley, among others. To a student of metaphysics, the attendance roster of the Golden Dawn reads like the Who’s Who of the occult world.
Then, as quickly as they came, the Golden disappeared. Gobbled up by egos, petty augments, and too many chiefs, they split up and followed their own paths. However, they left their mark, and many of their teachings influenced Gerald Gardner and others who helped to keep the knowledge alive. The Veil teaching survived the Dawn in many fashions; mostly through the Kabbalistic teachings of Samuel Mathers, Dion Fortune, Israel Regardi, and through the Tarot.
The most famous of the Golden Dawn inspired Tarot decks is the Rider Waite deck. It is here, buried in card number two of this deck that we finally find the secret of Veil revealed.
CARD NO#2 – The High Priestess
Here we have a card rich in symbolism. While I will not go into the Tarot meanings or how to read this card, I will address the secrets held in its imagery. Here we have a lady, who sets between two columns. One column is black and has a “B” on it. The other column is white and has a “J” on it. At the feet of this lady is what appears to be a crescent moon. She holds a scroll in her hands, which read Tora(?). Behind the lady is a Veil that is covered in Pomegranates. The view beyond the Veil is obscured. The lady has a strange head garment and there appears to be a lotus sprouting from the top of each. The lady sets upon a stone and appears to the guarding the passageway to the Veil. To understand this imagery we need turn to a small little occult handbook published in 1911 by the Author of the deck, A.E. Waite, called a “Pictorial Key to the Tarot”, and to years of reading by many Tarot professionals of which I am the least. So let’s have a go at it.
(1) The definition of the two columns is given away by the capitals “B” and “J”. These letters on two columns, in the occult world are known “Boaz and Jachin” references to the Columns of King Solomon’s Temple. The columns were said to have flower shaped tops.
(2) The Pomegranates represent fertility and creation. Thus, on this side of the Veil, life springs into being.
(3) There appears to be a river just on the other side of the Veil. The river is a reference to the collective unconscious mind, that aspect of us that is the OVERSOUL.
(4) On this side of the Veil, the moon is wrapped in the gown of the Priestess and it lies upon the solid yellow floor, which represents the union between the feminine moon and masculine sun. Thus, this side of the Veil represents our material existence manifested in divine union, which we experience by the power of our physical self, the UNDERSOUL.
(5) But who is the Lady? She is the guardian of the Veil. She is the pathway between the two parts of ourselves. On this side, we have the sensory driven generative powers of the UNDERSOUL and on the other side we have the mysterious watery world of the OVERSOUL. The scroll in the ladies hand is a reference to decoding her image. The word TORA(?) is a type of anagram popular in the Golden Dawn Days. It is an obvious reference to the TORAH or the Jewish book containing the first five books of the Hebrew bible. So to decode this lady we will need to delve into the Jewish Mystical teachings of the Kabbalah. If the missing letter of the scroll was a “T” and you read the scroll backwards, you get TAROT. It would seem that the author is trying to tell us that if we approach this card through the Jewish mystic’s eyes, we will unlock the secret of the tarot card itself. Of course we know this is the case historically as the Golden Dawn based its teachings on the Jewish Mystical teaching of the Kabbalah. Finally, if we link the Pomegranates with the Solar (God) cross and the vaginal opening of the Priestess, as in the next figure, you get the Kabalistic symbol of the Tree of Life.
If you have studied the Kabbalah, you will immediately recognize what’s going on here. The Columns Boaz and Jachin now find their completion as the pillars of Severity and Mercy. The Lady guardian of the Veil is herself the middle pillar. She represents the path to transformation. The ascension from the Physical world represented bottom the bottom circle, which in Kabbalah speak is called “Malkuth” and the upper world of undivided spirit essence, called “Kether”. Whoever, this lady is, she is definitely the pathway between the two SOULS. She is the path beyond the Veil.
To find her truth we will need to find a few more clues, some of which are held in the other cards. Notice the flowing gown that parts unnaturally over the moon almost as if it were water. Even the gown itself falls in unnatural water like pattern. The Solar moon over her heart seems to be translucently suspended under water and even the gown itself seems to flow off the bottom of the card, indicating that is may flow onto or appear in other cards. Sure enough, on card IV (EMPEROR), this flowing water theme shows up again as a river, hidden behind and at the bottom of the Emperor’s thrown. In card XIII (Death) it shows up as another river flowing behind the dark rider known as death. Finally, is makes its last appearance in the major Archana as a vast ocean from which the dead arise. This last card is the reference that decodes this watery spirit and reveals identity of it source, the High Priestess. This final reference point of a scripture at is part of the Christ’s cult resurrection mythos as revealed in the book of the Revelation of John. In this book, after the trumpets of the angels sound the dead arise. All of this occurs in the end of days, or the end of human time. It is TIME that is the key to this mystery.
What flows like a river, but TIME. What force cannot be stopped, and brings with it death, TIME. What marks the passage of the sun and moon at the feet of the High Priestess, TIME. What marks the passage of an Emperor, TIME. Finally, look again at the High Priestess card. The wacky headdress on the High Priestess is none other than that of the Egyptian Goddess Hathor, whose linage extends before recorded TIME. In later years, she became Isis. As Isis, she may have been worshiped for as long as 5000 years. She is known as the Goddess of 10,000 names and she became an archetype for many that would follow. Interesting that someone would put the headdress of a timeless Goddess on the guardian of the Veil. Now turn your attention again to the columns; notice that one column is white like the bright sunlight and the other is black like night. The guardian of the Veil is she which separates day and night. She is TIME.
TIME is the great power and secret of the Veil. Think about this, what if time is only a construct used by the collective consciousness to create this flow of experiences, you call life. Quantum Mechanics tells us that the universe is composed of energy and that this energy contains information. So, what does one call intelligent energy patterns – Thought? Everything that you see is an energetic construct and that construct is maintained by the one mind and its billions of Oversouls. Collectively together, they dream this world, and as the Undersouls we share this sensory environment together and we call it reality. The energy signature of the one mind that created this reality causes the quanta, or packets of energy, in our world to move at the same rate, the speed of light. It is this signature that determines the rate at which we experience time in this construct. Only in this artificial temporal environment can we collectively experience this flow of consciousness called time.
Therefore, time only affects the Undersoul. This is why we can appear to get old and things can appear to take motion. However, the Oversoul is not immersed in the temporal construct. Therefore, it does not experience ordered time. This is why the Oversoul can be ever present and aware of its thousands of lifetimes in any one instance. In the experiential world of the Oversoul, consciousness can flow at whatever rate the Soul chooses. We have all experienced this. For instance, when you are asleep, and your Undersoul takes a break, you become aware of the Oversoul’s potential and you dream. In your dream, your thoughts can be random, you can appear one place and then another, days can seem to go by in your dream and yet the body of your Undersoul experiences only what it thinks is a couple of hours. If you travel astrally, then you will have a more direct experience. For instance, you can think of a place, and appear there. You can travel to other times or even other universes. The power of the Oversoul is almost unlimited as it can create its constructs and order its existence from its own thoughts. The reason the Undersoul is not aware of the Oversoul, is because of the temporal constraints of TIME. The Undersoul must always be in TIME according to the natural law of this construct.
Apart from death, we cannot destroy this Veil and have our Undersoul magically show up in the Oversoul. However, by training our minds we can see beyond the Veil and glimpse into the shadowy domain of the Oversoul’s world. So how do we accomplish this feat? By shifting our consciousness. Think one more time about the columns of the High Priestess card. Why did the author of the card use a lotus like water lily on the top of the columns instead of some other flower? In ancient Egypt, the lily is symbolic of the type of vision that proceeds from an enlightened mind. Often this vision came through the use of a hallucinogenic extract of the blue lotus like water lily called Nymphaea Caerulea. Not only did the author tell us the nature and identity the guardian of the Veil, but gives us a hint as to how we may circumvent her power. How do we see beyond the Veil, we shift our Consciousness? There are many methods for seeing, hearing, and sensing beyond the Veil. The techniques listed below, are those of which I am familiar and know that they are taught in many circles.
(3) Astral Projection
(4) Remote Viewing
(5) Lucid Dreaming
(8) Invocative channeling
(9) Invocative Possession
And the list goes on…
What lies between the realm of the Oversouls and the realm of the Undersouls? What lies between these two Realms – THE VEIL? Here we carve out our stone seat and in a place between the worlds, like the High Priestess of the Tarot, we recline upon the Veil, speak to the dead, see visions, and borrow the power of the Oversoul to recreate the world in which we live. Once we learn to enter trance and explore this realm, we are in a place of great power. This is why, we must be diligent in our studies, meditate and journey regularly, and discipline our minds.
To quote another mythical character, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Let us thin the Veil and with the Gods enjoin.