It’s not often that I read a blog and feel compelled to write a counter opinion. Generally speaking, I do not like getting into “blog wars” and dislike the drama of the back and forth. I will make an exception in this case where I strongly disagree with one of the “popular kids” and many of the commentators for a recent blog about the veil. As a practical magician, I know a tremendous amount about the veil. My magical praxis has openly and publicly been about manipulating the veil (and by manipulating, I mean temporarily shredding). I will share some of my techniques on weakening the veil. You can decide what perspective is more correct.
On November 6, John Beckett wrote a blog on this topic too. You can find his blog here. John is, without a doubt, an intelligent and well liked guy. I just disagree with his perspective on this, and more so wish he would have thought about the language he used more carefully. I consider myself intelligent, probably not as well liked and that’s OK, but I come from a very different perspective.
In the blog post, John immediately laid this out:
“…speculate that malevolent magicians are working spells to shred the Veil. That sounds too much like opening the hellmouth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me. Very few people who would do malevolent magic have the focus and discipline to develop the kind of skills it takes to be truly dangerous”
WTF? Really? Really?! I have over 25 years of experience in practical magic not needfully worship and this is pretty insulting to me. There is a whole bunch of assumptions to unpack in this statement.
People who would try to shred the veil are malevolent
Word choice matters here, and John further backs this up later with “Boundaries are an important feature of life, both spiritually and materially.” This assumption is political. A certain worldview is being supported even by the choice of language. This language supports a certain set of human spiritual relationships within a boundary of set conditions (“you are here” and “they are there” spirits). 5 minutes reading occult material on the internet will tell you, no one will agree on what that looks like and, fundamentally, I would disagree with what that should look like as compared to John. I know this just by the combinations of statements.
The word “malevolent” is a political choice and these unfortunate word choices reveal a spiritual political opinion that I just do not agree with. Using the label says more about your beliefs then any absolute truth. By my own standards, I am far from malevolent. Maybe a little trickster-ish at times, but malevolent? No. My teachers were mostly healers and aligned very closely to “light” forces. They openly taught methods of lowering the veil too. We will go over the reasons why further in the blog.
Malevolent magicians lack discipline and focus
Again, malevolent is a word that displays a political choice in worldview. Who is malevolent? In most cases, it is people you do not agree with in worldview.
Sounds too much like opening the hellmouth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me
Can I use this example to my students as a reductio ad absurdum argument? Does shredding the veil in practice look like a hellmouth situation? No, it does not. Nor does completely shredding the veil seem fully possible. Is the veil “shredded”? No, but it is weaker. Shredding the veil entirely for a temporary and very localized area is a Sidhe and is worth it, but really the spiritual alchemy that occurs on the journey is far more important.
From my experience, let me counter these political points with actual experience.
- The magicians I know that use techniques to weaken “The Veil” are some of the most focused, talented and disciplined magicians I know. Yes, they tend to be sorcerers who lean towards chaos magic in a serious way and definitely like to transcend certain boundaries as limitations. Many of these people share a deep love of spirits. Real love, not just acquiescence and obedience.
- There are quite a number of strong magicians who may not agree with me or John that someone has labeled as malevolent, that are quite disciplined and powerful even if I, or someone else, finds their techniques repulsive. Once you leave the “internet” aside, rest assured, these people exist.
Weakening the veil is possible and requires less magical skill than most people think. The so called power of “The Veil” is entirely localized with different areas having barriers of different strengths. Interested in a “low veil” area? New Orleans has a weak veil. The single most important skill is patience and tenacity.
Prison by a Different Name
Again, John states “Boundaries are an important feature of life, both spiritually and materially. His metaphor uses the arbitrary difference between states as the example. Interesting, a “state boundary” is entirely a human constraint. Ultimately, that barrier is a symbol of “state identity”. The land does not care. We care.
A prison has boundaries. We call them walls. People have been talking about walls a lot lately in the media. What is the difference between a wall and a boundary? To me a boundary is something that is present and can make sense to distinguish two or more things. It marks a useful separation.
A wall or fence is a boundary that one or more parties decided to empower with force and in some cases violence. In the case of a prison, we can classify this as a type of state-sanctioned violence. Who goes to prison? Well, often times that is political as well.
“The Veil” has become something more like a prison. It is unclear whether or not we were the prisoners or prison guards to many magicians. I think the answer is both. For many of the magicians working on the veil issue, we listen to the stories from our family from other countries or the tales of ancestors at the altar and realize something has changed in the last 100 years. What changed the most, was people and how we have transformed our relationship to the environment.
Do we Live in Fear or Joy of the Spirit World
Various religions do not agree whether or not we should be in fear or joy of the spirit world, but the dominant Western religions (Christianity and Material Scientism) both are extremely spirit averse.
I live in joy with the spirit world. Even the “bad things” in the spiritual world bring me some joy. I forget that sometimes, but generally I want spirits around. I value their counsel and value the lessons. I was so attracted to Vodou and Fae magic (not necessarily book-based Fae magic), because the spirits are immediate, intimate, and present. If spirits are immediate, intimate, present and potentially alien, they also can be quite frightening.
The forces of nature were quite frightening. Notice that for most of our history, our gods and spirits are tied to the forces of nature. Shamans were actually feared. For most of humanity’s history, those that interacted with the natural world did so from a fear and need. We had those who would reach out to the spirit world and try to make things better for the tribe or city.
Then science and technology happened along with a set of cultural values and a mindset of industrial imperialism. A very different view was injected into the minds of people across the world and it was empowered by various forms of force (economic, imperialistic, educational, etc). Generally speaking, we were forced to lose our need to communicate and all that was left was fear or disdain.
What is the Veil and How Does it Change
First, I am not a Celtic reconstructionist, or a strict polytheist, or even a theocrat. I am a results-oriented practical magician and shaman that often does good work in the astral realms to affect physical spaces. Everything I will say here is from practical experience and somewhat verified by other practical magicians. I can only speak to my observations.
First “the veil” as a monolithic idea is almost certainly wrong. The veil is much more mist-like or fog-like to me and there is a continuum of reality from a weak to relative strong “veil”. From area to area the strength of the veil can and does change and it changes depending on the time of the year. The strength of the veil can even be vastly different in a forest within a city, a temple, dwellings, and places of business. It depends on who and what goes on in those areas. Magical temple areas tend have much weaker veils, some Christian churches tend to have much higher veils.
Places of high artistic activity and creativity tend to have a weakened veil which in part reveals some hints about the veil, spiritual world and creativity. If you know how to work it, places associated with the spooky and unknown such as forests at night, graveyards, etc, tend to have a weakened veil. Graveyards are interesting, since people are very conflicted about whether it is a place of paranormal activity or not. If you know how to wake up the spirits, it can be a truly peaceful place or a happening one. At night, the veil tends to be lower across the board.
The veil itself tends to be reactive to the people around it. Magical work can directly affect it in a localized way, and depending on who is doing the magic and what is being done, I have seen the veil around a temple strengthen or weaken. Political magic or magic against “corporations” seems to get a response where it tends to strengthen, personal magic tends to weaken it.
The topology of the land and especially rivers and water has an impact on the strength of the veil (water seemingly weakening it). Social unrest which tends to disrupt the normal social flow, tends to actually break down the veil as well.
From a purely practical point of view, the veil is a metaphor not just for spirits, but the ability to work magic in the world. It partially reacts to the collective unconscious of the people who are around it and partially is changed by it. In a way, the notion that it is somehow a separate concept from people just does not hold water. It is and it is not inside our deeper minds as well as the external reality. Like many things in spiritual world, boundaries sound good on paper but are difficult in practice since spiritual work itself tends to resist binary either or language.
Have we Done a Good Job Alone?
When thinking about the techniques I have outlined, have we done a good job alone? My spirituality has provided hope in dark times and has tangibly transformed my life. Why would I want to to have a wall that prevents other people who are equally in need from accessing that? The bad has in some cases been far outweighed by the good. Now we need wisdom, love and insight- and not just to make the crops grow.
As a species, we literally have the power to transform the weather, planet and do unbelievable damage. Have we done a good job on planet earth? From the spirit’s point of view, the changes we have made to the planet probably are similar to a blink of the eye in timescale. I don’t think they actually knew what to do or what was going on? What if the veil being lowered is not just a result of the people, but the spiritual world applying pressure to the veil itself to hook into individuals? From the desire of the people themselves to find something deeper than what the modern world holds for us? Perhaps the tears of both worlds wash that wall down. It’s still a boundary, and still takes a lot to cross fully over, but perhaps the moments of fully crossing over from the spiritual world are the spirit’s way of reinforcing the idea we are not alone. A means to re-negotiate our collective relationship in the face of our new found power, so we don’t blow them up too. The world has gotten a lot starker but we have been on this trajectory for a long while. I think most people, in our hearts, even regardless of who they voted for feel like there is something existentially wrong with modern society that is difficult to express in words. The yearning is there and in a joy based spiritual world, perhaps it is on both sides. Perhaps, magicians working to shred the prison aspects of the veil are merely a type of antibody to a system that neither most people (at a deep level), nor most spirits want.
Techniques of Weakening the Veil
If you have some inclination that perhaps this different vision for the veil sounds or feels right, I can give you some techniques to weaken the veil in a localized manner. The rabbit hole is deep and the learning curve is steep. While I do not cover this in my shapeshifting course, most of the prerequisites for doing this sort of work are covered in the course. You have to be very good at meditation, astral work, and energy work while being patient. 3-4 workings may have little effect. 10-15 will likely provide some effects such as more art being expressed or more spirits popping in around you. When I got to about 15 in an area, I saw artists gathering more toward the area I was working in. Poetry slams, coffee meetups, real inspiration. That fact was replicated a couple times and is enough for me alone to continue the work (although I have gotten better results than that as well). I have not seen the number high enough to “shred the veil” in the “let’s make spirits walk into this world like a hellmouth.” It takes effort to manifest spirits in that manner and the results are always temporary. The best way to do this is to have a partner who has some psychic ability to observe the results.
My simplest way to do this is to find an astral place of relatively high magical energy. You have to be able to go to the astral and find such a place. Some forests or other places have natural tendencies to be like this. When you are doing this work, split your consciousness partially in the astral area, and partially in the physical world. Hold both places in mind as you sit in meditation, allowing your body to vibe ( but use all five senses) acting as if you are a bell (but a bell that can ring in five senses). Allow the physical body to vibrate with the 5 senses and allow your mind to fully engage at the same time.
Once you get the technique down, you may perceive that there is something or somewhere (depending on your metaphor) that seems to resist that bell ringing or is a strong dampener. If you can focus on that third area, time or place on the process that seems to dampen the astral area of high energy, this is very likely a clue to the veil. Vibrating that high energy strongly across the five senses until these “dampener” areas will tend to affect the veil and weaken it. Projecting a Mass of Chaos via Peter Carroll in this manner has also had a tendency to greatly weaken the veil (if you connect between the physical world and do the work in astral temple). Connecting to relative stasis energies and vibrating that in the dampener areas of perception will tend to strengthen the veil. These concepts are difficult to describe in language because they require a level of spiritual progression and practice to do this type of work. They really have to be understood in terms of personal experience and magical praxis and then verified by the observer.
The effect is cumulative, but individual workings are transitory. You will learn patience doing this type of work.
It is my hope that I have inspired you in some ways with this blog post. We are all facing an increasingly dark future it seems, and I think we need to start re-conceptualizing our boundaries in radically different ways. To paraphrase the Bhagavad-Gita, in the age of darkness, spiritual assistance will be offered to those who sincerely, and from the heart, ask in spite of the hardships in the physical world. Perhaps the weakening of the veil represents the first stages of our collective hearts asking, and yet not knowing yet what we are asking for. The people willfully trying to weaken the veil I think have a sneaky suspicion of where and what that assistance might look like despite the harshness of the world. Much Love and Peace to you all.