(TW: Suicide, Miscarriage, Bullying)
The Inspiration Bug bit me early this morning! Hearth Fox get up and write your response. Hearth Fox go, write. Get up. GO!
Yesterday on Twitter, I read that over on Tiktok, the witch community are talking about Hekatean witches practicing Pagan Veiling. Some were wondering why, as it's not a very common practice. For some folks it's for ritual and theatrics. For me, well, ritual, yes. Theatrics no. I gave a small response about my reasons, but on Twitter, you can only write so much, and I hate typing on my phone, so I decided to write this post.
This post isn't directed at anyone in particular. I'm not upset or angry. Yes, I feel that I have to say this because I carry unintentional hard energy and people always assume that I'm in a bad mood. I'm not...well, except at the Inspiration Bug who got me up at 6 am to write this post. That spirit needs better timing!
Back in early 2012, I was suicidal after having a miscarriage in October 2011. One of my Spiritual Mothers, Hestia-Vesta, came to me, asking me to veil my head. She promised healing. So I grabbed the nearest winter scarf that I had and wrapped it around my head, not knowing what the hell I was doing. Only knowing that when I decided to answer Her call, Hestia-Vesta didn’t want me to wait until I brought an “official” scarf. The ones that I wore around my neck were good enough.
(Photo June 2012)
I started doing research about wrap styles and found a group on Facebook about others who had felt a call to veil their heads, called on by various deities, like Hestia, Vesta, Frigga, Hekate, and others. Others covered for psychic and mental health reasons. Others for curiosity. Some people wore various types of fabrics, some wore wigs or hats. Full or partial coverings. Full or partial time. We talked about cultural appropriation and certain styles. We covered a lot of topics. As a group, we did research on veiling history, which pre-dates the Abrahamic faiths. I was thrilled to learn that some folks of the Greek, Roman, and Norse pagan paths sometimes covered for various reasons.
We faced a lot of BS, too, especially from the pagan, witch, and feminist communities, a lot of people saying that we're hearing what we want, and that no God would want a pagan or a witch or cover their heads. They'd accuse us of cultural appropriation and talk the horrors that some Muslim women have gone through with force and twisted interpretations from their holy book. Claiming that we're supporting that abuse with our ignorance and practice. Us pushing back, about having done the research, talked to many people, about us caring about those who're forced to cover, and us supporting those who choose to cover. We were a group who chose to cover our heads, and we argued back that a piece of cloth on our heads didn't oppress people; people oppressed people. We weren't encouraging the abuse in any way. These "enlightened" people were oppressing us, some going as far as targeting individuals, threatening, and harassing them non-stop. It was exhausting.
This bullying got to a point that some people left the group, got quiet about their practices, or just stopped. The group splintered and the main group faded away. I suspect that there are still pagan veiling groups out there, from the original Covered in Light, I think it was called. I know that I left groups because of inactivity, infighting, politics, or they slowly got taken over by bossy Christians (not hating on all Christians, just the ones in that group that drove the pagans and witches out). I left groups because some turned into reasons that I wasn't veiling for. Drama.
Pagan Veiling saved my life. It gave me another reason, when I could see none, to keep living. I veiled to show devotion and gratitude to my spiritual mother, Hestia-Vesta. Pagan Veiling gave me strength and confidence that I didn't know that I had.
I know how cliché it is for a psychic to wear a veil over their heads, but I can guarantee, it's not for theatrics. For a while, I covered fulltime for 2 years. Then moved to partial cover, partial time. Nowadays, I cover during holy days, for sacred work, mirror scrying, and just when I need it--for psychic, physical, and mental health. For spiritual and practical reasons.
When I was practicing it full time, full coverage, I chose to dress modestly, and it really helped with my self love. It helped me claim my body from the world, giving me the power to choose what people get to see, and some folks—again in the Pagan community—didn’t like that, because they saw a man/patriarchy telling me what to do, telling me to cover my body. Well, I wasn’t comfortable with showing my body either. I loathed myself, I loathed society. I’m an obese woman and was told to hide, that I wasn’t as valued. But then society sends a lot of confusing messages, too. Hide, but only what we tell you to hide. You're not in control of your body, we are. That's how I felt at the time about society, right or wrong. Then some pagan women told me that I needed to uncover myself when I wasn’t ready to. They shamed me for not obeying them. That I was a “bad” or “not a real” pagan and witch. I thought part of being a witch was being empowered? I didn’t feel like the ones who shamed and bullied me were very empowered.
I still practiced, despite the hate and ignorance. It was empowering. I was learning a lot about my strength…and that fire that I had believed had gone out when my baby died. Hestia-Vesta didn't demand anything from me regarding Pagan Veiling and Modesty. That was my choice. My husband didn't force it, either. In fact, he didn't understand it, but supported me because he could see it was healing me. He didn’t want me to practice it in public because of the bullying that I faced on- and offline from ignorant people who didn't bother to learn. They had their ideas about people who covered and therefore that was all they needed. I was wrong and needed to be shamed--I mean, "educated". I'm 6'3, so I didn't get a lot of crap that many Muslim women and shorter veilers face in public. I got stares, ugly faces, and comments, but nothing to my face and not the verbal or physical assault and discrimination that others have and still experience at the hands of bigots.
I also noticed that wearing the piece of fabric over my head helped with psychic shielding. Being deep in depression and anxiety, I couldn’t shield. Veiling helped to block a lot of energy and psychic noise. Over time, it helped me relearn shielding, grounding, barriers, and all that. It helped to block and filter other energies. I was able to learn to become a healthier empath, and just an overall better psychic and witch.
The piece of fabric helped with headaches, migraines, and with my anxiety. I felt secure and more connected to my gods and spirits. Sometimes I wear my veils to stop myself from picking my scalp due to anxiety.
With clients, online or in person, sometimes I veil to block noise and energy, so I can focus better, connect better. Sometimes I don’t veil. Depends on how I’m feeling that day or in that moment.
(Photo June 2020)
It's not a show for me. No theatrics here. No problems with those who do veil for those reasons, you know, do your thing. I don't really care why others may veil. It ain’t my business. I only know my reasons. I'm certainly no expert on the subject. Hestia-Vesta promised healing that winter day in 2012, and She made good on that promise.
Pagan veiling isn’t some new trend, and I’m sure there have been times before 2012 when it had an explosion of popularity. If you’re curious or feel called, give a go. If it’s not your thing, don’t do it. You don’t have to be vocal about it or wear them in public. You can wear bandanas, hats, wigs, headbands if you’re uncomfortable with practicing in public. Experiment with different styles. There’s many videos out there about How-To-Wrap, some of my favorite tutorials are from the folks from Wrapunzel. This ain’t some new Tiktok trend or silly thing, like hexing the moon or the fae. It has historical, modern, and non-Abrahamic roots. (Also no dislike from me about the Tiktok community.)
Do like some folks are doing (like the Twitter person who posted and asked about it), instead of casting judgement on something you don’t understand, or thinking that you already know alllllllll about it, do research. Ask the people who practice or do these things that are weird to you. Don’t just assume. Do some research from various sources, but TALK to those people who practice these things. Talk to listen and learn, not just to reply. We all have our own reasons why we practice Pagan Veiling and/or Modesty: spiritual, physical, mental, psychic, theatrical, whatever.
Take care, yall.