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"The Veil Between The Worlds Is Thin"--What Does It Even Mean?

If you've been studying magic for a while, you've probably heard it a million times. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, in October - and particularly on October 31st (or Samhain) - the veil between the worlds is thin.

But what exactly is this veil? And why does it thin? And why does it matter?

As you may know, the realm of magic is something we understand through symbol, emotion, and vibration...Although it's important to remember that we never quite understand it, at least in the most literal sense. The divine, magical realm is always mysterious. By its very definition, it resides just outside our everyday consciousness and linear, reasoning mind.

This doesn't mean that we can't have a familiar, working relationship with all that is magical and mysterious, or that we can't draw upon it to create positive change. We absolutely can, and it works fabulously well. It just means that we can never quite put our finger on what exactly it is and how it works.

Of course, drawing upon magic to create positive change becomes much, much easier when we take the time on a regular basis - through things like ritual, communing with nature, and meditation - to tap into the divine/magical realm. When we do this, we remember that while we appear separate, we are in fact one with each other and with All That Is. Knowing this, we are empowered to wield our power to do things like energetically protect ourselves and manifest the conditions we desire. Additionally, things that appear like "cold, hard reality" in everyday consciousness - such as the separation of life and death, seen and unseen, known and unknown, as well as the linear and finite nature of time - are, quite obviously, revealed to be illusions.

And now we've arrived at what the veil is. It's the ethereal curtain between the everyday illusion of separation and the divine truth of eternity and oneness with all that is. When we meditate or perform ritual, or when we have a mystical experience of any variety, this curtain parts and we are able to gaze into the place of power, the place between the worlds.

And in October - particularly as we approach the end of the month - the Wheel of the Year naturally thins the veil for us so that it is easier to tap in and see the truth of interconnection, empowerment, and eternity.

Why? Because the days are getting shorter and the natural world is preparing to temporarily withdraw from the realm of life and growth. In other words, the harvest cycle is waning, but it's not gone. It's a transition, a doorway between the season of life and the season of death. We are reminded that in this realm, everything is in a state of flux. This allows us to see that beneath this realm of constant change, there is a wide open space of eternity. A place of stillness in which the appearance of change arises. A serene openness to which we will always return, and with which we are one, even at this very moment.

And that's why we love fall!

Its also why we naturally feel drawn to certain themes at this time of year, all of which correspond to the parted veil. Let's briefly examine a few of them.


There's no denying that at this time of year, whether or not you're magically inclined, death is the primary cultural symbol. Scary movies, ghosts, graveyards, zombies, and skeletons abound. And it's worth noting that for a culture that normally does its best to brush the topic of death under the rug (or to pretend that it's a freak occurrence that only happens to other people), this is rather astonishing. Also astonishing is that this time of year (which falls in May in the Southern Hemisphere) is rather consistently associated with death, across cultures and continents.

For three generations, my dad's side of the family has been in the funeral business. And I love visiting the Spanish style funeral chapel in my rural California hometown because it's always like October there: the veil between the worlds is always thin. It's a place where the transition between this realm and the other realm has been honored over and over and over again for decades. There is something about the way the sunlight shines through the windows that brings you smack into the center of eternity.

Black Cats

If you're friends with a black cat, you likely know that that consciously connecting with one can be like gazing beyond the veil of time and separation, and looking straight into the heart of magic. Why? I couldn't say.

It's (quite fittingly) a mystery.

And why do stray black cats like to make their home base the garage of my hometown funeral chapel? Besides the fact that my dad feeds them and takes care of them, that's a mystery too.

Although I'm sure it all has something to do with the fact that cats - particularly black cats - have been traditionally considered "psychopomps," or beings that assist with the transition from this realm to the next by kindly ushering souls into the spiritual realm.

Magic and Witchcraft

Finally, for magical practitioners and non-magical practitioners alike, magic and witchcraft are a favorite theme of the season. Naturally! As we've discussed, the place of power is between the worlds. It's the place where we remember that we can draw upon the unseen world to affect the seen world and vice versa. It's the place where we bravely gaze into the realm of death and transcend our fear so that we can draw upon the infinite power that is our birthright. Here, everything is illuminated with that special light that reminds us that mundane is the illusion and only magic is real.


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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, March 12

As a part of the natural world we must deal constantly with cycles of life and death. Several of today's stories in Earthy Thursday deal with these and related themes, as well as what sits just beyond our everyday human experience.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Lithuanians tell of
Giltine, the death goddess
Long nose, even longer tongue
dripping deadly venom
Clad in a white sheet
Found in cemeteries
seeking coffins’ contents
her poison’s source
She bites, strangles, suffocates 
a million ways to die
Giltine knows no obstacles
fences mean nothing
doors open themselves
She’s an unseen shadow
but you will hear her whip
cracking thrice in the air
or the clatter of her bone rattle
Feel a sudden shiver
She’s looked you in the face
and moved on…this time
Though a Patroness of healers
do not interfere with her will
tricking her is possible
but all measures are temporary
She will come for you
There is no escaping fate
Look where she stands
to know thy future
foot of the bed, recovery
head of the bed
say your prayers
your life is done.

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Winter Solstice - No Birth, No Death

With the Winter Solstice approaching, and in the cold dark months of the year, we have an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the deeper parts of our existence, those shadowy elements that seem to fade away so easily in the heat of the midday sun, those thoughts that require darkness and the teaching that it can bring.  Thoughts such as life and death, darkness and light and the cyclical nature of existence are all excellent themes to meditate on at this time of year, with a natural introspective element to this season allowing us to perhaps go further, deeper than we could or would in the warmer, more outwardly focusing half of the year.

This season, with the increasing darkness and the lack of light here in the UK brings more sharply into focus thoughts of death and dying.  It is often said in Western Paganism that the Sun God dies at Samhain and is reborn at Yule, when the days begin to lengthen and the light in our lives is increased.  However, lately my thoughts have abandoned the concept of death, as well as birth, into a more Zen-like “No Birth, No Death” frame of mind.

Having meditated on this for a couple of months now, and seeing it reflected in nature around me, as a Druid this is how I internalise the teachings.  For me, nature is the greatest teacher.  I look to no other authority other than nature. It is the core of my religion, the core of my being.  Having looked deeply into the nature of death and dying, of birth and living the concept of no death, no birth makes a lot more sense to me right now. Let me explain.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A few days ago someone posted a quote on FB, the author made a statement about "when I am no longer on this earth"...and being a p
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    On Twitter, someone replied to this post with a lovely meme that said "We are nature. We are the universe manifest as human for a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Cycle of Death into Life


Scientists motivated by a deep love and fascination for the natural world share with most Pagans a recognition of the world’s intrinsic value, but without our metaphysics. However they bring skills of observation and analysis many of us lack to deepen in their own way their love and fascination. This was a happy insight I had while researching the role of Pagan religion in the modern world.  Biologists are important teachers who can help us deepen our own understanding.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you both. If you read it I hope you like my book, Jamie. Carol, I think Pagans are unique in that we can honestly argue th
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Love this post. I agree with you that there is no reason for "religion" and "science" to be at odds, at least not if each is aware
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. DiZerega, Great post! The book sounds fascinating. Death and life are so intertwined...

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Piece of My Father's Soul

Continuing my story of my personal journey, this post is about my father’s death. Here I’m going to talk about visiting dad before my junior year of college, which happened before the events of the previous post in which I became a sworn priestess of Freya, and then go forwards to dad’s death at the end of my junior year. His funeral was on Father's Day, June 17, 1989. 

I had a problematic relationship with my father. He abused me in many ways. His death was one of three three traumatic things that happened right after my dedication to Freya, and I think she removed him from my life so that I could eventually heal. But he was still my dad, and his death affected me in more ways than getting a toxic person out of my life. He was not only the dad who touched me sexually while telling me I was too fat to ever get a man; he was also the dad who taught me to fish. He was not only the dad who hypnotized me and tortured me in ways that he had picked up from his North Korean captors during the war; he was also the dad who taught me how to communicate with the land spirits. 

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