1/27/12

Veils, shrouds, & shawls

Waxing Hunger Moon (Age: 4 days)
Sign: Void of Course
Weather: unseasonably warm & cloudy
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For years now, I have felt drawn to veiling myself as part of my spiritual expression. Just last night, as I was idly searching techniques for tying a headscarf, I stumbled on to another pagan who has a similar inclination and her blog post regarding it. It was incredibly reassuring to see that I wasn't too far out into the fringes with this recurrent urge. It was also just the little nudge I needed to begin acting in accord with it.

My thought was "Hey, I'm not the only one to feel this way! Awesome!" It was as though a weight just lifted right off me as I gave myself permission to do this. Growing up in a household that was extremely focused on propriety and meeting social norms for appearances sake, I was strongly encouraged not to act upon urges that took me to places aside from what was the most mundane. Even now, I have times where I struggle with my genuine sense of style versus what was foisted upon me.

Now, one may wonder why I'm talking about the clash between personal tastes of clothing styles and what is socially accepted as 'normal'. This is something that comes up when one adapts their manner of dress to something that is not completely run of the mill. When people mark themselves as different from the others around them, there are a few different possible reactions. Confusion, discomfort, and outright scorn have met me when I have moved away from the norm in the past.

This becomes even more complicated of a matter when one begins to consider religious expression. When dealing with a religion as decentralized as Wicca, one finds that there is no 'norm' for how to do anything. As a result, we tend to 'default' to the predominant cultural norms for dress and social behavior that we engage in the secular environment. Special dress for religious purpose becomes cumbersome when one is torn between maintaining a 'normal' appearance to ease their interactions with society at large and the urgings of their spirit. This is especially the case when one's faith does not have an 'official' dress code like in Islam.

Now, that I've rambled on in that direction, let's get to where I wanted to go in the beginning. That is, in short, how the three items I listed in the title of this post are important. Veils have been used for countless millennia for, among other reasons, to protect the sacred and set it apart from the mundane. The shroud has been used as a similar covering (aside from being a garment for the dead).

Shawls can be used in the same fashion. I do that often. When I feel a pull to wrap myself in a shawl, there's a lot of different reasons. Most frequently, it's practicality. I get cold easily. But, there are times where it serves to 'contain' spiritual energy. Or it serves to protect (at times from a purely psychological point).

I had more I wanted to say but it's drifted off into the aether. Right now, my youngest child is terrorizing the house. So deep thoughts are going to have to wait for later.

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