Veiling in the Face of Fear
I am an Apollon’s woman. I veil for my God. Increasingly, as the years have gone by, Apollon has taken my veiling practice under His auspices. Yes, I still acquire the other spiritual benefits of a consecrated veil, but He has made it known that He considers it His sacred duty to oversee my implementation of the practice itself, and many of its benefits.
It is important to me to do the things that please Him, especially when those things are directly beneficial to my health and well-being. And it is equally important for me to follow the directives of my own heart and seeking. Please know that I have veiled publicly and privately for over a decade, well even before my first child was born, and long before Apollon was a major fixture in my life. This is not a passing fancy. This is not a call for attention. This is me living my daily life.
Please understand that I have veiled publicly and privately in the State of Texas for much of that time. Texas isn’t a place that is generally known for it’s tolerance, but you’d be surprised in some places. I find the further south you go, the more tolerant and accepting the people are. Perhaps that’s because the cultural majority in this country (the US) is actually the minority, population-wise, in South Texas. However, you’d also not be surprised by some of the more negative reactions a veiled black woman can receive in any part of the State.
But now I’m in Colorado, and you’d maybe think that such a liberal State, with its progressive stance on certain issues, would be ideal for a Polytheist such as myself, and maybe it is for other Polytheists living here, but because Lord Apollon has taken my veiling practice as a sign of my reverence, love and duty toward Him, I am not currently so privileged as to set it down. Not even now, when tensions are high and all veiled or covered women have become (or have become more so) a “threat”, or “terrorists” in the eyes of many.
You also have to understand what it’s like simply going to the grocery store sometimes. The stares. The whispers. The outright sneers. Most people who take the time to show you how outraged they are by your presence will do so passive-aggressively, so there’s not much to be done about it. But there are those rare instances, which are increasing in frequency, of veiled women no matter what their religious affiliation being physically assaulted by people wishing to inflict pain and terror,–even death– upon them.
This is a hard world to live in. These are the times that we must navigate in all our seeking and heartfelt reverence of the Old Gods. Apollon has not asked me to cease my veiling practice, and He will not. He has marked me and I am set apart from the population. The veil, in my case, is now not only a concealer but also a revealer of my path as one of His. When in our society we agree to take up this practice in honor of a God, we agree to at least try to remember courage in face of fear.
Someone asked me yesterday if, in light of the state of affairs today, would I discontinue veiling. I won’t say is hasn’t crossed my mind. I am a mother. I have dependents who need me. I have a life, and yes, it would be an easier life if I put away my veils. But what does that teach my children? What does that teach the world-at-large? That if enough ignorant people make enough ruckus, women (and men) will bow to their threats and bullying? I will not.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual whether or not their veiling practice puts them in too much danger to continue. If you feel threatened and that setting it aside for a time is the correct action for you, take that action. But also know that our Gods, including Apollon, may have asked us for this devotion because They feel we are strong enough to carry our lives, and Their presence in our lives, openly. We are the ones the future priests, priestesses and facilitators are looking toward now. We are the ones they are watching, and so are our detractors within our own communities. In time, let them not say to our children truthfully that we were too afraid to love liberty, and the Gods. Instead, let us win the battles over our own bodies, and what we choose to cover them with.