If you ask my Witchy friends and spiritual family “what is the most annoying thing that I do? they would probably say “ He always needs to know why something is the way it is.” Although, this is one hundred percent true, it usually only pertains to spiritual topics and not so much to the mundane. I have a tendency to question everything and want to know the reasons why. I cannot accept the answers of “it just is” or “because that’s the way we do things”. I am sorry; I have to have a logical and even sometimes scientific reason for things. I am often told that I should just believe without questioning. For me the way to believe in something is that I have to fully understand it or at least have some kind of practical theory behind it.
For instance, in the case of magick, there are many scientific theories that support its existence and that is enough for me to comprehend and believe in it. However, I do come across spiritual questions that I cannot always find answers too. At least not without doing a little research first. One such question I had was “why is the veil at its thinnest only two times a year?” When I began to look for information, I had to break this down even further, so that I could locate the answers and information. So I began to ask other questions such as, “who follows this belief and how did it originate?” and “What, if any, are the scientific facts or theories surrounding these beliefs?”
Who follows this belief and how did it originate?
As Witches, Pagans, “Shamans”, etc., we are considered walkers that live in and out of the veil. We crossover during meditation, journeys, and even in our magickal circles. It is believed in most Pagan and Witchcraft traditions that during Samhain and Beltane the veil is at it’s thinnest. It is a time when the gates between our world and the underworld are open for communication and travel for the dead, and us this is especially seen as a focus during Samhain.
In many Pagan folklore and traditions we can also find that during the autumn months a God, usually associated with the Sun dies and a Goddess retreats either into the underworld or into a slumber. Then in early summer, these Deities are reborn and awakened. Obviously, it is understood that these stories may come from our ancestors who lived in a more agricultural world than our own. It is in these ideas of death and rebirth in both myth and reality that modern day Witches and Pagans base their holidays on. It’s quite interesting to note that the dates used today, especially those found in the Wheel of the year are not truly accurate to the cycles of the Sun. Take Samhain for example, from a scientific or an astronomical stance, it is the midpoint between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Where as in the Northern Hemisphere, it is when the ecliptic longitude of the Sun reaches 225 degrees. Which would mean that Samhain is not always on October 31st; for instance in 2015, the Sun was positioned at this midway point on November 7th. In the Southern hemisphere modern Witches celebrate Beltane on or around May 1st. astronomically, this would be between the spring equinox and the summer solstice or the midpoint when the ecliptic longitude of the Sun reaches 45 degrees.
But how does all this pertain to the thinning of the veil? The answer is actually quite simple and is right there in front of our faces, if we choose to see it. However, it is the explanation that is a little complex.
What we can see without a need for an explanation is that during the season of Samhain our world is cloaked in the darkness and death of the autumn season and then in the season of Beltane we are surrounded in new light and life of the spring season. It is these visual reminders of death and life that may inadvertently cause a “psychic” rift between our world and the underworld. Whereas, those of us in the northern hemisphere are consciously and subconsciously thinking of death and those in the south are thinking of life. It is during these times of the year, both Witches and Muggles alike are all thinking about the same thing, whether they know it or not. It is these contradicting thought forms that could be creating this rift.
On another level the earth itself is also contributing to this rift. While the northern hemisphere is experiencing autumn/death, the south would be experiencing spring/life or visa versa. This mass outcry in both land and humans is so strong that it transcends to the levels of the spiritual. Its like the entire world on every level is casting one huge spell.
What, if any, are the scientific facts or theories surrounding these beliefs?
To answer this question we must look into the science of physics and quantum physics. Where we can find studies that exclaim that our thoughts can change matter and/or energy on a subatomic level.
Scientists and quantum physicists call this the “observer effect”. It takes place on the subatomic level where matter and energy is the same thing, just in two viable different forms. Where matter was originally known as particles and energy as waveforms. However, through scientific experimentation, they have discovered that matter at the subatomic level is composed of energy that is in constant vibration containing a positive or negative charge. The observer effect occurs when scientists try to observe these subatomic energies. When they look upon a particle, sometimes it appears to be solid and other times it was a wave. It is as though the object is both a particle and a wave depending on what the observer was trying to achieve during the experiment. It was their expectations or thought forms during the experiment that caused a change to what was being observed. With this information, the logical questions to follow would be “How does the object know whether to appear as a particle or a wave? Is it aware of what the observer’s expectations are? Many scientists have come to speculate that some sort of consciousness must exist in all matter and energy and that everything is connected at least on the subatomic level. For those of us who are within the magickal community, this comes to no surprise. Many spiritual traditions have these similar teachings and beliefs in that everyone and everything is connected.
If we take this theory and put into our topic prospective, we can then conclude that it is our thoughts of death and life collectively creating a change in the energy that separates us from the other world. Whereas, the energy is being constantly changed by our thoughts at these times of the year. These changes are like a game of tug of war, stretching back and forth until it thins.
So in answering my original question, “Why is the veil at its thinnest only two times a year?”
It’s not, it actually spans over a longer period of time during the two seasons that surround the Pagan holidays of Beltane and Samhain. Yet during the other seasons, the thoughts of death and rebirth are less at the forefront of our minds, mainly, because they lack the visual reminders that tickle our sub-conscience to think about them. And although as Pagans and Witches we tend to focus on the dead and our ancestors at Samhain and in some traditions the fae and fairly folk at Beltane, they truly can be interchangeable as it is just a time when our thought forms create a thinning of the energy that separates our world from theirs.