Adventures in Veiling and Heathen Nunsense

Here we go again, another exercise in redundancy in which I ramble on about the same old nonsense I’ve been yammering about for months. Huzzah!

I’m currently two weeks into veiling, and it’s going to continue because I’m in love. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s absolutely freeing. I feel so calm and chill; it’s not only a fantastic symbolic shield protecting my overwrought empathic brain, it’s also a practical release from worrying about what the fuck my hair is doing. My confidence has skyrocketed because I enjoy the physical representation of spiritual devotion and mindfulness, and because I look absurdly adorable with head coverings. There’s deep stuff going on, and also silly superficial shit, and I’m loving all of it.

The Dublin style linen viking cap has been retired for the time being in favor of a new veil that’s far more discreet and vaguely more nun-like. The other day I poofed my hair into a tiny little pompadour thing poking out from the front of the veil, and while I enjoy a little rockabilly flair when I’ve got my hair pulled back on a nekkid head, I immediately turned to Statler for confirmation that I didn’t look like an ultra-conservative Christian fundy (because that’s how my mind works). She assured me that I looked adorable and nothing at all like a quiver-full polygamist.

Can we take a minute to appreciate the irony in that?

I, the Lokian nun (which is another way of saying I’m so devoted to my faith that I’m godspoused), was worried that I’d look like an extreme religious freak with sister wives and questionable fashion sense. Really let that soak in for a minute.

Yeah, I can’t stand myself, either.

In any case, I rather enjoy the duality of wearing a conservative-ish veil over a death hawk (albeit a shaggy death hawk since I’m very much overdue for a date with some clippers). There’s something to be said about identifying as a heathen nun with a veil while my heavily-tattooed self is chain-smoking and cursing up a blue streak and whipping around in my GTI with Black Sabbath on blast. It’s just so damn satisfying. I really wasn’t anticipating just how much it would free up my mind and attention away from the mundane to better help me focus on the spiritual in my daily life and routine. I. Fucking. Love it.

Honestly, I don’t know why I’m so surprised at how much I love the concept of veiling. If my brief experiment with Catholicism in my youth had panned out into something more real, there’s zero doubt I’d have taken vows and been an actual nun. At the start of high school, I’d settled on the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, mostly because they’re one of the few modern order in which the sisters wear uniform dresses (having been an Army brat and a Catholic school student, I never really learned how to dress myself…). I’d even spoken at length about it with two of the sisters who taught at my school. I’d known as a very, very young child that I’d never want children, and while I enjoy the occasional crush, I’m really not keen on the idea of dating or cohabitation, much less marriage. Hell, as a child, when my peers were playing house and daydreaming about what their weddings would be like, I was thinking about what kind of funeral I wanted (my family is morbid, what do you want from me? No wonder my mom was stoked when I announced I was going to mortuary school).

My later teens saw me glomming onto philosophy and writing a ton of essays about spirituality and theology just for fun and wondering how I could devote my life to religious study and contemplation, even as I recognized how my Christian experiment was failing and felt myself slipping back into polytheism. Funeral service was a natural path for me to follow, when I got there, because no matter what your beliefs, there’s something profoundly spiritual in caring for the dead and helping the bereaved. Stepping away from mortuary work while my body recovers from surgeries and medical complications has been deeply devastating for me, because for a while, it felt like I’d been severed from my calling and identity. It still feels that way, but I’m just refocusing my role in the community to be more active with the living. I still wish there was enough community support for pagan and heathen monasticism, but I’m doing what I can in my own life.

As stated before, the pull towards veiling isn’t something that’s been asked of me; neither my gods nor my community suggested it. It’s something I’ve been curious about, a personal interest that stems from my long time obsession with nuns and monastic life. I’m neither modest nor conservative (as a Lokian, how could I possibly be either?!), but there’s a distinct comfort and freedom in wearing the veil. It’s a social signal about how I’ve decided to devote myself fully to my spiritual practice, it reminds me to be ever mindful of my gods (not that I need help with that) and how I represent them, it comforts my anxious mind, and I look ridiculously cute and don’t have to wonder what the fuck my hair is up to in between death hawk maintenance shaves. I mean, the horns I sprout at the sides of the ‘hawk are hilarious and awesome when I’ve gone too long between shaves, but not entirely appropriate for the workplace. I just feel better overall when I pin my veil in place and get my nun on. Oddly, it feels like a nice nod to Sigyn more than to Loki, possibly because of her mention of shielding from the venom that drips overhead, and possibly in part a sense of solidarity in with her in honoring her husband.

But hey, still had to make sure I don’t necessarily look like a sister wife. Gotta be careful with the hair poof.

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