Aren’t we always talking through the veil, even to each other?
We have such romantic ways of talking about spiritual communication, don’t we? Psychic readers supposedly “see through the veil,” and depending on what kind of sentient you’re supposed to be, you might hear, see, smell, feel, know things “through the veil.”
But that’s…as opposed to what, exactly?
We don’t even understand the nature of our own consciousness in the here and now! That is TRUE. I don’t know if I even am conscious and neither do you and neither does science and if we are conscious, guess what, neither I nor you nor science can explain why or even what that fucking means. That is TRUE. It’s SO TRUE that I can think of very few things to say to you that are truer than that.
So if I say so much as one word to another person, one single word, I have to consider the context. How is this communication from me falling into this person’s consciousness, where is it falling in their consciousness, assuming they are conscious or that I am? Will this person know what I mean? Will I be understood? If I am, to what extent will I be understood? It won’t be 100 percent. Because this person’s history with that one word might be different from my history. And even if we are both awake, sort of, there is no being sure that one or both of us is truly present and that our brains have not gone out to lunch.
Not to mention how complicated communication can become if we haven’t both spoken the same language since birth.
And I don’t even just mean official languages necessarily, but also the language of subcultures. I can say to my teenage daughter that I’m “fly as bees,” that I’m “lit,” that I’m “dope,” but she tells me something along the lines of, “please don’t ever use those words again; they don’t mean what you think they do!”
Here’s another example: back in the late 80s, a “radical feminist” was a type of feminist. But I’m told that for some years now, a “radical feminist” has often meant specifically an anti-trans feminist. Well–that could cause some confusion! (I don’t know how you can be an anti-trans feminist–how is that even possible?–but that’s another topic for another day.)
Another obvious example is that there’s lots of jargon in the business world, so much of it. Every specialized area has its own jargon and it doesn’t always make sense grammatically in English.
Symbols count as language too. As a tarot reader, I of course think about symbols a lot. So here’s another example: I don’t even know what the US flag means at this point. It used to mean you were Republican and pro-military unless it was the Fourth of July, when everyone could wave a flag and just feel patriotic. Then Republicans and far rightists stormed the Capitol, but they didn’t wave flags, or well, they did, but not the American one. So now if I wave a flag would that mean I’m pro-democracy and pro-elections? Or what? I simply don’t know so I’m not waving any flags at anyone. Except a rainbow flag of inclusivity and diversity, I think that’s still safe.
This is not a rant about political correctness. Don’t misunderstand me. That’s not my point at all.
But you see how I could be misunderstood. And maybe you have no idea what my point is.
Do you have any idea what my point is? If you don’t, it’s probably not your fault.
My point is, there are plenty of human people who I can’t understand even when they’re standing right in front of me, alive, speaking (mostly) the same language, and in the same time and place as me.
And, there are also nonhumans, alive right now, who I have difficulty understanding: dogs, cats, trees, rocks, etc.
I don’t want to speak for angels or gods or spirit guides or the ancestors, but I strongly suspect that they ALL have a hard time getting through to us. At the BEST of times. My dead husband? He could stand right here with me alive and tell me something and I guarantee you that some percentage of the time, I would have NO IDEA what he was talking about and vice versa. A possible exchange could be something like the following: Me: “Are you being sarcastic?” Him: “What do YOU think?” And don’t EVEN get me started on trying to follow his driving directions. Him: “That way” (pointing). Me: “What way?” Him: “The way I’m pointing!” Me: “You’re pointing at the windshield. Could you please use your words?” By then we would have missed the turn.
So. There is something a little bit ridiculous about expecting a tarot reader to talk to someone in any clear way “through the veil,” given that it isn’t at all easy to communicate even without the veil.
You think the veil is the problem?
OMG. The veil is so NOT the problem.
Again I say to you, I don’t care if your God or gods are talking to you through the cards, or if the multiverse is, or if it’s your angels or guides or who-the-fuck-ever. We still have a language problem. And that problem is a bit exacerbated by the fact that even with 78 cards, 156 if you count reversals separately, and endless variations of where cards can fall with regard to each other or in a spread, regardless, we still have a language problem. No two people look at the same card the same way. I don’t even think I look at the same card the same way twice.
I like the cards though, and here’s why: If I’m trying to talk to someone “through the veil,” and I draw cards, then I at least know that I didn’t hallucinate the reply. At least there is something real on the table that I can see and track and document–even if you don’t believe in tarot, the cards themselves are measurable. At least I can say, I shuffled the cards, I randomly pulled one, this is the card I pulled. It’s a pin-downable thing. As opposed to me just trying to “tune in” using my brain and saying, “Well, I *think* the universe is saying x.” You can see how the latter is susceptible to me thinking, “well, maybe that was just me projecting my own thoughts onto the universe.”
So, I like the cards, but my interpretation of them is just as open to misunderstanding as any other communication. Because when two beings try to communicate with each other, we always and everywhere run into certain inherent problems. It doesn’t matter if we are both alive and in the same room, or both alive and on a Zoom or phone call, or one of us is dead and the other alive, or one of us is dead and one is nonhuman–problems in communication exist in all those situations.
Plus, I have ADHD, so, to misquote Derrida, no matter what you say to me, whether you are alive or dead or were never either, chances are, I have always already forgotten it at least once.
Anyway, what I’m saying is, stop obsessing over the veil.
The problem is not the veil.
The problem is us, or language itself, or symbolic representation itself.
And as much as I like to pin things down, the solution is not pinning things down. They’re not pin-downable. They’re not. The solution is to get comfortable with our meanings are floating around and constantly changing and even when we can often mean more than one thing at a time. I think we have to just play with that and see the humor in it.
The laughter the jokes cause will release the pressure from your head wanting to explode from thinking about all this.