7 Veils: Mystical Secrets of a Feminine Path to Enlightenment
Do you wish to be spellbound? Then contemplate the Seven Veils. Mystical secrets hide within them. You are enveloped in ethereal layers of protection and insight. Which one wraps around you now? Once you unveil, wisdom enters. It comes in enigmatic ways. This inspirational memoir, including engaging tales from other women, reveals how the ancient art of belly dancing evokes feminine transformation. This metaphoric unveiling opens your hidden gifts. Each portal of insight brings you toward enlightenment. Please enter...you are invited.
7 VEILS uncovers:
• the sacred secret found in denial
• sensation as a guide
• how to see yourself "unveiled"
• the mysterious gift hidden in love
• promise as spiritual alignment
• integration to enable healing
• stillness as a path to bliss
"This is a wonderful book. It is beautifully woven with vivid stories, genuine reflection and compelling insight. It is grounded and lofty-- a veritable treasure of wisdom. I recommend it wholeheartedly."— James O'Dea is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and award winning author. www.jamesodea.com
" 7 Veils: Mystical Secrets of a Feminine Path to Enlightenment" is Meredith Zelman Narissi's beautiful offering for women seeking self-realization and personal transcendence through the full expression of the Feminine." — Abigail Brenner, M.D., author of Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life and SHIFT: How to Deal When Life Changes
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
THE RED VEIL
The First Veil: The Red Veil of Denial
I was in denial. Before I became the swan, before I truly understood the secrets of a feminine path to enlightenment, I was in a state of illusion. I was pretending for a long time, entwined in red gossamer fabric.
The Red Veil
The veil of denial is velvety red, blood red. It trails behind you with a train so long, you're not sure where it ends, or where it begins. Its color is flame streaked, sanguine, and sometimes stoplight red. In a legacy of bloodlines, it wraps around you tightly several times. A gossamer elegance drapes the shape of your body in a snake's embrace. This snake is a healing snake, not a sinful snake. It is one of fear and courage, both asleep and awake. The over-layered binding of this veil feels rooted and secure, but you also feel stuck.
This veil holds potent survival knowledge. Like a seed buried deep within red earthen ground, it stretches out its roots for nutrients and forthcoming sunlight; something stirs, something is moving. A vague yearning rouses. Desire achingly calls your hands to unravel this tight veil. Under yards and yards of vermilion, there are miles and miles of time and ancient ancestry striving to push you toward the light. You wish to unveil.
My Story in the Red Veil
The dance came, like a gift. I wasn't seeking it. The place where I lived, with my husband and two children, had a clubhouse where special events were held. The sign on the activity room door said "Belly Dancing." Twenty people had to sign up before the two teachers would come to instruct a class. I love to dance and did not have a car at the time, so this seemed perfect. A dance studio had come to me. I recruited friends and neighbors, and we finally had a class. Sadly, I do not recall my first teachers' names. In the light of the amazing master teachers to follow, they remain a dim, yet sweet memory. What stays with me most is their enthusiastic belief in my abilities.
There was to be a big contest for the best belly dancer, and all the dance schools were eager to enter their finest students. As a beginner, I had not considered myself eligible. Amazingly, my instructor's offered to send a different teacher to my house each week, free of charge, to prepare me for the contest! It was the classic example of opportunity knocking on the door. So, I said, "Yes." A life changing "Yes!" I opened the door ... or was it a Veil?
Famous George Abdo would be singing along with his talented band, and the judges were all well-known dancers. Excited and nervous, I practiced ardently. I even invested in a handmade costume. The woman who made the costume also offered me a lesson. I gladly accepted. It seemed that support was coming from everywhere. My children and neighbors became accustomed to the sweet strains of Middle Eastern music and the offbeat clattering of my zills — finger symbols, which I could not master in the few weeks of preparation.
On the day of the contest, my husband, always encouraging my creativity, reserved a table of supportive friends for my on-stage debut. Although I was appreciative, I soon felt captive in an ordeal involving some rite of passage! As I watched each enchanted, shimmering, vision dancing before me, I was certain each one was a lot better than me! After all, I had only taken about sixteen classes and a few private sessions.
Surprisingly, when my turn came, performance jitters melted in the spotlight. I knew this dance! Could it be from a previous lifetime, my Greek and Semitic roots, some deep archetypical Goddess living in my psyche? Perhaps it reflected my longing to share my elemental being. When I danced on stage that night, it felt like being home. I was remembering ancient haunting music. I was remembering the dance. It felt like the dance and I were One.
My photo went into the newspaper and I could not believe I had actually won! One of the judges, Vena, offered to give me private lessons. I said "Yes" again. The dance found me, and yet it seemed somehow that I had been seeking it.
Juxtaposed with challenges in my marriage, where rose colored glasses finally fell to the floor and shattered, the dance became my saving grace — literally. When my lovability was in question, I could be adored on stage. When my sexuality was not enough, I was superlatively seductive. When my self-esteem could not hold all I needed, my alterego expanded. This dance can heal.
These were my early understandings of the dance. We would continue to evolve together. At this time, I was exceedingly unhappy and unaware. I thought I could outsmart the unprincipled choices offered. It seemed that I could ignore the felt-sense that something wasn't quite right. I needed to see more clearly. I was in denial, as in Queen of De-Nile. Those rose colored glasses were quite polished and protective. But, I had my dancing. That's where I was the Queen, DeNile or not. It felt good for the time being. So I clung to it as an identity. I clung to it for the survival of my psyche.
Veil of Denial
The red veil flaunts a denial that you need to recognize. Denial occurs when you choose to be unaware. You choose, consciously or unconsciously, or else you could not "deny." It appears to be a favorite defense mechanism. You want to avoid pain and suffering. There may be trauma you don't wish to recall, or some experience that could cause you regret. Denial lives in a world of illusion. You dabble in denial. Take death for instance. You most likely think about it happening to someone else — not you! There is an interesting Buddhist chant that says "I will get old, I will get sick, and I will die." That's not exactly in alignment with current trends of positive thinking, but it sure is a denial buster! In inimitable Buddhist style, it can remind you of impermanence, thus bringing you back to enjoy the life you now have. As you discover and embrace being with your denial and resistance, yearning invariably awakens. This yearning shows what can be possible.
Once upon a time there was a timid little girl who was also brave. She liked to play street games and be the leader, yet at school she was shy and sensitive. Did you know her? Were you like her? She was smart and insightful but careful. It made her afraid to make mistakes. Her favorite fairy tale was "The Ugly Duckling."
She was in the slow reading group and not one of the popular kids. She didn't know she was smart or pretty, yet she liked to pretend she was. She held a great love of family, friends, and life. Her turbulent journey took her through trials and tribulations, as it does for all of us.
She often saw great birds flying overhead and wondered about their magnificence. They seemed to be calling her. Their call held a profound mysterious longing. Her thoughts went back and forth. She assumed that the swans had nothing to do with her. And then, she would think, in some way, she was just like them. What was she missing?
Her head turned when they came by, her ears listened, and her eyes scanned their beauty. She loved to watch them fly through the crimson veiled sunset along the horizon. She came to know them in this way. By and by, many discoveries came to her, yet in her distraction, she lost touch with the swans. She found love, enjoyed learning, earned accolades, raised a family, and created her legacy. Along the way, she learned to love herself. That meant forgiving herself. It was one of the sweetest, wisest, and hardest lessons to learn, like learning to fly. She noticed that she was beginning to change. She was beginning to see beyond illusive coverings. She remembered the swans.
Mystical secrets were always waiting in the background for her swan likeness to emerge, and so it happened. This swan was not the great bird of Swan Lake, it was instead a rare, strange bird of exotic elegance. Her transformation flew to her, carrying secrets. She learned because she was used to transcending. She transcended through the art of belly dance. She transcended through the veils. And so it was.
The first veil is repressed expression calling. You sense something thwarting your creativity. Like the little girl, you are not sure where you belong. If you see past resistance, you find the seed of something you long to know.
You watch a belly dancer. You think, I can't dance, don't ask me. Then you think, But this dance does look alluring, maybe I can do it. Dormant longings revive a great craving. I have this Belly Dance somewhere within me. Desire for the deep feminine flame has just been lit.
What is behind this veil of denial? You can ask yourself to pause here and see the red veil more clearly. Why do you want to avoid seeing through it? Does it offer protection for awhile? Peek under and around your veil. What do you see? What is it that you want? What is it that you deny yourself?
After a time, curiosity arises. You want to explore deep feminine knowing. Desire can move avoidance. Or does the veil remain stoic and steadfast in its place? Be patient. Remember a time in your life when you faced denial. Was there ultimately a heartfelt gift that emerged? Was it something you aspired to that actually came true?
Become entranced by this veiled desire. It is your desire for the expression you have repressed. You can explore ways for it to be revealed. You may want to practice an embellished visualization rich in possibilities. This is a kind of prayer. See yourself being the dancer. See yourself actualizing the dream. Look beyond. You are the seed of the blossom. You are the beauty behind the veil. From somewhere, you remember this dance.
There is a hazy ambiguity about belly dance that one unravels only after many years of practice. It is similar to a nagging afterthought, like something you forgot. Maybe it's a vague dream upon awakening that hovers at the edge of consciousness. Or it is like a taste on the tip of your tongue, a sweet honey remembrance, as you try to recall a recipe. This evocative jogging of your memory makes you want the recipe, the taste, and the whole dream with meaning and analysis. Be curious. What is so ephemeral and distant?
Then, out of the body-knowing comes a familiar reverie. Sensual and ancestral awareness awakens. You talk about it in quotation marks, yet it strikes a primal chord of truth. It is the feminine face of God: the Shekhinah, Astra, Isis, Pele, Mary, and all the mother, birthing, creatrix symbols. Not in just a metaphoric way, but in the way of Goddess worship. Not in polite afterthoughts to appease a forgotten power, but in the way of reverence. It has a long legacy like the train of the red veil trailing behind you. You have missed something long denied. Perhaps the veil of denial hides your desire for Divine connection. Do you deny God?
The Legacy of Divinity
As quoted from Goddesses in Everywoman, chapter 1, Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author and Jungian psychiatrist, notes that there is an unspoken history. Harper Collins Publishing:
(Dating back over 5000 to perhaps 25,000 years)
Old Europe was a matrifocal, sedentary, peaceful, art-loving, earth and sea bound culture that worshipped the Great Goddess. Evidence gleaned from burial sites show that Old Europe was an unstratified, egalitarian society that was destroyed by an infiltration of semi nomadic, horse-riding, Indo-European peoples from the distant north and east. These invaders were patrifocal, mobile, warlike, ideologically sky-oriented, and indifferent to art.
The invaders viewed themselves as a superior people because of their ability to conquer the more culturally developed earlier settlers, who worshipped the Great Goddess. Known by many names- Astarte, Ishtar, Inanna, Nut, Isis, Ashtoreth, Au Set, Hathor, Nina, Nammu, and Nigal, among others- the Great Goddess was worshipped as the feminine life force deeply connected to nature and fertility, responsible both for creating life and for destroying life. The snake, the dove, the tree, and the moon were her sacred symbols.
According to historian-mythologist Robert Graves, before the coming of patriarchal religions the Great Goddess was regarded as immortal, changeless, and omnipotent.
Successive waves of invasions by the indo-Europeans began the dethronement of the Great Goddess. ... The goddesses were not completely suppressed, but were incorporated into the religion of the invaders."
This remembrance illustrates one of our greatest collective denials: our forgetfulness of the Goddess within. To see the attributes of Divinity as only masculine cuts women off from their Divine knowing. Most religions and wisdom traditions remind us to look within to find the Divine spark of Divinity. When you think of God as only a He, being a woman can become an obstacle to igniting this spark. It's not as if you are going to find a Michelangelo God image living in your heart. I suppose even that's possible since God comes in all forms. Yet you are now giving God limits. Beyond idolatry there is also a feminine expression of Divine love. Even innocent children know this.
At a restaurant, in celebration of my daughter Lisa Michelle's birthday, the family was gathered to enjoy artful décor, exotic paintings, the melodic resonance of Eastern music, and deliciously spiced Indian cuisine. We chose Indian food in honor of her being a yoga teacher. I mentioned to my granddaughter that the taste of Indian food is like fireworks going off in your mouth. That did not exactly persuade her to try the strange-looking fare. She did, however, enjoy looking at the beautiful images of dancing women in the paintings. Then she was waving her hands and shifting her body to the lovely music — enough to get kind smiles from the Indian people watching her. After her attention came back to her mother and the birthday celebration, she asked me the following question. "Since you are my mother's mother, who was the first mother?"
This first mother is embodied in you. This feminine love is embedded within you, and also in Middle Eastern dance — another name for belly dancing. It carries the potent power of creation. Not only in artistic expression, but also in the imitation of birth. It imitates the bringing forth of life: our life, your life. It celebrates that you are here, and also how you got here. All of us got here through the body of the Goddess. Yes, as a woman, you were once worshiped for this. Remember that now. Secretly, you still are. The red veil of denial has kept you from your holy nature. But you can feel it when you perform. You can feel it when you belly dance. You can feel it when you remove the veils.
Feminine Ways of Knowing
Did you ever notice that the word feminine contains the word in twice? It doubles the letters in. Perhaps this emulates how a woman comes to know her body and her psyche. The feminine way of mysticism goes deeply inward. It implies awareness of the interior. I remember a psychology experiment where boys put toys outside a doll house while the girls put the toys inside. Having a women's body calls you in with very evident expression. Growing breasts, menstruation, pregnant bellies, and menopause speak loudly of internal change. Moon cycles, milk cycles, and birthing, are all powerful shifts. The birth of a baby from your body is astonishing — a personal miracle! These manifestations encourage embodied introspection. A pregnant woman may think, How can this awe and metamorphosis be happening inside of me?
When the Universe borrows your body to bring forth life, you feel it passing through. You know something of this great cosmic life force in an intimate way. Belly dancing personifies this. The undulations and belly movements imitate childbirth. Belly dance celebrates and awakens the hidden consciousness of the birthing Goddess.
When a male gives the essence, the spiritual essence, a woman brings it into matter, real being. Matter, originally called mater, shares a history with the word mother. Not every woman engages in birth matter. Some engage birth as spirit. When you give birth on a spirit level, something of mothering flowers from your feminine chromosomes. It is a privilege to be feminine and know the inner workings of creation from such a view. Whenever you are creative, you are practicing spiritual birthing and piercing the red veil. Before that it may be hidden.
There is an angelic story about innate knowledge being hidden. It is an ancient folktale kept alive by oral tradition. It is the story of Lailah, the angel of conception. She brings the soul and the seed together, and is seen as an angelic midwife. She teaches the unborn child the holy scripture, and the story of its soul. When birth comes, she places her finger to the mouth of the child as if to say sh, and this causes the child to forget everything learned in the womb. That is why you have an indentation above your upper lip. It is called the philtrum.
Excerpted from "7 Veils"
Copyright © 2017 Meredith Zelman Narissi M.S., P.T.P..
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Entrance to the 7 Veils, xiii,
Chapter 1: THE RED VEIL, 1,
Chapter 2: THE ORANGE VEIL, 21,
Chapter 3: THE YELLOW VEIL, 47,
Chapter 4: THE GREEN VEIL, 74,
Chapter 5: THE BLUE VEIL, 103,
Chapter 6: THE PURPLE VEIL, 145,
Chapter 7: THE WHITE VEIL, 165,