Closer to the veil


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The Day of the Dead (1859).jpg

Today we observe the Feast of All Saints. It is  also Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and other Hispanic populations. Many other cultures and religions also set aside days to remember and pray for loved ones who have died.

As the northern hemisphere moves toward growing darkness, the season leads us in preparation for a time of stillness and rest.  In Celtic spirituality, it is a threshold time, when the veil between the worlds feels especially thin.


“All Souls’ Day” (W.A. Bouguereau)


IMG_5195.jpgThis is a picture of the sugar maple tree we planted over 20 years ago in memory of my father-in-law, Garfield. Each fall its colors are magnificent, sometimes more orange or gold, but this year its leaves are a stunning yellow, illuminated gloriously in each morning sunrise.

Every fall my grandchildren and I collect fallen leaves from this tree, and press them into heavy encyclopedias. I tell them stories of their great-grandfather they never got to meet. For Thanksgiving dinner, we spread these leaves on our table, so “Grandpa Garfield” can be with us too. We also use Garfield and Lillian’s wedding china and include foods my husband and I had as children. So for our family, Thanksgiving is definitely a time of joining with our loved ones, on both sides of the veil :).

Even if our ancestors struggled to love in their earthly lives (as we all do), I believe their spirits are now free from human limitation. At the moment of my mother’s death 18 years ago, I remember these words, rising surprisingly from deep within me, to her: “You are free!” My mother was a loving woman, but worldly cares and burdens often kept her from experiencing the fullness of that love and she could often become bitter and angry. Now she was free to love as she had always wanted. I felt that truth deeply, and was heartened for her in the midst of my deep grieving.

Our theme for November is “The Practice of Blessing Each Moment.” Perhaps we can begin our month remembering, with gratitude, the blessing of our friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. Perhaps on this day when we are reminded the veil is thin, we can open ourselves to the gift of their lives.

I am blessed by each one of you.

In deep gratitude


Lyrics: All around us and within us
And yet it’s only at times we notice
As real as rain, and soft as stardust
We know deep down, what nobody told us

Can’t you feel it ever closer…
We breathe it in and we then we exhale
We touch both sides and now eternal
Standing closer to the veil

Now is just a, moving image
Not a ribbon, a start and end
There is a bird, a hidden singer
That calls and listens, and calls again

Can’t you feel it ever closer…

Centered down and moving outward
Sometimes almost, too sweet to bare
There are endless ways to reach home
Just keep walking and I’ll meet you there

Can’t you feel it ever closer…

There’s a blurring of the borders
And I swear that I heard voices
But every act of, simple kindness
Calls the kingdom down and all around us

Can’t you feel it ever closer…

3 thoughts on “Closer to the veil

  1. bsmiskoaolcom

    Thursday, November 1:
    As I drove to early morning prayers this morning, I passed through some beautiful passages of autumn beauty. I felt joy seeping in and that wondrous feeling of deep connection with ALL. After prayers, as I drove home through the same channels of beauty, I felt so stirred and so “close” to That-which-is-beyond-myself that I began speaking something close to the following words aloud:

    Sing to me
    O Tree
    on this magnificent morn.
    Sing your Autumn song
    with leaves that dance and glitter in the early day sun,
    speaking a language I lean in to hear.

    Like the foreign tongues of early believers
    burst forth for all to hear,
    your spirited rustle of sound, dipping in the breeze,
    touches my inner ear
    and stirs me deep within.

    And I know
    O Tree
    That you are speaking to the world
    of life and death of growth and of dropping your seed,
    and I know without a doubt
    you speak also
    to me.

    Sing to me
    O Tree

    I suspect as I hear more and more of the Spirit Voice around me, I will enter that thin space more often and to a greater degree. Today, I discovered that voice in a tree.

    1. ghlstn Post author

      Bobbi~ I love your song/hymn to the tree! “Sing to me/O Tree!” Yes… How wonder-filled that your heart is so open to Spirit’s Voice and so moved to praise. I can feel it!!
      Linda and I have been particularly drawn by the sacred presence of trees. There is something so ancient and wise, comforting and thrilling.
      Thank you for sharing today.

  2. lighthouse99

    Donna, how beautifully presented……so rich in content. I miss the sugar maple that once was mine—- in a side yard. We no longer live there, but can never forget that “golden tree”, at this time of year.It actually came across; as illuminated to all who walked nearby. Our children, too, placed the leaves between pieces of wax paper to save the beauty of this season. I loved the way your family places those leaves on the Thanksgiving Table. Gracious and loving!!thanks for taking me back to the Bernard Drive, side yard, in Autumn.
    Blessings of November


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