‘Dance of the Seven Veils’

Oil on Canvas 24″ X 20″

 Out walking, entranced and blissful through a brand new world of winter wonder
I came upon this graceful young Hemlock on the edge of the forest.
With her elegant drapery of freshly fallen snow I am instantly inspired to paint her,
and the words “Dance of the Seven Veils” appear in my mind’s eye.
Her substance hidden and her essence revealed somehow.

Returning home I do some research and find that,
in digging deeper, beneath and behind the more widely known biblical story
of Salome’s dance of seduction for the revenge upon John the Baptist,
is the older purer story of shedding the layers of ego,
of unveiling the true self hidden beneath.  
The seven veils of illusion, to be stripped away
to reveal the pure authentic essence that is at the heart of you.

Ancient mystics spoke of the Seven Veils of Mystical Experience:
Dream, Reason, Passion, Bliss, Courage, Compassion & Knowledge
based on the seven celestial bodies, themselves symbols of the soul.
The symbolism of the number seven is highly spiritual –deep inner knowing.
In Judaism and Christianity it is the number of completeness and perfection,
informed by God’s creation taking seven days.
In numerology a number seven person is said to be a lifelong seeker of spiritual truths.
It is a number that has fascinated us since the beginning of time
–7 deadly sins, 7 virtues, 7 chakras, 7 seas, wonders of the world,
colours in the rainbow, notes of the musical scale…
we have 7th heaven, lucky #7!
(by the way, feel free to count those seven veils in the painting in which-ever-way you so choose!)

What I see in the forest is her substance hidden and her essence revealed somehow…
with her pure white mantle, and her finery only glimpsed beneath.
Then as winter wanes and veils of snow melt away she will be revealed in all her finery
…graceful young beauty of a Western Hemlock dancing on the edge of the forest.


This is a Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), growing to 115 feet tall and
living up to 500 years here in the Inland Temperate Rainforest.

First Nations people used its boughs for bedding material and for its fresh scent.
Today it is valued for its high quality lumber.


~Barbara Brown, from upcoming Volume II, SYLVAN REFLECTIONS, Wanderings, Paintings & Ponderings From the Forest