Episode 26: Power Players of Faerie: Keeper of the Veil
The folklore of the Keeper of the Veil in a nutshell, how I reimagined it for my writing, and the translation into Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2022 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about the Keeper of the Veil here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my book Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie available in eBook, audiobook and paperback. Learn more at ronelthemythmaker.com/my-books.
We’re continuing our exploration of the power players of faerie.
Today’s faery: Keeper of the Veil
Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel
Someone in charge of keeping the living and the dead from occupying the same space, making sure everyone is where they should be, and commanding the creatures who keep souls in line has long been the topic of folklore.
The Keeper’s job is most difficult around Samhain when the Veil between worlds are at its thinnest. Some festivities at that time of year, such as Día de los Muertos, is designed to lure souls to visit their living family. Other festivities, though, are designed to keep the souls away – dressing up in costumes and keeping bonfires lit are believed to scare off wandering souls.
In some cultures, the Otherworld kept from the land of the living with the Veil, was also guarded by dogs – most famously Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades.
There is a belief in some circles that the Veil is a metaphor for the boundary between the living and the dead, so much so that some call the Veil a hedge, mist or a gate. This, along with ancient beliefs of where the Otherworld exists, confuses people. Is there a veil between the Underworld where you are expected to go down into the earth and where you stand upon it? Is there a veil to cross if you sail west and enter the land of the dead?
The Otherworld has many realms, as discussed in another post, and it is the duty of the Keeper of the Veil between worlds to keep the dead in the Otherworld and the living out of it.
In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman who takes the dead across the river Styx. But he also took a couple of living there for a fee: Hercules, Odysseus and Theseus to name a few, and they all returned from their adventure in the underworld, alive.
Which means that the Keeper of the Veil has her own agenda at which one can only guess. The Veil, though, has one job and it does it well.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: Keeper of the Veil
Mistress of the Veil. The Gatekeeper. The Ferryman. She is known by many names in many cultures.
Her job is to keep the Veil between the living and the dead intact, no matter their species.
She resents necromancers as they always chip away at her Veil, making it easier for those who shouldn’t to pass through.
Grimms work for her and act as her protectors and companions.
Though she is affiliated with death, she doesn’t obey anyone and is ruled by none (though Ankou believes she works for him).
Her job also includes making sure that humans hold up their part of the Compact by observing the rites of Samhain, Yule and other festivals.
As a little bonus, let’s look at the translation of Keeper/Mistress of the Veil into Afrikaans: Bewaarder van die Sluier (this is of my own making)
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
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