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Aphrodite’s Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

Reviewed by Jolene Dawe

[Snip] Women veiling. Pagan women veiling, in ancient Greece. Before monotheism became the big thing that it would later become. How wonderful! How delightful! No, I don’t need historical precedence to legitimize my veiling practice – it is something that my god asks me to do, and that is what living traditions are about. But, how exciting, to look into the past and see what our spiritual ancestors were doing, and why. Why were they veiling? What was the religious significance? What might we have in common?

This book was invaluable to me when it comes to providing alternative terms to use, for veiling styles. A trouble we have in the Pagan veiling community is a lack of non-other-religious terms to use for how we tie fabric upon our heads. Hijab, for example, as a practice has more to it than simply fabric placed upon the head, and it’s a concept that males within the faith often aspire to as well. While tichel (Yiddish for ‘kerchief’) may be less specific than Hijab (the corresponding concept within Judaism would be tznuit), ‘tichel’ as a term does have a strong association with a particular way of veiling within Judaism. For the record, the veiling style I favor is one modeled after tichel wrapping, and so I often will say, I wear my veils tichel-style.

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