Treading the Veil is a term I use when referring to spiritual journeys. It is something akin to the Shamanic journeys into the spirit realm, however, I do not consider myself a Shaman or a practitioner of Shamanism. Therefore, I do not refer to the practice as such, as I feel it would be disrespectful to those who are practitioners of the path.
In this practice (veil treading) your spirit is able to briefly leave the physical vessel and travel to the spiritual realm. This is done through altered states and shifts of consciousness that allow you to reach a higher, spiritual state of awareness.
I work with mental shifts, spirit channeling, and trancework. In this practice, it's like channeling a deity. The spirit takes over and guides you through the veil, helping you collect information, teaching, etc. The best way I can describe it is, the spirit envelops you and acts like a cloak. You are still aware and have control, to a degree, but the spirit is in the driver's seat on the veil walk. They protect you from any wandering dead, tricksters, and other dangers.
I personally feel, that's one of the reasons it's good to have spiritual allies, when working with this type of practice. Each animal has qualities that you can call upon them for, when veil walking. Mouse is quick and agile. She can get into and out of places unseen. Bear has strength on her side and most steer clear of her. Crow is clever and cunning and knows how to outwit anyone in his path. However, having a spiritual guide with you is not necessary. It is a personal preference for me and one I find helpful, as it offers an extra layer of protection.
The ones I work with are spirits that have been in my family for generations. They are handed down. Crow specifically is one that we've worked with for as long as I can remember.
You should always work with spirits that are known to you and that you have a bond with. They offer you protection and guidance on your journey, and will not trick you into doing something that will get you into trouble later.
Note: You do not have to have a companion spirit for this, but I personally prefer to do so.
Purpose of the Veil Walk:
Collection of information.
Working through emotional issues.
Connecting to guides, ancestors, etc on the spiritual plane.
Never work with or try to channel a spirit you are unfamiliar with. Just because it's an animal spirit doesn't mean it's not going to harm you or have ulterior motives.
It is never a good idea to attempt to veil walk if you are inexperienced with trancework or spirit work.
If it is your first time attempting to veil walk, it is a good idea to have someone with you who is experienced, so that they can assist you should something go wrong.
Always protect and ward before veil walking. Remember to cleanse and ward after you return. Spirit oppression, possession, and attachment are a possibility. Its always better to be safe than sorry later.
Preparation of the Self:
Mind & Spirit - Meditate and remove all negative thoughts from your mind. Focus on the task you wish to achieve when you tread the veil. Think positive thoughts and promote positive energy and vibrations. I find it is important to get yourself mentally and spiritually ready for the veil walk before you do so. Yoga can also be a wonderful way to get yourself into a proper, relaxed mindset for the journey.
Body - I like to do a cleanse before I veil tread so a few days before I will eat detox smoothies. (Kale, Spinach, Avocado, Pineapple, Banana, Flax Seed, and Agave Nectar.) I feel this better prepares my physical form for the spiritual journey that will come. I also feel that it makes my body a more suitable place for the spirit that I will be working with when I tread the veil. I also soak in a tub of hot water with sea salt and sage to cleanse my physical vessel prior to the walk.
Preparation of Space:
Before veil treading, I always feel it necessary to prepare my space for the task at hand. To do this, I will thoroughly cleanse my space. I wipe down the walls with white vinegar. I also sprinkle sea salt on the floor and allow it to absorb any negative energy. I then use a sage and cedar stick to smudge the area. I follow this up by ringing a brass bell, and saying a blessing chant. To finish my cleansing, I sweep up and toss out the salt.
This ensures that the energy and vibrations in the area are clean and positive. It also makes sure that any energy from past work is removed and the space is filled with positive energy and vibrations for the veil treading.
I also try to block out any unwanted distractions (cell phone, outside noise, light, etc.) This helps ensure that I will have no distractions when I tread the veil.
When I feel that my space has been properly prepared, and that myself and my space are prepared and ready, I will cast my protective circle. This ensures that only positive spirits and energies can enter my space, while keeping the negative out. Before I magically cast my circle, I will do so physically. To do this, I will make a circle of ground buckwheat flower seeds, crushed eggshells, powdered rattlesnake skin, and powdered sandalwood. This creates a physical barrier around the perimeter of the magical/spiritual circle and adds an extra barrier of protection.
Invocation of the Guide(s):
Once both you and your ritual space are prepared, and your circle is cast, its time to invoke your spiritual ally that will be accompanying you. I have provided a sample invocation to the spirit of Deer. Deer is a gentle spirit and one I work with regularly.
Deer, I call to you and ask you to work with me. I ask that you show me the ways of the wild creatures and teach me to understand the cycles of nature. I ask that you work with me and guide me on my path. Work with me as I tread the veil. Guide me was I walk the planes between the physical and spiritual. Accompany me into the veil, and aid me in my task(s) there, and please provide me with a safe return.
Once I have invoked the spirit, I always leave them an offering as a token of my thanks and a show of appreciation for them and their assistance.
Crossing the Threshold, Treading the Veil:
Now comes the time when we actually enter the veil. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You will need to shift your conscious into the right state to allow you to veil walk. This can be done by using drum beats, ritual rattles, chanting, singing bowls, binaural beats, or burning certain herbs. I personally use binaural beats and an herbal mix of catnip, agrimony, dragons blood, meadowsweet, and vervain. I focus on the beats and the burning herbs and allow myself to relax and mentally drift.
I know when I am ready because I can feel the spirit fully channel through me and the sensation of floating before slowly falling, and then passing through what feels like a layer of water. I then find myself on the spiritual plane, the veil.
The veil can take many forms and is not always the same as it was when last we were there. It can resemble a version of the waking world or we can find ourselves in other places entirely. How the veil appears, I have found, is often determined by the task we need to achieve.
The spiritual plane is not bound to the same laws as those of the physical. How things appear, how we interact with the world in the spirit, etc is all different from how we do so on the physical plane. How we perceive things in the veil can differ from person to person. This, however, does not make anyones individuals experience less or more valid than anothers.
When in the veil, we can encounter other spirits, beings, and creatures. Some may offer helpful insight ,while others wish to trick and misguide us. It is important to remember to stick to the task at hand. Allow your animal ally to guide you and walk you through the veil, as you move forward to achieve your task.
If it is just a trip made to acquire information, you can often see flashes of imagery that you must later use to decipher the answer to your questions. If it is a trip made in which you want to work with your ally and gain a better understanding of a matter that you feel they have information on, they will often guide you and explain things to you as you encounter them in the veil.
These trips into the veil will not always be the same, and depending on your goal and the ally with you, I have found that it can impact our presence in the veil and how things are viewed, received, etc.
Return from the Aether:
When I am ready to return, I will focus on my breathing and use that to help me travel back to a normal, waking state. To do this, I take long, deep breaths and count from 1 to 5 until I slowly regain my senses. Clenching and relaxing your muscles can help you return to your normal state, if you are not getting the results quickly enough with the breathing exercises. Your spirit guide can also help you and slowly guide you back to yourself and your normal state of being.
Once you are back to your normal state, thank your guide for working with you and re-cleanse your space. This can help deter any spiritual attachments or anything else that may have tried to follow you back during your veil walk.
Note: Keep in mind, if it is your first time attempting this, you may not get results. It is a practice that takes time to accomplish and your success in it will only come when you are ready and properly prepared for it.
Other Things to Note:
If you are a first time traveler, and would like to work with nature/woodland spirits, I recommend wolf, bear, or deer. Now again, this is from my personal experience with these spirits, and I will discuss each below.
Bear: Bear represents strength and fortitude. Bear teaches us to show no fear and to meet challenges head on. Bear fears nothing, for he is king of the forest. Bear is also a very protective and patient spirit to those under his care and is always a wonderful ally, especially to new individuals on the path.
Deer: Deer is fleet of foot and knows how to evade an enemy, and how to quickly adapt and change course in the face of obstacles. She is a spirit of innocence, cheerfulness, gentleness, fertility, and grace. Deer is a very gentle spirit that, while timid, will always guide you and show you the hidden dangers.
Wolf : Wolf teaches us to run with the pack. We all need support and the wolf is nothing without the strength of the pack behind him. Wolf sings of strength in numbers, freedom, a desire to run with the spirits of the wild, of cunningness, and the power of nature. If you run with wolf, you run with the strength of the pack and have their guidance and protection at your side.
My advice to those new to this would be to never let your guard down while traveling. Spirits, like some people, can sense and pick up on naivety and will exploit it if given the chance. An understanding of spirits, the spiritual world, and how to protect and guard ourselves from it is something I always strongly suggest when working with something like this. As I said, this isn't something that I would necessarily recommend to the very new or inexperienced. Trance work, meditation, breathing exercises, etc are also things that one needs to have an understanding of to help with transitioning the self into the proper state of mind to even attempt this.
All that said, if you already have pre-established guides or spirits that you work with, I see no reason why you couldn't veil tread with them, as opposed to the wild spirits that I work with. If it is a spirit that you trust and have a relationship with, I see no reason why you couldn't work with them in the same way.