In Taoism and other esoteric practices, it is said that the body has seven layers, or seven energetic veils, which protect it from the outer world. When you are in a crowd, for example at a festival or the mall, or cramped together on a plane or a bus, it is healthy to have boundaries, so people can’t enter your space. The Seven Veils make sure you are protected. Also, when it comes to making love, the Seven Veils play an important role.
Love and intimacy
The act of making love can be described as the most intimate experience possible between two people. Penetration brings our bodies as close as physical limits will allow. On a soul level you can experience a deep connection, especially when you are in love. According to certain shamanistic beliefs, the act of making love creates an energetic connection that lasts 4 to 7 years, whether you stay together or not. At least, when you go all the way, until the seventh veil.
The dance of the lovers
In a way, making love starts at the first eye contact. When you feel that palpable spark, it has begun. What happens next, is a dance that has different phases and might ultimately lead to the final stage: the Seventh Veil. The Ritual of the Seven Veils aims to channel this delicate process, mainly by slowing you down. When honoring the Seven Veils, you enter each phase one by one, doing so very carefully and with the utmost respect. Only when a certain level of intimacy has been fully experienced will the next veil be removed. Impatience, force or pressure play no part in this way of love making. There is no hurry, no obligation, no haste; just the soft whisper of the Seven Veils, translated in subtle feelings of desire, tenderness and lust, or possibly detachment and coolness.
There is no guarantee or promise that one phase will lead to the next. You can change your mind, if you realize halfway through that this wasn’t such a good idea after all. You listen to the wisdom of your body, which is always right.
The Ritual of the Seven Veils
The Ritual of the Seven Veils, an ancient Taoist practice, teaches you how to be fully present during love making. You can use the Ritual of the Seven Veils to initiate your relationship with a new lover, or it can elevate the love life you have with your current partner to a whole new level. If done right, this intense process can heal old wounds and change rusty patterns. Sometimes, through sheer presence during love making, you may even realize you do not want to make love with this person anymore, which can be a truly liberating insight.
Trip down memory lane
Most of us will have a few years of sexual experience before we engage in the ritual of the seven veils. Therefore, with every veil, there is the possibility of memories and strong emotions coming up. The body remembers every single thing that has ever happened to it. Your sexual past will become more visible with every veil you enter. In a way, you are starting all over again. The goal is to stay with and explore each veil just as long as it takes to fully enjoy it, thereby healing the wounds from the past. Through this process, each veil helps you to become whole again. This is a process where you return to innocence, your natural state.
A new way of making love
What the ritual of the seven veils asks of you, is patience and dedication towards your partner, as well as towards yourself. It can be embarrassing and awkward when unanticipated feelings arise, but you can work through them together. It is hard to wait or even stop, especially when you are aroused, but that is exactly the point. You need to unlearn to push or force anything, or to be taken over by excitement. What then evolves is a much subtler way of making love, that will slowly but surely increase your sensitivity. The scope of what you can experience will unfold in ways that will amaze you.
Seven moons with one lover
The original time period for the ritual of the Seven Veils is six months, or rather six moon phases of 28 days. The Seventh Veil is one day only. Traditionally you enter this final phase on the day of the seventh Full Moon. So, you start the ritual on any Full Moon and then move through the different stages, one veil at every subsequent Full Moon. This means a full commitment to this ritual for six months. It also demands a commitment to respect the boundaries of every particular phase, no matter how madly you want to cross the line.
Other possibilities and conditions
Beforehand, you can choose to shorten the process to six weeks, or even to six days. This is absolutely fine, but it will change the quality and intensity of the ritual. Most important is that you commit to something that you feel you can stick to. Even more vital is that you fully trust your partner. This is actually a condition, as without mutual trust it is not recommended to engage in this process. In addition, while exploring the Seven Veils with one person, you must not engage in sex with another person, nor in porn or masturbation, as this completely defeats the purpose of the ritual.
Prioritize the proces
Together, you should agree on a realistic time frame, such as one hour every day, or two hours every two or three days. If possible, you should come together every day. Try not to allow intervals longer than three days at any point. Prioritize this proces, make it important; more important than work or anything else – because it is! Take your time to gently explore the veil you are at, while incorporating the veils that you have entered before. For example, at the Fifth Veil you do not jump into heavy petting straight away. However, it doesn’t have to take four hours before you get there either. Just relax into the proces and trust its natural flow.
How to prepare
You may prepare for the ritual in any which way you like. It’s important you feel safe and comfortable. You can prepare the space with for example some candles, soft cushions and blankets. Lock the door, so nobody can disturb you. Turn your phones off and put on some lovely music. Carve out this special time for you and connect as best as you can.
The Seventh Veil completes the ritual
The Seventh Veil represents ejaculation inside the vagina. This veil should not be carried out in the same way as the six previous phases. It would be exhausting to ejaculate 28 days in a row. Tradition recounts that once you have reached the Seventh Veil, the ritual is complete. What you do after that is entirely up to you, but it’s good to know that the Seventh Veil is a one time experience in this particular ritual. Though in Taoism, men do not ejaculate more than once every 28 days in general, but I’ll save that for another article.
The Ritual of the Seven Veils
The First Veil: Hands and face
You will both remain fully dressed for this stage. The level of intimacy allowed for the First Veil is limited to the touching of hands, face and hair. You may kiss each other, but not on the mouth. In addition to this skin contact, eye contact is very important during this first phase. Explore each others’ face and hands with all your senses. Tell each other what you see and feel. Use your sense of smell too. Don’t forget that your voice has an enormous sensual reach. Use it in every veil, at every stage of this journey. Of course you can also cuddle, but with clothes on.
The Second Veil: Through the clothes
With the second veil, you are still fully dressed but you will expand the area of touch to the rest of the body, except you must avoid the genitals, bottom and breasts. You are still fully dressed. It is okay to kiss on the mouth, but not using tongues. You will touch each other through your clothes. Slowly but surely, you will notice a whole new world open itself for you when you explore the varied landscapes of the body this way. Keep on using your eyes, nose and voice, connect deeply with your senses. There is so much for you both to experience.
The Third Veil: Underneath the clothes
Although you are both still dressed, now you can also reach under the clothes. However, nipples and genitals are still out of bounds. Kissing can become more intense, but you are still not using any tongue. This phase is very exciting and requires a lot of self control. It is really important to not move on, not until the next phase has been reached. Use this phase to play with arousal and explore desire. Learn how they move like a tidal wave. Feel the intensity and how it can peak, observing how easily it can fade too. The goal of this phase is to let go of the pushy, impatient quality of excitement, until you discover that it can be really easy and pleasant.
The Fourth Veil: Only underwear
In this veil, you can take your clothes off, and that of your partner, except for underwear. Enjoy undressing yourself or each other, take your time. Tongue kissing is allowed now, as well as touching the nipples. Only the genitals remain a forbidden area. You might notice that tongue kissing and stimulating the nipples seem to be most attractive here, but make sure that is not the only thing you do. The Fourth Veil will make your temperature rise and your juices flow. It creates space for intense passion.
The Fifth Veil: Heavy petting
Both bodies are warmed up and in a state of arousal. Skin contact and touch are now extended to the whole body, including the vagina and penis. The only things you can NOT do is penetration and orgasm for the man. The woman can orgasm as much as she likes, but of course she doesn’t have to. At least, do not make it the goal of this veil. For the woman this veil in particular is an important phase, because she gets time and space to let her excitement rise and flow freely, while the man must make sure he does not orgasm. Women who have problems reaching orgasm, or even experiencing arousal, will find that this veil is their salvation.
The Sixth Veil: Penetration
This veil represents the ultimate dream for many people: penetration. Almost everything is allowed now, except ejaculation inside the vagina. Penetration can happen, but without the man having an orgasm. To withdraw just before ejaculation, is not an option either. Penetration without orgasm might be a totally new experience for you, so play and explore. See how it feels to be in a woman without chasing orgasm, maybe even without being aroused. What is it like to be inside her and feel your erection slowly disappear and possibly re-appear, by itself? How does it feel for you both, to make love this way? This phase offers a sensational amount of possibilities.
The Seventh Veil – Ejaculation inside the vagina
This final phase is only one day. With the seventh veil, intimacy and intensity are at a maximum. Now you can enter the last veil. While the man is inside the woman’s vagina, he can now orgasm and ejaculate. The magic of this act is that the man’s seed can become one with the woman’s egg. This union on a physical level, this mysterious ability to create new life, also represents the possibility to become one on a soul level. If fully present at this moment, you can truly touch the divine.
After you have completed the ritual of the Seven Veils, you will be in a tender and vulnerable space. You have established a connection with your lover that might be closer and deeper than you have ever experienced before. Be gentle with yourself and each other. Keep on communicating, connecting on deeper levels. Talk about how you want to continue your love life. You are free now. You may feel new and full of life. You have found a new way of making love that is more natural, more playful, more satisfying and hopefully, more you. Enjoy it, embrace it, own it, and celebrate it.
The saints never intended for us to be celibate. It was just a typo.
‘The Ritual of the Seven Veils’ is inspired by the Taoist system of self-healing, as taught by the Dragongate school in China. The transformation of sexual energy is at the very core of this spiritual practice. Sanne Burger writes about and teaches the Taoist system of self healing all over the world.