Recently I attended two Victorian-era-inspired holiday events at which the famous letters from eight-year-old Virginia Oâ€™Hanlon and the response from Francis Pharcellus Church were read aloud. I had not heard these letters in many years and had forgotten how happy they make my heart.
The older I get, it seems, the more willing I am to believe in a beneficent and wondrous world filled beauty, kindness, and happy surprises. I was, in my youth, â€śaffected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.â€ť I clung to the certainty and security that various forms of fundamentalism gave me.
But now I realize, along with Mr. Church, that there is far more to this life than what we can see or what my â€ślittle mindâ€ť can comprehend. Mr. Church says â€śIn this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.â€ť
The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
Donâ€™t his words remind you very much of magic? The veil he speaks of reminds me of the veil in the High Priestess card, separating the world of our physical senses from the unseen and mysterious world of our souls. Those of us who journey the path of tarot know this veil very well. Sometimes it is thick and heavy and we cannot lift it. Those are sad times, indeed, and we feel cut off from our spirit. But at the best of times, the veil is merely a thin gauze, just tangible enough to remind us that we are moving between worlds, and to appreciate that experience as the wonder it is.
The image of Santa he creates here, as a metaphor of â€ślove and generosity and devotion,â€ť is the power, the magic that helps us lift that veil and connect to the magical world beyond the physical.
At times when your veil is heavy and your faith is thin, try to reverse the situation by dwelling on the happy words of the very perceptive Mr. Church, â€śNot believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!â€ť
To read both letters in their entirety, click here.