After the photographic panels had been printed and the veil presentations conceived, Grant Hier shared a book with me titled An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J.C. Cooper. We looked up symbols such as "veil", "stone" and "tree" reading the text aloud to each other. Below are exerpts taken directly from the book.

Veil: darkness, the predawn, pre-enlightened state, either cosmic or spiritual; darkness giving way to light; hidden or esoteric knowledge; (Buddhist / Hindu) the obscuring of reality; the veil of illusion; (Maya) the fabric from which the world is woven; (Sufis) seventy thousand veils separate Allah, the One Reality, from the world of matter and sense; (Islamic) veiled knowledge and revelation; revelation is the parting of the veil.

Stone: (Shintoism) stones and rocks are sacred objects; (Alchemic) the reconciliation of all opposites, the attainment of unity; regaining the center; liberated.

Shadow: in some primitive tribes, the shadow can represent the soul of the person.

Fish, Koi, Carp: life renewed or sustained; the powers of the waters as origin or preservation of life; A single fish depicts a solitary or lonely person, Two fish are temporal and spiritual power. A pair of fish portrays the joys of union.

Tree: dynamic life as opposed to the static life of the stone. | An evergreen tree represents everlasting life, undying spirit, immortality. Rooted in the depth of the earth at the world center, and in contact with the waters; the tree grows into the world of Time. Tree and Stone together symbolize the microcosm, with the stone as the durable and everlasting, and the tree as the constantly changing and regenerating aspect.

Rainbow: to the Buddhist it represents the highest state attainable in the material world before the ‘clear light’ of Nirvana.

Light: connected with the beginning and the end.

Seed: (Hindu) symbolizes life and consciousness.

Wind: the vital breath of the universe, the power of the spirit in sustaining life and holding it together, hence the symbolic association of cords, ropes and threads.

Water: The waters are the source of all potentialities in existence; the source and grave of all things in the universe; Water is the liquid counterpart of light. Waters are also equated with the continual flux of the manifest world; with unconsciousness, forgetfulness, waters wash away and regenerate.

Symbolism and The Veil Project