References to seven veils or curtains goes back to ancient times (magic spells), and to illustrate that these concepts of veils hiding truths was known in Theosophic/Masonic/Indian circles BEFORE Oscar Wilde published his play, here are a few examples I threw together around 2012 from internet searches. For the author of the Letter to Theodore to refer to these as well may tell us nothing more than that they drew from the same general theosophic world view that embodied the "spirit of that age." "New Age" type beliefs existed all through history.
A: Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic texts of ritual power
, by Marvin W. Meyer & Richard Smith (Princeton University Press, 1999):
70. Spell, with Gnostic characteristics, to protect from filthy demons
Text: London Oriental Manuscript 5987
Description- papyrus, 77 3/4 x 5 3/8 in. [unfortunately, undated]
Yoel Thiel Misiael Mioel Daithe Eleluth Ermukratos Adonai Ermusur, the invisible one within the seven veils, by him stand the seven radiant lights Sarthiel, Tharbioth and Urach and Thurach and Armuser and Eiecha, the seven inexpressible lights, the sixty golden lamps which burn in the tabernacle of the father.
You are Akramiel, Prakuel, the salvation of Israel. You are the salvation of the father. You are ..., the salvation of. . . . You are the father in whom . . . Ermukraton . . Ermusur invisible Bainchooch, O one within the seven veils.
73. Erotic spell of Cyprian of Antioch
Text: Heidelberg Kopt. 684
Description- book with sixteen pages of rag paper; the pages are 14.3 x 9 cm; pages 1-13 contain the spell of Cyprian, and the last three pages are blank; eleventh century.
According to legend, Cyprian of Antioch tried to employ magic [spells] in order to seduce a Christian virgin named Justina. As the story goes, he failed in his attempts, and so he converted to Christianity, abandoned his books of ritual power, and eventually became bishop of Antioch. Some traditions suggest that both Cyprian and Justina were martyred during the persecution of the Roman emperor Diocletian (ruled 285-305). The translation given here is of the spell of Cyprian. See also Howard M. Jackson, “A Contribution toward an Edition of the Confession of Cyprian of Antioch."
So I reproved my wrath [at not being able to seduce the Christian virgin Justina through his knowledge of magic spells], laid my anger aside, and allayed my rage with great humility. Then I got to my feet, turned my face to the west, stretched my right hand out to heaven, cleansed myself of the dirt on my feet, snorted, and directed these spells at heaven, to the tabernacle of the father within the seven veils.
B: Wikipedia article: Ramalinga Swamigal (Arutprakasa Vallalar Chidambaram Ramalingam, 5 October 1823 – 30 January 1874), a Tamil holy man. [His name, Ramalingam, FWIW, means something like "Rama's Penis" - see the description of the 7th veil]
Around 1870 he established the Sathya Gnana Sabai, [meaning] hall of True Wisdom Forum, and ensur[ed] it was entirely secular. … He said that our soul is blinded by seven veils. [At his Forum, in symbolic representation, t]here are seven cotton fabric screens, representing the seven factors that prevent a soul from realizing its true nature.
"Universal Fraternity of Universal Right of Oneness of Soulful Love and Compassion of all Living Beings Souls, as revealed and flourished by Arutperunjothi Ramalinga Vallalar," by Arul Thiru Gnanansabandram in Mettukupan [= Mettukuppam, Okkiyam Thuraipakkam, Tamil Nadu, India] 2006
http://www.ambalamyoga.org/On%20Vallala ... 20file.pdf
In Vadalur [Tamil Nadu, India], Vallalar raised Sathya gnana sabha [Hall of True Wisdom Forum], where god is seen as grace light behind seven veils of ageless ignorance, each proclaiming a philosophy. Veil after veil, slowly unveiled, God’ glows in matchless sheen. Burning bright to keep in flight the devotee’s hesitancy and hug soul spark into his clasp.
Vallalar glimpsed divinity in vortex of mind, burning with leaping flames of million suns. Arutperum Jothi Vallalar alone revealed to the world, gods dazzling abode in the midst of consciousness. A quarter golden, the rest flaming white color of flag and seven veils behind light……
• the first veil dark dark, irrevocably dark Maya Shakti
• But the gifted having it lifted see the blaze of blue in the second veil Kriya Shakti, oceaning all the wealth of skies and seas
• and reach the third all green,…Parasakthi…GREEN with creativity ,sustaining all universes,
• and flamboyant red ,the fourth veil, bellowing destruction of all the mounts of past presences on earth ….. red veil ..Ichcha Sakhti.
• And golden yellow [fifth] veil Gnana Sakthi, fluttering charms and enchainment of jubilee, deliverance, wisdom garbed.
• And the sixth milky white veil ….Aathisakthi, pristine white a blaze of furied purity
• and last [seventh] veil mixed screen color veil……. Chit Sakthi, envelopes the Throbbing soul into its fold.
H P Blatavsky, "Coming Events Foretold," The Theosophist
, Vol. III, No. 10, July, 1882, pp. 243-244
[Court Deposition by the principal disciple of Ramalingam that he foretold the establishment of the Theosophical Society:]
… During the latter part of his visible earthly career, he often expressed his bitter sorrow for this sad state of things, and repeatedly exclaimed: “You are not fit to become members of this Society of Universal Brotherhood. The real members of that Brotherhood are living far away, towards the North of India. You do not listen to me. You do not follow the principles of my teachings. You seem to be determined not to be convinced by me. Yet the time is not far off, when persons from Russia, America (these two countries were always named), and other foreign lands will come to India and preach to you this same doctrine of universal brotherhood. Then only, will you know and appreciate the grand truths that I am now vainly trying to make you accept. You will soon find that the brothers who live in the far north will work a great many wonders in India, and thus confer incalculable benefits upon this our country.” This prophecy has, in my opinion, just been literally fulfilled. The fact, that the Mahatmas in the North exist, is no new idea to us, Hindus; and the strange fact that the advent of Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott from Russia and America [respectively] was foretold several years before they came to India, is an incontrovertible proof that my Guru was in communication with those Mahatmas under whose directions the Theosophical Society was subsequently founded.
Tholuvore Velayudham Mudaliar, F.T.S.
“The official position of Vellayu Pandit as one of the Pandits of the Presidency College-is an ample guarantee of his respectability and trustworthiness.”
G. Muttuswamy Chetty, Judge of the Small Cause Court, Madras,
Vice-President of the Madras Theosophical Socy.
http://www.scribd.com/Athanor/d/3598070 ... 3#download
… This is one of those cases of previous foretelling of a coming event, which is least of all open to suspicion of bad faith. The honourable character of the witness, the wide publicity of his Guru’s announcements, and the impossibility that he could have got from public rumour, or the journals of the day, any intimation that the Theosophical Society would be formed and would operate in India — all these conspire to support the inference that Ramalingam Yogi was verily in the counsels of those who ordered us to found the Society.
C: "The Kabalah And The Kabalists" by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Lucifer
, May, 1892:
http://www.blavatsky.org/blavatsky/arts ... alists.htm
Kabalah, as a word, is derived from the root Kbl (Kebel) "to hand over," or "to receive" orally. It is erroneous to say, as Kenneth Mackenzie does in his Royal Masonic Cyclopædia, that "the doctrine of the Kabalah refers to the system handed down by oral transmission, and is nearly allied to tradition"; for in this sentence the first proposition only is true, while the second is not. It is not allied to "tradition" but to the seven veils or the seven truths, orally revealed at Initiation. Of these methods, pertaining to the universal pictorial languages--meaning by "pictorial" any cipher, number, symbol, or other glyph that can be represented, whether objectively or subjectively (mentally)--three only exist at present in the Jewish system. Thus, if Kabalah as a word is Hebrew, the system itself is no more Jewish than is sunlight; it is universal.
D: Oscar Wilde's play Salome
was published in 1891.