Thoughts On Ritual Nudity
Being "skyclad" or "starclad", in other words 'clad-in-the-sky', a term for ritual nudity within The Craft.
For some, the thought makes them cringe and run away, while for others, it is a sacred and liberating part of their worship of The Divine.
As a wytch who follows the ways of Nature, nudity in ritual settings and in daily life, allow me to feel more at ease and, for lack of a better word, 'natural'. Clothes can be so restricting and binding - playing hell with my body temperature. Yet when I am nude, there is none of that. Then there is the "liberating" side of nudity. For The Goddess hath said: "Thou Shalt Be Free In Thy Rites, And As A Sign That Thou Art Truly Free, Thou Shalt Be Naked In Thy Rites." There is nothing so class defining as clothing; The Rich - The Middle Class - The Poor.... all can be defined though how they dress. But when we are all nude, class defining barriers are gone and we are all as the Gods made us.... and we are one.
Ritual nudity is also a very practical part of my religious practice. With all the candles and open flames present in a ritual setting, clothes tend to make far more of a fire hazard than not. And have you ever tried to jump over the Beltane bonfire with your clothes on?! Very dangerous indeed!
Many people that I discuss this very touchy (no pun intended) topic with, tell me that they are afraid to go skyclad for several reasons. The first of all being that they are ashamed of their bodies. Well folks, if you are going to be in this particular Nature Religion, you need to work on changing that point of view really quick! For there is nothing on Earth, created by The Gods, that one should be ashamed of! Take a look around at the images of the Gods and Goddesses that we worship.... They come is all sizes and shapes! For you women out there, take a good look at The Venus of Willendorf - She is a perfect example of this! She is one Voluptuous, BBW (that's a "Big Beautiful Woman" for those of you that don't know), and She was, and still is, venerated and worshiped as The Ideal Woman!
And you men out there, take a long look at Bacchus of Aranjuez!
And also take into consideration the Greek God of The Forge and Blacksmithing: Hephaestus, Who was said to be "ugly and deformed" and look who he ended up with: The Beautiful Goddess of Love Herself: Aphrodite!
Now the next reason that I hear most often for not wanting to go skyclad to rituals, is one only given by men. And that is that most men are terrified that there are certain things that might come up during ritual that could prove difficult to cover up; and to that I say this: I have been practicing ritual nudity alongside male celebrants for about 28 years now and I have never witnessed this issue once in ritual. There is a reason for this, and that is, that when you are nude, and in a room with other nudes - the novelty of it is gone! It looses all sense of taboo! I have experienced this first hand in my very first skyclad circle that I ever attended. I was the only one full dressed while the rest of the entire group was skyclad. Let me tell you friend, I never felt so out of place in my whole life as at that precise moment! And it was wholly due to me being the only clothed person in the room! Once I realized this and removed my clothes, then I was one of the tribe. I was no longer singled out, and the feeling that 'everyone is looking at me' quickly vanished and I was able to carry on with worshipping The Gods and focusing on the ritual. But you know what... even if a man did get aroused in Circle, I really do not believe that any wytches worth their salt would honestly care. This is because the nude body in all its states of being is *sacred*. Our bodies are temples that house The Divine Spark that is given to all of us by our Heavenly Mother and Father, and they are perfection. No matter how they are shaped. No matter if one of them has a flagpole erected in the front garden! They are perfectly designed, just the way they are.
A small word of advice here:
Have you ever heard of that saying "If you don't believe in (or love) yourself, no one else will either"? Well to a degree, that is true folks. So go into the Circle filled with confidence and love of your body-temple, and others will respond in kind. Be comfortable in your own skin and you will find that others will be comfortable around you too!
So please, trust in yourself, your fellow celebrants or coveners, and give ritual nudity a try!
I just finished watching a wonderful episode of National Geographic's 'Taboo' (2nd season), about Pagans, Wiccans - even Christians! and ritual nudity. An Australian coven spoke on how witches view ritual nudity and they even allowed the cameras to view a skyclad Full Moon ceremony.
Then it moved on to talk about sects of Christians who also believe in nudity within the church! Catholics who get together for every worship service nude!
I was just so thrilled to see this! Finally! Christians are getting the idea!
They (the Christians), spoke of how the nude body is not a thing to be ashamed of - and that to be ashamed of the naked body is to be ashamed of GOD, for we are made in the image of our Maker. Honestly... how groovy is that?!
As a devout nudist myself, I find shows like this such a blessing... they really help to educate those who misunderstand the stance on ritual/religious nudity and the sacredness of the human body!
If you have the chance to watch this episode or to buy the Taboo series, I highly recommend it!
Well my friends, I hope this helps those of you out there who have, up till now, been uncertain of what to think about ritual nudity or even how to begin to handle the whole concept of it! Remember that for millennia, our ancestors worshipped in the nude with no fear or hang-ups. It is only in the past 2000+ years that all the stigma surrounding the nude body has come into being.
This is a call for you to fully reclaim your body - and to be able to worship The Divine Creators in the manner in which you first came into this world: Nude.
Here's Wishing You Fresh Breezes!
Rev. Raven E. Aurlineus
Copyright Raven E. Aurlineus 2008
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