RIMG0269“And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.” – Doreen Valiente

Wicca is not alone in extolling the virtues and benefits of ritual nudity, but it is possibly the most thought of path when we envision naked spirituality. For many, stepping out of our clothing and stepping into sacred space as naked as we were born is a form of rebirthing ourselves into the sacredness of our lives over and over again. But let’s not be naive, nudity may relieve us of our clothing and still add layers to our psyche. Nudity can furnish us with challenges from body issues and self-consciousness, or gender, sexuality and identity concerns, to reliving the trauma of assault and rape. To be naked in ritual is to be vulnerable and exposed, and for some people this does not make a sacred space – in fact it may not even make a safe space. The act of letting go of our clothes, stripping away our perceived identity, dropping the roles we take on in daily life and simply being in our skin can be a powerful tool of transformation and growth; but it is only a tool. When used carefully and with compassion it can be the skilled tool of the surgeon, exposing our issues one layer at a time, stripping us down to truth and bone and blessing; when used with expectation and dogma it can be the blunt hammer upon anvil, creating change through force.

There is a time and a place for nudity, and that time and place will vary from person to person. Nudity can be very freeing for some, but for others each item of clothing shed covers us with shame and fear instead. There are no easy answers to going skyclad within group ritual, other than every individual must be honoured and respected for who they are at that point in their journey. Communication and consent is critical, and groups need to present clear information not only on whether they do or do not expect nudity within ritual, but also on why they believe in working skyclad. Are participants partially clothed or completely naked? Why is nudity necessary? What is achieved through this process? What are the benefits, potential harm, and considerations for ritual nudity? We should be asking these questions of ourselves and each other in order to create safe sacred space.

Personally I am a believer in understanding the impact of a tool or technique in both theory and practice. Thinking about why we are happy or concerned about ritual nudity can highlight our personal issues around the mystery of human form, sexuality, and physical identity. Experimenting with how we feel magically when working skyclad can reveal the energetic impact of nudity. Braving ritual nudity with others can liberate us from mental concerns and expose another side of ourselves. However, even though I do typically work skyclad in solitary and have worked skyclad with others, I do not believe that it is necessary to be naked in the literal sense. I prefer that we focus on the metaphorical rather than literal interpretation of skyclad. I would rather we dropped our masks than our clothes; that instead of just exposing our bodies we expose our souls. To be naked in our rites is to be raw, honest, truthful, vulnerable, without pretense, without the roles we assume to be; we are totally, authentically who we are in presence of the Divine within and without. We are like the sacred dance of veils, utterly exposed even when covered, revealing our true nature one veil at a time.

 

PBP2014

This post is a part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014

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Comments
  1. S.C. Tanner says:

    This composition follows your train of thought; it is clear, concise, and (yet) it addresses many aspects of the issue. I agree with all you have stated here.

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  2. […] post popped up after a conversation with a friend about this very subject. Yes. Just yes. ‘Naked Truth: Ritual Nudity‘. Read it. And then some more of her blog. Including ‘Never Not the Neophyte‘ […]

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  3. […] Wicca is not alone in extolling the virtues and benefits of ritual nudity, but it is possibly the most thought of path when we envision naked spirituality. For many, stepping out of our clothing and stepping into sacred space as naked as we were born is a form of rebirthing ourselves into the sacredness of our lives over and over again. But let’s not be naive, nudity may relieve us of our clothing and still add layers to our psyche. Nudity can furnish us with challenges from body issues and self-consciousness, or gender, sexuality and identity concerns, to reliving the trauma of assault and rape. To be naked in ritual is to be vulnerable and exposed, and for some people this does not make a sacred space – in fact it may not even make a safe space. The act of letting go of our clothes, stripping away our perceived identity, dropping the roles we take on in daily life and simply being in our skin can be a powerful tool of transformation and growth; but it is only a tool. When used carefully and with compassion it can be the skilled tool of the surgeon, exposing our issues one layer at a time, stripping us down to truth and bone and blessing; when used with expectation and dogma it can be the blunt hammer upon anvil, creating change through force. Source:  https://romanyrivers.com/2014/08/02/naked-truth-ritual-nudity/#more-493 […]

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