Concerning Nudity

Reviewing the question of ceremonial nudity is like looking into a cats cradle of interrelated opinions, contradictions and prejudices. Fact and fantasy, uses and abuses interweave and overlap. The first justification you were giving for stripping off may have made good sense at the time; but few of us who do, or have worked 'skyclad' have not questioned our motives for doing so. In fact there are many good reasons for nudity within the Craft. Just as there are many ways of abusing the situation. Later on in this essay I will deal in depth with what I consider as the major issue in the question of nudity, that of the difference between Witch and Magician. But before we plumb the depths, let us look at the nipples, sorry Freudian slip, let us look at the ripples.

1. Witches traditionally work nude: Nonsense. Nudity formed little part of the Witch tradition until very recently. Unless of course you accept the middle aged, Christian body horror that was imposed upon the unchristian populous through the efforts of assorted artists.

2. It is usually easier to seduce thy neighbor if you have got them out of their clothing first: True. But not necessarily so, nor necessary.

3. You can feel the Earth power better without your clothes on: Marginally True. You can also feel the splinters, gnats, stinging nettles, thistles and cow pats much better. The Earth current is powerful. If you feel that cloths prevent it then this is more a matter of your perception or receptivity. Feeling all of natures stimuli on your naked body can be a beautiful form of communion. Try it, say at the Coven of Avebury at around three on a bank holiday afternoon. Be practical.

4. Wiccan Priests like looking at naked maidens: True. But it soon looses its sense of novelty in the sexual sense. All women are manifestations of the Goddess, all bodies are beautiful. Again it comes back to a question of perception. Remember that this reasoning can be applied just as well to the Priestess.

5. Overcoming body consciousness can be used as a trial, a test to see whether you have the determination to progress: True. But so can many other circumstances. To a naturist stripping off would not be much of a test.

6. Nudity prevents showing off with expensive robes, that is it acts as a social equalizer: True. But this is more a matter of discipline. The same effect can be achieved by the use of standardized robes which reflect the nature of the group and its financial abilities.

7. Communional nudity creates a distinctly out of the ordinary ambiance: True. However most people adapt to it quickly and it soon loses its novelty. But it does remain different, otherworldly.

Let me digress for a moment to note peoples reactions into coming into a skyclad group. This depends on two things, the nature of the person and the nature of the group. To deal with the later first I will recognize four artificial and by no means mutually exclusive types of group. Those who consider physical sex Taboo, those who use physical sex as an essential component in their workings, those who use the Craft as an opportunity for a bit of communal bonking. And lastly those that use the Craft simply for an excuse for licentious behavior. Each has its merits and uses.

The anti-sexuals are the respectable fronts. But if they sincerely believe and practice what they say, then perhaps they have lost touch with the fact that the Craft is a fertility religion, a celebration of sexuality. To deny sexuality a physical outlet is going to create tensions that will have to be dealt with elsewhere.

The second grouping the ceremonial sexualists, if sincere have my sympathies they will be dealing with energies that other groups only talk about. This type of group must be discrete and above all disciplined.

The opportunists groups can be the most attractive to newcomers. A touch of the forbidden within a joyous religious framework. If managed skillfully this type of group can be wonderful, Until you catch aids or your partner walks out on you. Play with fire and you will be lucky if only your fingers get burnt.

The last of my four categories are the news of the world groups. These are a real pain, they bring the Craft into disrepute. However think of the damage that could be done to more serious groups by individuals wanting only this type of thing could do if there were no places to put them. Do not totally despise these groups, even they in their way serve a function.

Now people. By enlarge women stand up better with communal nudity than men do, whilst retaining self consciousness women tend to assess self worth less on physical proportions women adapt to nudity quicker and with far less fuss than men.

Men are either ashamed of their self assessed inadequacy, or even worse, know that they are Gods gift to women. Few simply except and are happy with the way they are. A neutral response to wicked Willie first public appearance is what most people get. The presumed inadequacy does not get laughed at and Gods gift does not get worshiped you are accepted for what you are, how it goes on from there will depend on what type of group you find yourself in.

How you will fell will depend on you. If you equate nudity only with sex then your first encounter with lots of nudity without lots of sex will result in lots of short lived frustrations. If you produce the standard male response nobody will be surprised or particularly bothered, seen it all before. If the male does not respond it will not be taken as an insult or as a token of inadequacy. As the novice will soon find out even the most macho of males cannot keep it up forever.

For women the most usual problem is embarrassment due to periods. This is usually overcome by tucking the tail in. But like the male erection this is not a matter for shame and can be dealt with as she wishes.

I have digressed far enough we have looked at seven reasons for nudity let us consider one more.

8. Honesty: It is harder to pretend to be what you are not if everybody can see what you are, at least on the physical level. This brings us to consider the difference between a Witch and a Magician:

  • A Magician puts on a robe to limit himself to that which he desires to become.
  • A Witch takes of her clothing to deny her limitations, to become all that she is.
  • A Magician robes, masks, stands and becomes his God.
  • A Witch strips away the illusions that she is not her Goddess.
  • One remembers to remember the other forgets to forget.

Here is hidden the heart of the Witchcraft. The recognition that divinity is inherent in its totality in each and every one of us. As we have all been told so many times: “If that which you seek you find not within you, thou shalt never find it without you, for behold I have been with you from the beginning.”

Look again at the difference between the Magician and the Witch. The Magician externalizes and becomes, the Witch internalizes and becomes. Remember the magical maxim, that which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is unto that which is above. Or more simply that which is below is that which is above, there is not difference. From one starting point, with one intent their flows two paths, externalization or internalization. Equally valid, equally useful and both with the same endpoint, divinity. Or at least the best representation thereof that are illusionary human limitations permit, but that another story. The difference between a Magician and a Witch is only one of technique and goose pimples.

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