Ritual garb, skyclad, or regular clothes?

img06When I first started in Wicca in my early teens, I admit the idea of ‘ritual garb’ appealed to me. The pretty dresses and robes, the head dresses, and exotic jewelry was all very alluring. As years passed, I experienced the ‘skyclad’ (ritual nudity) at festival, and joined in a skyclad esbat. But the cost of garb, the discomfort of nudity, my choice of preference is regular clothes.

Although gowns and robes can be as simple or ornate as you want, I always found them a bit cumbersome in ritual. Sleeves get in the way, and the hem tends to get too close to the fire. In the summer, they can be too hot, and in the winter, you look silly if you wear your winter coat over it.

And I hated the idea of black robes. My coven once decided ‘we’ would make ritual robes. All black, long sleeves, with hoods. I was against the idea. I threatened if they made me wear it, I’d bedazzle it or add glow-in-the-dark paint. It just wasn’t me.

WITCHAnd frankly, I couldn’t afford the nicer stuff. The photo here was a cloak my sister owned, and she was the one who did the ornate beadwork on the velvet vest, as well as the embroidery on the hood. But it wasn’t mine, and I doubt I would’ve worn it much to rituals anyway.

I’m a practical person; one who prefers comfort over fashion, and even the skyclad rituals tended to make me itchy (from sitting on grass or dirt), or suffer the odd sunburns if I was in direct sunlight.

So why ritual robe or skyclad at all?

opalmoonI’ve heard the idea is that you dress up for the holidays, like dressing up for church. Some pagans told me it was to add to the atmosphere of the ritual, or it marks a change in who we are when we enter Circle. I just don’t buy into that idea.

Skyclad (going nude) stems from the Alexandrian and Gardnerian practices where the ritual nudity strips you of earthy things and makes you equal with everyone in the circle.

Again, that just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t need clothes or the lack of clothes to see others as being equal. And frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with seeing people as being better than others. Some people are better, through their knowledge, wisdom, and caring. Some people are not better, because they work from their weakness, such as jealousy, anger, or fear. I can still enjoy ritual and recognize them as worthy individuals.

What is your preference? Post in comments.

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6 responses to “Ritual garb, skyclad, or regular clothes?

  1. Over the years I have looked into, studied, observed, etc. the concept of skyclad ritual and have come to the conclusion that in the correct environment and with people who one has really got to know that a skyclad ritual would be appropriate in some circumstances. I think that being involved in such a ritual would bring sacred nude energies out in such a way that a closeness with those participating would bond and raise a cone of power that would be lasting and felt among the participants for quite some time after the ritual. Probably for days with some participants interacting with each other personally (not sexually) in personal study and thought communicated with each other.

    • Its a beautiful thing when a group can be that close, and I can see skyclad could have positive effects. People need to get over hangups, however. In my coven, one woman wanted to do skyclad but she kept giggling about it and her cheeks would turn pink. The others she asked to join seemed very uncomfortable. I pointed out that if they shouldn’t do it if they are uncomfortable (and it was going to be in September. Too cold!) Energy work is difficult enough with mixed company than adding nudity to the mix.
      But yes, a close-knit group built on trust and love, I can definitely see a more positive energy with that.

      • If I was ever in a skyclad ritual and people starting giggling over something, I would say it was time to put the robes/clothes back on since being skyclad is a serious bonding not for those who are easily embarrassed by nudity. Sure there may be some light-hearted interaction, but if you are with people you know and are close to, that interaction would be accepted and not frowned upon.

  2. Hello.

    I’ve had a lot on my plate these last few months and have neglected my craft. I feel horrible for this. And would love to get back into the groove. Can u bring me up to speed on any meet ups or the website where I can find them? I’ve misplaced everything. And I un Der stand there is a 10$ thing we have to pay for dues I have no problem with this. I just want to get back into the loop with the group. I really enjoyed being apart of it. I’d love to hear from u so hit me back up at ur convince. Talk to u soon.

    -Jinere-/(amanda)

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