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Guest morrigan

Sky Clad Or Not? - Does it make a difference

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Stonehugger
3 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

nearly always in early December.

Yes, definitely keep your kit on in December 😀

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Moonsmith
2 hours ago, Veggie dancer said:

I suppose many of us might not go completely naked but find some bare skin useful in ritual. I do like to be bare foot and feel contact with the ground

YES!  This ^^^^^^^^^^ big time.

I go bare foot everywhere at home.  I have told the story before of a visitor who came to the door and said that '"there were human footprints in the snow on the drive".  I was able to reassure her that this was only because humans lived here.

 

image.png.f36bac48690d83ec1d9ef67fd9c70c61.png

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JohnMacintyre

Dear Folks,

It's a normal part of initiatory Wiccan practice and has been since the tradition emerged in the years following the Second World War. Whether it "works" for individuals is always going to be a very subjective matter but if it wasn't effective and valued by most of us then I doubt it would have survived as a ritual practice for so long.

There's no single reason for it, nor should there be. Remember that it's mainly the practice of small, very private, very closely bonded, groups where everyone knows everyone else very well and there is a very high level of mutual trust. For many reasons, both practical and symbolic, it's effective in the contexts it's used for.

Feeling cold isn't really an issue. Central heating plus a few generations of Mediteranean holidays may have given many people strange ideas about what a comfortable temperature is, but for most of the year you're not going to die of exposure that quickly in Northern Europe.

BB,

John Macintyre

 

 

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Maeve

^^^^^^ Late to this topic - everything that John Mac has said!

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Jackal Girl

I have not, nor will I ever go skyclad...ever! 😝 No offence to those who do - just not my thing!

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Ellinas

Actually, I've never really understood the term "skyclad".  Is it not synonymous with "unclad"?

Ah, just re-read my last post on this thread...

"If I am in the open air wearing no clothes, I am still clothed by the atmosphere that envelops me."

I suppose that explains it...

Edited by Ellinas

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Maeve
19 hours ago, Ellinas said:

Actually, I've never really understood the term "skyclad".  Is it not synonymous with "unclad"?

Ah, just re-read my last post on this thread...

"If I am in the open air wearing no clothes, I am still clothed by the atmosphere that envelops me."

I suppose that explains it...

"Skyclad" is a - perhaps - pretty way of saying "naked" - without clothing ... whatever! If you have experienced it in ritual practice, you will know what it means - it does feel ..... sky - clad 😄

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Stonehugger
2 hours ago, Maeve said:

it does feel ..... sky - clad

Yes, it does feel special. I've been naked without being skyclad, but never skyclad without being naked. Speaking from extremely limited experience, skyclad is a state of mind for me. It's about feeling enveloped, not exposed. When it hasn't worked (in a group collapsing with laughter or on my own wondering what on earth I'm doing) I'm just outside with my kit off. When it has worked, then skyclad feels like a really good word.

Edited by Stonehugger
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hedgerose
1 hour ago, Stonehugger said:

Yes, it does feel special. I've been naked without being skyclad, but never skyclad without being naked. Speaking from extremely limited experience, skyclad is a state of mind for me. It's about feeling enveloped, not exposed. When it hasn't worked (in a group collapsing with laughter or on my own wondering what on earth I'm doing) I'm just outside with my kit off. When it has worked, then skyclad feels like a really good word.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This.

Exactly. 

:o_claps:

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Ellinas

I'll take your respective words for it.  I'll stick with cotton clad.

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hedgerose

In larger circles I do work robed. In that case, i have used a handmade cotton robe, tied with cord, and cloak (which was gifted to me by my HPs and was velvet - it was her own, veteran of many a ritual - but if I need one in future, I'd rather natural materials. Or waterproofed.)

Skyclad is only alone or with a closely knit group. There is an element of trust, literally opening up and revealing all involved, spiritual and emotional as well as literal. It would upset the group dynamic if you didn't have what Wicca calls perfect love and perfect trust. Which is part of the reason that the initiation ritual is so powerful, on so many levels. It just wouldn't have the same impact in everyday clothing, and I feel even robes somehow lessen that glimpse of understanding how we relate to Deity.  

But to each their own, of course. My viewpoint is merely that. It's and interesting topic, like everything else we do, there is no right or wrong way. 

I will just say though, that if you haven't worked skyclad on a beach, in the pouring rain, in a thunderstorm, you are missing one of life's greatest experiences :o_yikes:

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Stonehugger
9 hours ago, hedgerose said:

on a beach, in the pouring rain, in a thunderstorm,

I'm curious now but I think I'll take your word for it!! (I had a work colleague many years ago who had being skyclad in a hailstorm on her bucket list.)

Edited by Stonehugger

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Ellinas
19 hours ago, hedgerose said:

I will just say though, that if you haven't worked skyclad on a beach, in the pouring rain, in a thunderstorm, you are missing one of life's greatest experiences :o_yikes:

I think that is one that is unlikely to provoke the quasi condition of FOMO in my case...

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moonwolf

I've worked skyclad loads of times, my first coven it was the norm and I have the stories to go along with it lol.

I personally like skyclad rituals as it gets the wafting robes and lit candles out of the equasion, does it make magick better? No not really. Is it fun? no more than walking down your garden in the nix for shits and giggles. Do you get looked at? Yup once usually then you realise that we all have the same kit in differing proportions and at the end of the day none of us look as good nekid as we think we do.

There is a reason Alex had a teenage HPS and its the same one as Gerald had young nubile women in his coven..... They liked looking at young nubile naked girls and lets facce it the FFK is much easier with young flexible bodies, when your knees lock up and you need help standing it detracts from the flow of the ritual.

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Maeve
32 minutes ago, moonwolf said:

 Gerald had young nubile women in his coven..... They liked looking at young nubile naked girls and lets facce it the FFK is much easier with young flexible bodies, when your knees lock up and you need help standing it detracts from the flow of the ritual.

Not necessarily 😄 Gerald was a naturist long before he was an initiated witch and belonged to more than one naturist club. He also wintered abroad to get the sun for health reasons and would have best benefited for that by being nude. I can fairly certainly say that Gerald brought naturism to ritual in the Craft for no reason other than he preferred to work naked and wanted that to be the norm for the Craft!

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Maeve
On 7/24/2020 at 11:40 PM, Jackal Girl said:

I have not, nor will I ever go skyclad...ever! 😝 No offence to those who do - just not my thing!

That's OK - noone would force you to do so but you would not get a Gardnerian initiation 😄

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moonwolf
25 minutes ago, Maeve said:

That's OK - noone would force you to do so but you would not get a Gardnerian initiation 😄

Or most of the Alexandrian covens either as initiations may be skyclad (usually are even if regular work is not) Skyclad is like the witches kiss it has it's reasons that cant be gone into in an open forum.

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moonwolf
32 minutes ago, Maeve said:

Not necessarily 😄 Gerald was a naturist long before he was an initiated witch and belonged to more than one naturist club. He also wintered abroad to get the sun for health reasons and would have best benefited for that by being nude. I can fairly certainly say that Gerald brought naturism to ritual in the Craft for no reason other than he preferred to work naked and wanted that to be the norm for the Craft!

I believe Gerald ran with the 'nature' theme and incorporated his predelictions into his working,

The thing i find ammusing is that it is predominatly Alexandrians that work skyclad these days, I am in contact with a number of Gardenierian covens who would not practice skyclad.

Personally I agree that some of the works must be skyclad as it adds to the whole situation and it also weeds out those not willing to actually get their hands dirty in coven work. It's a gnarly question as to wether magically it is preferable to be skyclad or not at the end of the day if we are following a particular tradition we must follow those that went before us.

Gerald is owed a debt for what he bought to the magical world, he made wicca as we know it today, although Alexandrians take a lot from the Golden Dawn and Crowley when all is said and done none of us (witches) would be here without Doreen she gave the words to Geralds ideas.

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Stonehugger
20 hours ago, moonwolf said:

weeds out those not willing to actually get their hands dirty

That worries me a bit. How far are we away from a bad situation in which an older man tells a younger woman she needs to get naked in the group to show her ongoing commitment to it? That's different from all deciding to work skyclad together as a means of achieving something, and it's different from an initiation setting where there needs to be some significant sign of crossing over into the group. I'm not sure of my logic here, but there has to be a line somewhere between appropriate challenge and never-appropriate abuse.

Edited by Stonehugger
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moonwolf
1 hour ago, Stonehugger said:

That worries me a bit. How far are we away from a bad situation in which an older man tells a younger woman she needs to get naked in the group to show her ongoing commitment to it?

SH I wont lie that has happened (and probably still is) in the past. I cant give details because it's oath bound to talk about context of ritual nudity.  Abuse in wicca is rife and can be traced back to Alex and Gerald and what they did and taught, but like all religions some of the neophytes corrupt the teaching of their master if it benifits them, some people will follow their base wants and needs unfortunatly.
30 years or so ago I was approached by a coven in Devon to join along with a female friend, the HP of that group just wanted to get my friend naked and under his power I realised this on the first meeting and he was told to go away, that night we did a working on the beach at low tide. He was reported for sexual assult by one of the coven members and last i heard he was staying in one of her majesty's hotels for quite a few years (Was it coincidence that we worked against him and he got done? Yes it probably was but he did get done so magick works 😉)

What i can say is my rule is this if one of the coven wants to work skyclad (outside of prescribed times) then I to will work skyclad, this doesnt happen very often as we are all getting older and no one wants to see fat middle aged people wobbling around a circle. For me personally I dont mind skclad and feel a bit hampered when i'm robed but in fairness to the other members I wont inflict myself on the group.

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hedgerose

I've heard a lot about Alex. He liked the attention, I think. He certainly made no secret of his flamboyant lifestyle, there was a lot written about his affairs at the time.

Not to defend anyone who might have taken advantage, and probably plenty did, but this was the 70's. Sexist, racist, homophobic - prime time television was rife with perverts of every variety, and somehow, although it beggars belief now, this was seen as normal. It was a very strange time, political correctness hadn't been invented yet, feminism was still a new idea, sex and drugs and rock'n'roll, society was half prudish and often bigoted, and half wanting to shock and tear down the barriers. 

We have, thankfully, moved on from those times, fun though they certainly were occasionally. Young women today are more likely to call someone out if they think they are pushing boundaries. But unless a significant period of training has taken place and there is some kind of compatibility and trust between the participants, it almost certainly won't happen. It is a part of the bond and perhaps bonding process between coven members.

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Maeve

If you are seeking the initiatory Craft, it is likely to be difficult for all sorts of reasons:

  • As has been said above - there are charlatans out there, ready to exploit people with promises of power and all sorts of other things - as there are in any walk of life
  • IMO, the genuine coven is a family and you may not fit nor may you find the people in it ones with whom you wish to work - it works both ways
  • There is not a coven in every city, town and village and you may have to travel far to find your right place
  • Each coven is autonomous even though they adhere to one branch of the Craft or another - they may be different from one another whilst still using a common framework - in all sorts of ways - whether or not they usually or sometimes work skyclad; whether they have an outer training circle for seekers prior to initiation; whether they meet just for ritual or share social time with each other ... and so on and so forth!

If any person or group makes you feel uncomfortable in any way whatsoever, you should leave them be and look for a compatible place - pagan conference, pagan magazines, the Pagan Federation, local moots ... are all places where you can meet up with potential teachers and leaders.

Referring to some of the comments above:  if you want to know the background of the Gardnerian Craft, there is no finer place to get accurate details than Philip Heselton's books about Gardner and the early Craft - there are several books including the latest which is "In search of the New Forest Coven". From that history, you will find that Gardner got his teaching and knowledge from many sources, including Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, OTO and many other sources - before Alex Sanders ever came along!  For most of us, we are interested and even fascinated by the history but in the end, it is just that - history and fascinating - if your magic doesn't work personally at least some of the time, then you are not a witch and no initiation will make you one. If magic does not work at least some of the time when your coven attempts it, then the coven is not a good working entity!

 

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moonwolf
On 9/6/2020 at 5:38 PM, Maeve said:

If you are seeking the initiatory Craft, it is likely to be difficult for all sorts of reasons:

  • As has been said above - there are charlatans out there, ready to exploit people with promises of power and all sorts of other things - as there are in any walk of life
  • IMO, the genuine coven is a family and you may not fit nor may you find the people in it ones with whom you wish to work - it works both ways
  • There is not a coven in every city, town and village and you may have to travel far to find your right place
  • Each coven is autonomous even though they adhere to one branch of the Craft or another - they may be different from one another whilst still using a common framework - in all sorts of ways - whether or not they usually or sometimes work skyclad; whether they have an outer training circle for seekers prior to initiation; whether they meet just for ritual or share social time with each other ... and so on and so forth!

If any person or group makes you feel uncomfortable in any way whatsoever, you should leave them be and look for a compatible place - pagan conference, pagan magazines, the Pagan Federation, local moots ... are all places where you can meet up with potential teachers and leaders.

Referring to some of the comments above:  if you want to know the background of the Gardnerian Craft, there is no finer place to get accurate details than Philip Heselton's books about Gardner and the early Craft - there are several books including the latest which is "In search of the New Forest Coven". From that history, you will find that Gardner got his teaching and knowledge from many sources, including Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, OTO and many other sources - before Alex Sanders ever came along!  For most of us, we are interested and even fascinated by the history but in the end, it is just that - history and fascinating - if your magic doesn't work personally at least some of the time, then you are not a witch and no initiation will make you one. If magic does not work at least some of the time when your coven attempts it, then the coven is not a good working entity!

 

There you go Maeve gave the advice that EVERY noob to wicca should get

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moonwolf
On 9/3/2020 at 3:28 AM, hedgerose said:

I've heard a lot about Alex. He liked the attention, I think. He certainly made no secret of his flamboyant lifestyle, there was a lot written about his affairs at the time.

The thing I find sad about Alex was his end, alone in a bedsit in bexhill what a crappy end to a once great showman, Crowley ended the same way alone and broken...... I have asked of various witches old and new over the year if they can explain how a child and preiest of the gods could end this way... My thoughts go along the abuse of power and karma. Off topic sorry boot it elsewhere if that serves.

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hedgerose

You're right, moonwolf. I never met him myself, but knew people who had a long and close relationship with him. I read his book, King of the Witches, and even remember a documentary, years back with him prancing around in gold lame budgie smugglers. A showman he most certainly was. Undoubtedly he had talent, and charisma, and hung out with rock stars back in the day. But perhaps he believed his own publicity a bit too much. Like all of us, he was a flawed human being who made mistakes. But you have to see it in the context of the period (gods, my childhood years are now an historical period!)

At the time I felt that being ashamed of our bodies was pointless and a hangover from centuries of church inspired guilt. I still do, I would happily visit a naturist beach. Being naked, in a non sexual context is a wonderfully liberating, equalising experience. And ime, it definitely sets ritual apart from the everyday. It's a way of making an effort to present yourself before deity with respect and reverence. But whereas the church folks went in for sunday best, to many pagans it means stripping away the worldly distractions and deceits, and offering yourself humbly, unashamedly, trustingly, skyclad. It probably helped that the teachings chimed with my personal feelings on the matter. And with the influences of the hippy culture, feminism, the Age of Aquarius and everything else that was going on culturally and politically, a lot of people wanted to actively distance themselves from the mainstream. Dancing naked in the moonlight was in part an act of rebellion. 

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Maeve

Most Alexandrian covens (I am told) work robed and most Gardnerian covens work sky-clad if not on every occasion, then certainly on most and for initiations. If you are not comfortable with sky-clad working, then the Gardnerian Craft is not for you - choose to seek elsewhere!

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Stonehugger
14 hours ago, hedgerose said:

being ashamed of our bodies was pointless and a hangover from centuries of church inspired guilt.

I agree, but it's remarkably still the case that nakedness has the power to shock, often in a good way with events like the World Naked Bike Ride getting both approving and disapproving attention (even people claiming to be outraged) but always inspiring discussion. At the same time it opens us up to the individual and collective benefits of being skyclad, but then again a lot of people (most?) are very self conscious about their bodies, at least at first, so it could even act as a significant barrier to feeling fully involved in whatever is going on. I doubt if being naked is illegal but my employer might have concerns if I ended up in a photo in the local paper, but they might think differently if it was a charity calendar. Inside my head, there is no consensus on this subject!!

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