Skyclad: We are All Naked Before the Gods
by Trinity, Sibylline Priestess
"Many traditional covens work skyclad or nude – not
to emphasize sexuality but to let psychic energy flow unhindered, to
help members accept their own bodies as natural and good, and to point
up the fact that all are social equals in the circle" pg.
45 Coven Craft by Amber K.
" The gown is a mortal covering... It is the Self and its
fragile veneer, covering the spirit in a mantle of self-expression."
pg. 50 The Wiccan Mysteries
In the Pagan world the idea of nudity is viewed as sacred. It is how
we come into this world - naked and created from the natural act of sex.
Pagans refer to being naked for spiritual reasons as "skyclad."
"Kali is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In her absolute,
primordial nakedness she is free from all covering of illusion. She
is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of 'clothes'. It symbolizes
that she is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the illusory
effects of maya (false consciousness). Her nudity is said to represent
totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright
fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such
truth simply burns them away."
To a Pagan mind the idea of casting off one’s clothes can represent
numerous things; primarily, the removal of social status and the reunion
with our natural selves.
Clothing in society has always been a tool of control and self-expression.
Uniforms in schools, military, and prisons all seek to remove individuality
while defining the generic role of the wearer – student, soldier,
prisoner. Clothing today allows an unprecedented level of versatility
and self-expression accessible to most income levels and social classes.
Clothing can be used to define social rank, class, inner identity, rebellion,
or success. Think of the Nike sneakers, the Gucci handbag, Structure vs.
Hot Topic. These things tell us about people even before we talk to them.
They are the public face.
The idea of casting off ones clothing sometimes scares people. Because
for many they are suddenly both physically and emotionally
naked. For some being naked implies something sexual or dirty. The body
is a strange and forbidden thing. It is difficult to change our perception
when all our lives we have been bombarded with the message that clothing
is armor and without it we vulnerable in front of an abusive exploitive
world. Even if your family was accepting you were still exposed to this
mindset through the media and interaction with others.
It is Always Your Choice
Unfortunelty, even in the pagan world you will find zelots. It is
disturbing that there are pagans who have been pressured into working
skyclad. There are covens that tell their members that if they are not
willing to work skyclad that "maybe they are just not ready to be
Wiccan." To risk being vulgar - Bullsh*t.
This dogma is based on the a tenant that many wiccans believe: clothing
binds the ability to work energy. The idea being that clothing is restrictive
to the natural energy that flows through us. Our synthetic fibers, tight
fitting styles, or dark grounding colors are not conducive to energy working.
Thus their belief is that working skyclad is necessary in order to perform
magic. Whether or not this is true you will have to discover for yourself.
Clothing, nudity, and sex are powerful tools in the day-to-day world.
Abuse of these tools causes deep wounds to our psyche. It does not have
to be this way. Skyclad is seen as a step towards changing and healing
this wound. The changes we are working to accomplish within ourselves
and our society take time, trust, and understanding. Performing ritual
skyclad is a beautiful and magical event. It is also a personal and private
choice, not a requirement.
Thou Art a God/dess
As my Sibylline sister Lisa so aptly put it "As a healing presence
in the world, we have a responsibility to watch out for each other and
make sure our freedom stays free. 'Thou art God/dess' – if we view
our own bodies as sacred we must view our lovers and everyone else, the
same way, through the eyes of respect, love, and understanding, leaving
no room for control, jealousy, or dishonesty."
We are all naked before the Gods. Each of us equal, each of us each beautiful,
and each blessed by the Gods with these bodies. We are in this shell for
a short time, enjoy it, revel in it, and learn to worship with it.