It was a frigid October, but the cold couldn’t touch me. My soul was warm with excitement because my good friend Josh was celebrating All Hallow's Eve with me. It was always nice to have non-Pagan friends attend these celebrations.
“Are you excited Josh?” I elbowed him playfully.
“I’m psyched!” He bounced and bounced on the log we were using as a bench. “I can’t wait for them to start, especially the brunette who called the fire of the south. She is hot! Hot! Hot!”
I gave him a puzzled look. “What do you mean by start? This is almost over.”
“Yeah, but they still have to get naked, right?”
“Josh, you are such a pervert!”
There have been tons of stories about Witches dancing naked in the woods. In the case of my friend Josh, the whole thing was just wishful thinking, no one got naked that All Hallow's Eve and I thanked the gods for small miracles. One of my favorite professors was in attendance, and my life would have been altered forever, if I had seen him naked.
But the sight of a naked professor would present no problems to some Pagans. For there are many Pagans who do some of their rituals in the nude, or skyclad. Different individuals have different reasons to do so, said Lisa Harris in her 2006 article, A Neophyte’s Guide To Skyclad Ritual. She explained that “Many groups work skyclad because that is the way their tradition was taught to them, and how they best feel connected to nature and to the gods.”
I have friends who worship skyclad because they feel that clothing hinders their energy flow. I, on the other hand, reserve my skyclad practices for the privacy of my own home. I would just find the whole thing way too distracting. Picture this—I mean it, picture it—a bunch of guys jumping over the fire on Beltane, body parts flapping out of control. Would anyone be able to stay focused? I wouldn't! And the same goes for girls, I might not have a whole lot to worry about, but the lucky members of the double D club would cause as much commotion as the flappers.
Some might argue that none of this would happen if one was truly serious about his or her beliefs. And for them that statement might be true, but I’m human and so are most of the Pagans I know. What male with a healthy sexual drive, would not react to the luscious naked body of a girl he really likes? And the same applies to girls. We are just lucky because we can easily hide it.
Practicality also comes to mind, when thinking about Witches dancing naked in the woods. There aren’t many places where the weather would allow nakedness in the wee hours of the night. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to look at your doctor in the eye, and explain how you got frostbitten on, um… such delicate parts of your body?
So yes, some Witches dance naked, but not always in the woods. They do it because they feel that the absence of clothing enhances their experience. I prefer to go skyclad in private, usually under the close scrutiny of my better half.
What are your thoughts on skyclad outdoor rituals? Have you ever done it in the company of others? And if you haven’t, would you consider doing it?