Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Witches Dance Naked in the Woods


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?


27 comments:

  1. Anonymous5/12/2009

    Did you post this on Witchvox?? Naked in the woods? Especially this season! Man, would the mosqueto's have a blood fest! And I agree with ya on a BIG distraction!! LOL! Glad I stopped by to read!

    Melodie

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  2. Melodie-

    I'm very glad you stopped by too. And goodness you are right, mosquitoes are a problem when you are fully dressed, lose your clothes and they will feast.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and be sure to stop by next week!

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  3. Anonymous5/14/2009

    Yes I am with you on this...its a huge distraction and after having 5 children i am just not going to do anything naked in front of anyone lol way way too awkward for me but i think its wonderful for people who feel at ease and it doesnt distract them in any way...i also, like you will go skyclad in the privacy of my home...loved your writing!! :) thanks so much for sharing!!
    beautiful blessings!!
    karen

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  4. Karen-

    I also think that those who prefer to do ritual skyclad are to be admired. When I grow up, I want to be just like them. LOL.

    And some of my friends would disagree with you when it comes to me going skyclad around the house. For instance my friend *cough, cough, Brandie, cough some more* never fails to remind me that I own clothes and she would rather not see my, um... attributes. hehe.

    I'm glad you enjoy my writing. I hope you come back for more.

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  5. I had a similar experience with a friend who was somewhat new to Paganism, asking with some trepidation and in every roundabout way she could whether we were going to be skyclad at an outdoors (and after dark) Imbolc celebration a few years ago. Now I live in the Deep South, but trust me, it does actually get kinda cold in February, and especially around midnight.

    Once I figured out what she was asking, and it took me a few moments, I simply replied that if she wanted to go skyclad, she was welcome to do so. I, on the other hand, would be wearing jeans, a very warm sweatshirt, and my gray trenchcoat! She seemed rather relieved, once she realized she was in a group of Pagans who preferred dressing for the season, with maybe a nod to the medieval in our accoutrement.

    I have no problem with those who want to go skyclad. Speaking for myself alone, I do have a problem with skeeter bites where the sun don't shine! (Speaking of things found in droves throughout the South...)

    Great post. I'd be curious to know how many Pagans go for robes or even Ren-Fair garb. Me, I like jeans and a nice cotton henley, because magic and witchcraft are all about connecting with the world, and that's much, much harder to do when you're basically uncomfortable.

    Blessed Be!

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  6. Grey -

    I can just imagine your friends face, the poor thing was probably terrified.

    Like you, I also prefer regular clothing during outdoor public celebrations. It is just practical.

    And about Pagans and robes, I must say that there are more robe wearers than it is safe to mention. I attended a Samhain celebration, in the Midwest, a couple of years ago. It was VERY traditional and the person who invited me was a bit crossed because I wore a long pink and black dress that looked like it was painted on my skin.

    Believe it or not, my dress was not the life of the party. That title went for Summoner's silk robe, which caught on fire half way through ritual. The entire circle went to her rescue and soon there were several flaming Witches. The only injuries were inflicted on people's prides. Oh, just so you know, my dress didn't suffer any damage :)

    Endless Blessings

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  7. Naked? Yes I've been naked at Samhain, but alone in the dark to not deny anything to the cailleach.

    As for Beltane, that IS is time to be naked for the Faery Queen demands no less. For naked rites celebrating the full significance of Beltane see Here:

    http://uk.geocities.com/paganmovement/MAYRM.TXT



    and click through to 'May Rite'

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  8. Heronmist-

    I would hate for you to deny anything to the old lady! I feel the same way about my better half, so gets his fair share of naked ;)

    I do celebrate Beltane skyclad, but usually alone or with the good man mentioned above. I live in the east of the United States and Beltane weather can be quite frigid!

    Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out.

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  9. Hola, Magaly ;)!

    Te expresas tan bien en español que no hace falta que te escriba en inglés ^^
    Un placer tenerte por Letras y Escenas!!

    Uaahh, acabo de leer este post y: uff, con lo pudorosa que soy para estas cosas me costaría muuucho danzar en bola picada xDDDD Aunque la conexión con la natura debe de ser brutal de esa manera ^O^!

    ¿Conociste a Kim Harrison??? Qué suerteeeeeeee ^//^!!! Cada vez que oigo de tours de escritoras por USA es como: OMG, yo también quiero *O*!

    Un besote y nos leemos ;)

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  10. Gracias! La verdad es que no tengo opurtunidad de comunicarme en español com mucha gente. Solo con algunos miembros de mi familia y un par de amigos. Ahora con tu blog puedo practicar mi español y leer sobre mi otro amor: novelas románticas y fantasía urbana.

    Si conocí a Kim. Tengo fotos en Facebook, pero si te ries de mis raices te encuentro y te medio mato jejeje.

    Abrazotes!

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  11. Thought I would stop by and say thank you for the kind words on my blog and say thanks for following my blog-

    I also want to say, great post!

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  12. Written In Earth,

    Thanks for stopping by :) I find Pythianity extremely fascinating, so I enjoyed reading your take on the whole thing.

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  13. I'm in a reclaiming wicca group in Texas, Tejas Web. We have, on occasion, and only with adults in a secluded area, had clothing optional rites where several participants, but not necessarily all, disrobed. I was a bit anxious about it myself going in. It is very freeing, and demonstrates to us all that we come in different forms. I found that sexual urges are not often part of the agenda.

    Oddly, it seems to be more of the old timers who do it, and not so many of the newer witches.

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  14. Hi William, and welcome to Pagan Culture! It is always great to read new faces *grin*.

    I don't think sexual tension what would distract me, but you see, I'm nosy; I just know I'll stare. I went to a Japanese bath, way back when, everybody was nude and acting very nonchalant. Me? Nahhhh, I was trying to digest all the forms and thinking about the best way to describe everyone--writer's curse.

    But I have to agree with you on the old timers thing. I went to the dedication of a friend's mother (in the Midwest) and she opted to go skyclad. I knew the lady well, so I did my ritual dance and then sat in the circle, and everything was good.

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  15. Anonymous3/22/2011

    With the sex laws the way they are I would be careful! There are people who are on a sex offenders list just for urinating on a street! Even teens having sex with each other or sexting are now being charge with sex crimes! Listen all you need is one uptight person to see you and then legal problems up the ass! All because these asshole lawmaker have listed things that should not even be a crime with crimes like rape!

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  16. I think the key element is "consenting adults" in a safe situation. But I see where your concern comes from, some people have a nasty ability to put the ugly into anything, especially things they don't understand.

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  17. Magaly, I have the biggest smile on my face! Great post! Naked??? Ummmmmmm...privately yes, in a group??? I would be distracted! I am being honest!! I'm blushing right now thinking about it! LOL!

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  18. I think the key element is "consenting adults" in a safe situation. But I see where your concern comes from, some people have a nasty ability to put the ugly into anything, especially things they don't understand.

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  19. Hola, Magaly ;)!

    Te expresas tan bien en español que no hace falta que te escriba en inglés ^^
    Un placer tenerte por Letras y Escenas!!

    Uaahh, acabo de leer este post y: uff, con lo pudorosa que soy para estas cosas me costaría muuucho danzar en bola picada xDDDD Aunque la conexión con la natura debe de ser brutal de esa manera ^O^!

    ¿Conociste a Kim Harrison??? Qué suerteeeeeeee ^//^!!! Cada vez que oigo de tours de escritoras por USA es como: OMG, yo también quiero *O*!

    Un besote y nos leemos ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi William, and welcome to Pagan Culture! It is always great to read new faces *grin*.

    I don't think sexual tension what would distract me, but you see, I'm nosy; I just know I'll stare. I went to a Japanese bath, way back when, everybody was nude and acting very nonchalant. Me? Nahhhh, I was trying to digest all the forms and thinking about the best way to describe everyone--writer's curse.

    But I have to agree with you on the old timers thing. I went to the dedication of a friend's mother (in the Midwest) and she opted to go skyclad. I knew the lady well, so I did my ritual dance and then sat in the circle, and everything was good.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thought I would stop by and say thank you for the kind words on my blog and say thanks for following my blog-

    I also want to say, great post!

    ReplyDelete
  22. We have one public Beltane Festival near by and there are always a bunch of townies that come and get half naked or more and dance around the bonfire, I'm just happy it's at the end of everything.

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  23. At the beginning might be too distracting ;-)

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  24. I think if it was people I trusted and was comfortable with, I could do a skyclad ritual. Or if it was an all-women thing. lol. Other than that, skyclad in the privacy and comfort of my own home is a definite :)

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