Re: [WitchesWorkshop] Re: Nudity
- Hi folks,
I'm a bit late on this as I've been out of email contact for a while. I
didn't catch the story that these posts are referring to, so I may be a
bit out of context, but given the general length and nature of the
thread I thought I'd pitch in an opinion or two, as some of what I'm
seeing in this thread seems based on some rather different basic
understandings to my own, and I figure another mix in the pot can't hurt
as it were...
I've also rearranged quote order slightly for clarity's sake, and trust
that if in any way I have misunderstood or misrepresented anyone's
position in doing so that I'll hear about it quickly enough. <Wry Grin>
>> It's an interesting story, but I have to wonder why perfect nudity isI'll have to go back to find the story in question, but I'd argue that
>> prerequisite to perfect trust. Placing preconditions like this on a
>> relationship would not incline me to feel particularly trusting.
this is somewhat back-to-front from my perspective.
Nudity (however perfect or otherwise) is not a 'condition' for trust,
but rather an expression of it; trust on the part of those who are so
revealing themselves rather than any sort of "I'll only trust you if you
are naked" situation.
Forcing anyone to be naked against their will or inclination would
certainly not engender my trust either, but the impressions I'm getting
from this discussion seem to be a far cry removed from any form of
skyclad practice as I have experienced it.
> This is an *excellent* point.It is certainly a valid point if someone is being coerced into working
skyclad, though this isn't a scenario I'm personally familiar with. I
have absolutely no doubts it has occurred (or at least that some less
than scrupulous people have tried) and I'd suggest that this is a step
that people undertake with a great deal of thought, and only with those
who they do trust completely.
> The two issues do tend to get confused,I'd probably re-frame this to say that the willingness to go skyclad
> and often a refusal to circle skyclad (or even a reservation) is
> interpreted as symptomatic of a lack of 'perfect trust' on that
> person's part.
within the coven is a very potent expression of trust, and one which is
required by certain traditions (either for all workings, or for
initiations and other key rituals). It may seem minor, but this change
in emphasis and perspective is central to my own traditional Wiccan
At any rate, that really should be fine, because if you aren't
comfortable going skyclad (either at all, or with a specific group)
there are always other options, different groups or traditions which
either you do feel comfortable with, or who don't require skyclad rituals.
I don't think it is fair to suggest that reservations about skyclad
working indicate a lack of 'perfect trust' necessarily, there are many
factors which may contribute to this after all, nor should anyone be
coerced into such a working against their will or better judgement.
There are good reasons why such workings are required within certain
traditions, but there are plenty of other ways to work if you don't want
to follow such a path after all. Where someone is pursuing a
traditional Wiccan path I'd expect (and advise) that they would discuss
such issues with their HPS and HP.
>> we are dealing with feelings and they are sticky and messy, yet yourI agree, the only reason it should ever be a concern at all is if a
>> story offers me a good reason why I will stick to my guns. One's own
>> choice whether to go sky-clad shouldn't matter to others, EVER, and if
>> it does I feel there is a problem
coven one is seeking to join *does* work skyclad, and then only insofar
as you are obviously going to have to come to some sort of accommodation
with that coven in regards to this.
Where skyclad work is simply a preference of the coven it may be that
this can be negotiated successfully.
Where skyclad work (at least for certain rites) is an integral part of
the tradition, then one should obviously look elsewhere. No judgement
or stigma at all should be attached to this, it is just that that
coven/tradition obviously isn't going to be a good match.
> Yet within an initiation, those words are given as aGiven that in those same traditions the candidate is also skyclad at
> part of a password often delivered by a person who is blindfolded and
> bound, and who has just had an athame pointed at them. In that
> context, 'perfect trust' has a very different basis, and nothing to do
> with nudity at all.
this point this may seem somewhat confusing, but yes, being naked is
only *one* expression of trust, as is being blindfold and bound at that
While there is a lot more involved in this process than simply a
demonstration of trust, trusting someone enough to allow yourself to be
placed in such a position is indeed an essential ingredient in getting
that far into a traditional Wiccan initiation (as an example).
I'm not sure that this has 'nothing to do with nudity', it is certainly
a much wider concept, but I'm by no means certain I grasp whatever you
were trying to convey here Marian.
> There are Traditions that circle skyclad, and surely that is theirThis is very true; there are those who simply can't consider skyclad
> choice - just as it is to circle sunwise or clockwise, to place Wands
> as Fire or Air, to worship Hekate or Aradia, etc etc.
work, and that too is their choice, absolutely. Obviously such
individuals won't do well in skyclad traditions, but I doubt they would
be seeking for such a path anyway.
> But to make nudity an issue of *trust*, where all the riskI can only assume this is relating back to the original story (that I've
> and all the sacrifice is expected of one person, is, I believe,
> reducing trust to a non-negotiable condition.
obviously missed) because such a premise seems simply ludicrous to me.
Where we ask for trust, especially of any large degree, we have a
responsibility to live up to that trust, and to respect that.
The notion that the 'risk' is somehow all for one person seems a bit odd
also. Obviously within the context of an initiation only the candidate
is bound and blindfold (though all in the circle first entered it that
way and took a similar leap of trust and faith). That willingness to
step into the unknown is a key ingredient here, and we are talking about
a Mystery path; there are things which simply must be experienced. It
also seems to imply that only the initiate is skyclad, or undertaking
any specific 'risk'.
Irrespective of any skyclad issues, or the fact that all in the Circle
were brought in the same way, with the same degree of 'risk' and
sacrifice, and regardless that this is an integral part of the work the
initiation is performing on the initiate, the whole coven takes risks of
their own every time they initiate a new member. It is never a one-way
Moving away from initiations specifically, where skyclad work is the
norm for a coven or tradition this is something the whole coven shares
in, not just one individual, so surely they are all taking the same
emotional 'risk and sacrifice' there (though ask such a coven and I
doubt they would express their experiences in such terms).
With all that said I'm still not sure I agree with the implied premise
that requiring a concrete expression of such a trust of an initiation
candidate necessarily represents anything 'wrong'.
If one can't make that leap into the unknown with faith and trust then
one can't undergo initiation, so in that sense I guess it *is*
non-negotiable, but I don't see this as somehow 'bad'; it is integral to
what the initiation is actually attempting to achieve.
>> One canIt seems to me that people are taking a small facet in isolation, and
>> still be untrustworthy even without their clothes.
> Marian replied:
pinning a lot on it which may not really be justified.
> The willingness to go skyclad signifies nothing more thanThe willingness to go skyclad with a specific group of people indicates
> a willingness to address issues of nudity *at best*.
a degree of trust in the other participants on the part of the one
willing to go skyclad. It says that they are willing to place
themselves into a socially unusual and for many uncomfortable position,
one which is often accompanied by vulnerability, and which can raise
issues for many people. It pushes the boundaries of a great many
people's comfort zones.
However it can't say anything much about that individual's
trustworthiness in general, and I am pretty darn selective about who
I'll circle with in any sort of deeper magical context, skyclad or not.
>> If 'perfect trust' is the goal, surely something as small andWhich is true, but again seems to present this from a somewhat reversed
>> insignificant as clothing would not matter? On either side of the
>> cloth? I know that if someone couldn't trust me with my clothes on, I
>> certainly couldn't trust them with theirs off.
understanding to my own (as stated above). It also seems to imply that
an expression of trust is the sole key idea behind skyclad workings,
which it certainly isn't. It appears to make judgements based on
whether 'they' can trust someone who is clothed. In my opinion that
really isn't the issue at all.
I trust my coven mates when they arrive for circle clothed, when we get
together socially clothed and when we circle (skyclad or otherwise). I
trust them, period.
*Because* I trust them I am perfectly comfortable working skyclad with
them, and while this is certainly a potent expression of that trust,
there is a lot more going on psychologically and magically than that
simple fact alone.
But as I've already agreed that no one should in any way be coerced into
such a working against their will, and that there are plenty of
different traditions, spiritual paths, and ways of working available for
those who don't wish to pursue a skyclad path it really seems to me to
be a rather irrelevant storm in a teacup.
- Simon Goodey <simonziki@...> wrote:
Hi Maz, all ...
Sorry my earlier post did not show my replies very well, I have segregated my replies with ****** hope this makes sense*****
--- In WitchesWorkshop@ yahoogroups. com, Simon Goodey <simonziki@. ..>
> Before 1993 the witchcraft community was mostly inside the broomcloset, while in this dark mysterious place, that was not open to the
general public, we cavorted in the buff with our Gods and Goddess's,
I was around back then, and, while it wasn't *that* public, it was
hardly hiding away. It was pretty damn easy to find.
****This is true, but the mind set that I came across back then, was that if your senses are outraged by what happens here, than maybe you should be somewhere else*****
It was also not uniformly skyclad. Documentary evidence exists from
the 1970s of witches and other pagans working in elaborate robes and
******I agree, Coming from England I am well aware of the climate. There is something else about coming from England, There seems to be a general need in the culture to have titles and elaborate robes and decorations. But that aside I wonder if anyone in the 70s had said I think nudity is wrong in ritual workings, and I wonder what the response would have been?******
> Then came Pagans in the Pub, Pub Moots, Public open rituals and theinternet e-groups, out of these public forums came some people who
were not interested in the connection with the Gods and Goddess's, but
more interested in the impression we would make to the general public.
> The main problem with these people was that they had no power oftheir own, so they used the power of the land to justify the decision
that nudity will not be tolerated during the ritual, this was the thin
end of the wedge, this control was then taken from public ritual to
Those are *extraordinary* claims, and I'd like to see some hard
evidence of that. As it stands, it looks like axe-grinding.
*****Yep! Im a Axe grinding******
There have always been people who used witchcraft/paganism to justify
their own aggrandisement, and to look a bit "spooky". This was
happening as far back as the late 70s. Image was hugely important -
just take a look at The Occult Experience, for example. But it's a
far cry from being concerned with projecting an image to assuming an
absolute disinterest in real connection with the Gods.
*******Sorry, lost me on that point******
Then there's your "power of the land" claim. What, exactly, do you
mean by that? Are you implying that there was some conscious
collaboration with law enforcement to repress "real" witchcraft? That
witches - for petty power-mongering reasons - waged a campaign against
"real" witches to stop them working skyclad?
********I was on the planning and organising panels of some substantial Pagan festivals, and over a few years the attitude changed from let em all come and we will blow there minds out to Oh! we dont want to have to deal with the Police do we so no, there was no conscious collaboration with the law enforcement agencies, quite the opposite, in fact there was an attitude of non confrontation.*******
(Never mind that, like it or not, working skyclad in public would
constitute a breach of the obscenity laws. Personally, I think such
application of the law would be really out of line, but that's beside
Even if that were true - and I see no evidence to assume it is - how
could that possibly affect private ritual? Are you seriously
suggesting these "people" had such power that they could manage to
oppress private covens, which - to judge by the way you're writing of
it - had been merrily going along their way for many, many years?
At worst, a trend away from nudity in ritual might be *influenced* by
people doing public ritual robed, but it's hardly the same as some
terrible conspiracy of oppression.
*******As you say Influenced is a better word to use, thanks.******
> This is a real shame that this happened, as a real connection hasbeen lost,
I'm sorry you feel that way, but have you stopped to think it's not a
widespread phenomenon, and has nothing to do with whether other people
are working skyclad or not?
******I have only my experience to guide me and I have only taken part in rituals in NSW******
> you see, it is not just the fact that you have to be careful abouthow you dress to ritual, you now have to be careful not to go into an
ecstatic trance, I sometimes sense that the wildness and liberation I
feel during ritual is wrong, (and that just isn't right) as a result
of this I chose to stay away from ritual both public and private, as I
was not feeling comfortable.
Okay, this is particularly alarming.
Yes, I've noticed there's a little bit of one upwitchship (:-P) when
it comes to ritual gear. That was going on way back when, too - my
athame is better than yours, my chalice is prettier than yours, etc.
These days, that includes robes and jewellery.
Nonetheless, what you're describing is a personal impression only.
You "sense" something you feel is wrong? I'm not going to tell you
that you're not sensing something, but I would suggest that there
needs to be some investigation of the self before ascribing the cause
to what *other* people are doing. Whether or not you feel others have
a genuine connection, surely it shouldn't make you doubt your own?
********Unfortunatly this happened.********
And I think it's a pretty unfair accusation to say that entering
trance and ritual ecstasy is now considered "wrong". There are still
many public or semi-public rituals where this happens. The sabbats
held at the Cauldron, Euphoria, workshops held by people around the
place - and that's just the ones I've experienced personally. I'm
sure there are many, many more.
> When Tim suggested the with camp concept last year, I supportedthe idea and I can see that through this teacher teaching teachers
philosophy, we may be able to bring back the notion of freedom to be a
"Freedom to be a witch" includes freedom to experience the Gods in any
way that works for someone, surely? It would be dismaying to think
that "freedom" was so very narrowly defined as to be exclusionary.
*********If all witches are free Yippee******
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