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Author Topic: Working Skyclad(nude)  (Read 31487 times)
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« Reply #15: May 12, 2008, 01:04:16 pm »

Kind of like Jennet said: why would it be distracting? We've seen it all before...

I think, aside from whatever other reasons individuals might have, it could get distracting just because it's not the way one usually deals with people.  (Well, for most of us.)  My personal experience is that once you get settled into a situation where seeing other people nude is normal, it's...  actually not a factor.  (I base this on the experience of going to Heartland one year, where clothing is generally optional, and finding that I adapted very quickly to having people around me who were missing what I would normally consider important bits of clothing.)  With ritual, the problem for me at least would be that it's probably not quite a long enough period of time to make that mental shift and get "settled in".

As far as reasons beyond that...  The most immediate and obvious one that springs to my mind is that there's "seen it before, in a general way" and then there's "seen that exact one before"; there is a difference, and it's a difference that is important to a lot of people (myself included).  And, hey, not everyone has necessarily "seen it all before"; I know that's hard to imagine in this day and age, but I'm sure there are still some people who do manage it.

There's also the sort of perception in our society that nudity automatically means a sexual situation, and not wanting to deal with that or not being comfortable in that kind of situation outside of a committed romantic relationship.  There's the possibility of having been brought up in an environment where the human body was considered shameful.  (And both of those things might be factors that one doesn't even necessarily consciously register and process, but that are just there nonetheless, too deeply entrenched to easily shake.)  There could, I imagine, potentially be issues with trauma resulting from having been forced to bare one's body unwilling.  There could be issues with body image that make a person uncomfortable with baring their own body even if they don't care whether anyone else is naked or not.

Or it could be as simple as physical distraction, the AC being up a little too high, that kind of thing.  *shrug*  There's plenty of room there for distraction without even going into deep psychological factors.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is:  It's good that you've got a healthy enough relationship with the human body in general and your own specifically that you can feel comfortable and distraction-free being naked alone or with others...  But there are plenty of reasons why other people might feel differently, and not all of them come down to just not having "seen it all before".

(Hrm.  I actually meant to just post that first paragraph, and then got carried away...   Embarrassed )
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« Reply #16: May 12, 2008, 01:06:59 pm »

Or it could be as simple as physical distraction, the AC being up a little too high, that kind of thing.  *shrug*  There's plenty of room there for distraction without even going into deep psychological factors.

not to mention "not wanting to bathe in sunscreen".

Shadow skyclad?  not gonna happen .. not while there are bugs, a bright shiny day-moon ... etc.  especially outside.

ICK.
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« Reply #17: May 12, 2008, 01:12:55 pm »

Do or Has, anyone here worked skyclad during ritual or a working??

I definately do not work 'skyclad', I'm studying Traditional Witchcraft at the moment and it's considered insulting to the gods and the spirits to appear before them naked. If people want do it in Wicca then that's fine but it has no place in old forms of Witchcraft. It was my impression that Gardner only added that in because he was a nudist.
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« Reply #18: May 12, 2008, 01:22:40 pm »

But there are plenty of reasons why other people might feel differently, and not all of them come down to just not having "seen it all before".

Yep. And I respect that they have those reasons and I am fine with them not wanting to be naked/around people who are. I'm just voicing my own comfort level and feelings about skyclad ritual for myself with others who are also voluntarily in the situation.

As far as Shad's point about bugs and the sun, I suppose it helps that bugs don't seem to like me much (with the exception of mosquitoes which I don't mind because a dab of anti-histamine sorts them out nicely) and it'll take swimming under an August sun in Texas with no sunscreen for a whole day to make me burn a little. *ducks and runs*
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« Reply #19: May 12, 2008, 01:36:22 pm »

Do or Has, anyone here worked skyclad during ritual or a working?? Does being skyclad as opposed to robed or what have you change your energies??

I work in loose, comfortable clothes for ritual. I am fond of my magic dress (yes, that is what it's actually called) as it doesn't have the drapey sleeves that some designers feel all witches want. These people have obviously never danced drumming wildly around a table of burning candles  Grin  As I only wear that dress for ritual, it helps me create the atmosphere I am looking for as well. I have worked skyclad a few times early on in my studies and found the difference with the working was I was colder.

I personally feel the scourging and nudity is mainly a Gardner add on due to his personal tastes. To each his own, but his path is not necessarily mine.

Clothes do not have much to do with my energy work. I have spent many a year at nude beaches and at clothing optional Pagan rituals etc so it isn't a prudish thing, I simply do not like to be chilly and I do not have to think about burning a tender spot. I am free to concentrate on the work at hand.

I have noticed at the all night drum circles at faires most weekends that the people who always get naked first are the guys. Not to be sexist or anything, but I found that fact interesting. I admit I think it has less to do with magical energy (depending) and more to do with hoping women will follow suit and they can enjoy watching naked women dance and drum. I believe the titillation energy can be used very effectively for magical work, but I feel it would have to be a very cohesive group. I have had success with sexual energy magic only with my husband, whom I know quite well   Wink.
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« Reply #20: May 12, 2008, 01:38:54 pm »

not to mention "not wanting to bathe in sunscreen".

Shadow skyclad?  not gonna happen .. not while there are bugs, a bright shiny day-moon ... etc.  especially outside.

Well, yes.  There is that, too.  I've been known to burn through an awfully high SPF, and I've never quite figured out how (outside of a hat or bandanna, which would be clothing) to keep my part from burning.
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« Reply #21: May 12, 2008, 01:46:04 pm »

Yep. And I respect that they have those reasons and I am fine with them not wanting to be naked/around people who are. I'm just voicing my own comfort level and feelings about skyclad ritual for myself with others who are also voluntarily in the situation.

OK.  Sorry--plain-text miscommunication, I think.  It sounded to me like you were kind of being all, "I don't get why you guys all find it distracting. Honestly, we've seen it all before, it shouldn't be a big deal.  What's so distracting?"  Which seemed a little...  dismissive, I guess, of people who didn't have your comfort level.  I see now that's not what you meant, though.  Smiley

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I suppose it helps that bugs don't seem to like me much (with the exception of mosquitoes which I don't mind because a dab of anti-histamine sorts them out nicely)

All I can say is, your mosquitos much be much gentler than ours!  Cheesy  Because here, at least, you definitely feel it when you get bit.  You can dab on antihistamine later, but there's still the moment of the bite itself to contend with, and that can get pretty distracting.  (And then you get into things like chiggers that make one itchyitchyitchy, and unless you brought your antihistamine into the ritual with you...)
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« Reply #22: May 12, 2008, 01:59:02 pm »

There's the possibility of having been brought up in an environment where the human body was considered shameful.  (And both of those things might be factors that one doesn't even necessarily consciously register and process, but that are just there nonetheless, too deeply entrenched to easily shake.) 

I think the "nekkid body being shameful" is also truly one of the biggest ones in our society.  Whether one was brought up in a JCI household or not, it's pretty well accepted as the norm even if that mindset can be somewhat repressive (and potentially damaging).  And while some people can eventually get around it in their own mind, for some, that shift of mindset takes time and effort.  I think it can be potentially distracting during ritual to the practitioner if they're suddenly trying to work through a particularly strong psychological block against being unclothed.  That's probably something that would need to be worked on seperately.  Unless of course that is the purpose of the rite itself. Wink
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« Reply #23: May 12, 2008, 02:06:55 pm »

I think it can be potentially distracting during ritual to the practitioner if they're suddenly trying to work through a particularly strong psychological block against being unclothed.  That's probably something that would need to be worked on seperately.  Unless of course that is the purpose of the rite itself. Wink

*nods*  Exactly.  Which reminds me of something I think I accidentally skipped saying...  (This is not really in response to you, just a thought that resurfaced when I read your post.)  I do think that there's a point in pushing our comfort zones psychologically sometimes, when it comes right down to it.  In that sense I think I could see a use for skyclad ritual even if the participants aren't 100% comfy with it.  I'm not meaning to suggest, here, that one should always stay firmly within the boundaries of what is "normal" and usual and comfortable.  I think, though, that it becomes a problem when the fact of the nudity itself detracts from the rest of what's going on.  (And same with any other condition of ritual, really, not just nudity.)  If it becomes the focus of the ritual when it wasn't supposed to be, that's a problem IMHO and a situation in which maybe it might not be the best choice of things to do.
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« Reply #24: May 12, 2008, 02:14:21 pm »

I definately do not work 'skyclad', I'm studying Traditional Witchcraft at the moment and it's considered insulting to the gods and the spirits to appear before them naked. 
It is funny that you mention this because most evidence of more ancient practices show practicioners as being Skyclad. Take a look at older paintings, especially the one from 13th Century entitled the Sabbat, where there are 3 ladies stripping down for a ritual and the only thing they are wearing are their hats, and other than that you wouldn't know what Class(Rich, poor etc) they were. Hence, one of the points of working skyclad, in a coven anyways, is also to promote the fact that everyone is the same at that point and in that circle. Nothing to show from the material world that normally makes someone feel better than another so to speak, i.e. very expensive jewelry, very expensive designer clothing that screams EGO. Also, like I said there are multiple sources and drawings throughout history that almost always show Nude peoples dancing in a Witchcraft circle.

 
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« Reply #25: May 12, 2008, 02:47:59 pm »

It is funny that you mention this because most evidence of more ancient practices show practicioners as being Skyclad. Take a look at older paintings, especially the one from 13th Century entitled the Sabbat, where there are 3 ladies stripping down for a ritual and the only thing they are wearing are their hats, and other than that you wouldn't know what Class(Rich, poor etc) they were. Hence, one of the points of working skyclad, in a coven anyways, is also to promote the fact that everyone is the same at that point and in that circle. Nothing to show from the material world that normally makes someone feel better than another so to speak, i.e. very expensive jewelry, very expensive designer clothing that screams EGO. Also, like I said there are multiple sources and drawings throughout history that almost always show Nude peoples dancing in a Witchcraft circle.

 

yes, but those sources are to show the EVIL NASTY OMG! nature of witchcraft.

Why would I take a source seriously about one thing when I disagree with everything else?  I mean, you're not also saying "look, witches worship the devil!  see what this painting shows!" .. are you?
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« Reply #26: May 12, 2008, 03:43:42 pm »

Do or Has, anyone here worked skyclad during ritual or a working?? Does being skyclad as opposed to robed or what have you change your energies?? If so how for the + or -?? I personally was an eclectic practitioner for a number of years and always worked robed. I eventually hooked up with a Gardnerian Coven and joined with that family and started working Skyclad. In my experience I prefer working Skyclad as it is a completely different and intense energy that manifests when I do so. I have spoken with many eclectics(mostly solitaire) whom also work skyclad and prefer it. Wondering the opinion of others??

I've worked skyclad, but only alone or with my partner.  I'm not really aware of any difference in energy.  Then again, I'm comfortable enough nude (alone and with him, anyway) that I don't get much of the psychological effect others might experience.  If I was working skyclad in a group, where it would actually be pushing my limits, I can imagine there being a difference.
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« Reply #27: May 12, 2008, 03:50:03 pm »

It is funny that you mention this because most evidence of more ancient practices show practicioners as being Skyclad. Take a look at older paintings, especially the one from 13th Century entitled the Sabbat, where there are 3 ladies stripping down for a ritual and the only thing they are wearing are their hats, and other than that you wouldn't know what Class(Rich, poor etc) they were. Hence, one of the points of working skyclad, in a coven anyways, is also to promote the fact that everyone is the same at that point and in that circle. Nothing to show from the material world that normally makes someone feel better than another so to speak, i.e. very expensive jewelry, very expensive designer clothing that screams EGO. Also, like I said there are multiple sources and drawings throughout history that almost always show Nude peoples dancing in a Witchcraft circle.

You are not really taking such pictures as a serious source, do you?

First what Shadow said: oh, that's evil! and second a way to slip in some masked pornography intend in my opinion.

Like: Oh look what those evil people do! And they do it naked! So evil, just take a gooood look, that's not the way good people do things.
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« Reply #28: May 12, 2008, 03:56:32 pm »

There's also the sort of perception in our society that nudity automatically means a sexual situation, and not wanting to deal with that or not being comfortable in that kind of situation outside of a committed romantic relationship.  There's the possibility of having been brought up in an environment where the human body was considered shameful. 

To clarify, too -

I get that people think it's distracting. I get that people may have other history or bad experiences, or whatever. (I certainly have some of those too!)

But one of the things that most interests me on the witchy side is *why* that discomfort exists. I've found I tend to become a better witch (and because of that, often a better person in some meaningful way: I spend less time fretting about thing X, or have better ways to handle issue Y) when I get a good handle on the discomfort.

But doing that often involves poking at it - and even trying it, even when it's not my ideal, or it's not quite comfortable. Obviously, that's something you need to do very thoughtfully. (Have I ever been nude at a large public event? Nope. In a small coven setting? Yes, once or twice. Do I have any compulsions about changing around those people now? Nope: there's definitely a level of comfort that *stays* after that experience.)

I'm being pretty explicit about the 'witchy' above, because I do think this (i.e. "I'm uncomfortable. Hmm. *poke* Why is that? *poke some more* Odd!") is a mindset that's more prevalent in the witchcraft community rather than, say, the recon one, or even parts of the eclectic community. I've got some theories about why, and it's not that other approahes are wrong - just that it means that something that's a good tool for spotlighting discomfort so you can address it thoroughly may not make a lot of sense if that's not a particular focus/interest.
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« Reply #29: May 12, 2008, 04:19:52 pm »

But one of the things that most interests me on the witchy side is *why* that discomfort exists. I've found I tend to become a better witch (and because of that, often a better person in some meaningful way: I spend less time fretting about thing X, or have better ways to handle issue Y) when I get a good handle on the discomfort.

You got a good point there.
That is a question everyone has to answer for him/herself.

I just think some things are private. I'm not the kind of girl who would jump around naked at the beach. I just don't. I'm not uncomfy with myself though - I run around my own house naked, often enough.

I don't mind others to do like they see fit. Nudity is not the big deal over here, it seems to be in the US.
It's a pretty common sight in tv day- or nighttime, or in commercials.

For ritual I just don't see the need, because I don't buy that energy thing. 
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