To Disrobe or not Disrobe

November 29, 2011




Personally I prefer skyclad practice to clothed practice. Although I do believe there are certain benefits to skyclad practice, it’s far from necessary, and as a magician I’m just as effective with my clothes on. The real reason I prefer skyclad practice is because that’s the way I was trained. My first teacher was a strong proponent of skyclad practice. My initial training focused on skyclad work, and it lies at the foundation of my spiritual practice. It’s to the point now where, although I don’t need it, I’m far more comfortable doing magic naked than with clothes on, and any anxiety or embarrassment I may have had over being undressed in front of others went away a long time ago.

I’ve seen articles that have weighed the pros and cons of skyclad practice, but it was never really something I ever did. I never really had a choice in the matter. My teacher knew spirituality through skyclad practice, and that’s the only way she knew how to train me. My choice wasn’t whether I wanted to practice skyclad or not, but whether I wanted to advance spiritually with the teacher that was offered to me, or not.

That wasn’t much of a choice either, because everything inside of me was telling me that I needed to be with my teacher. I could’ve said no, but that would’ve run counter to every instinct I had, and ultimately I would’ve done almost anything that she told me was in my best interest. Luckily my trust wasn’t misplaced, and she was a very good and responsible teacher, but she was definitely in a position where she could’ve taken advantage of me in a lot of different ways.

I’m guessing for most people skyclad practice isn’t much of a choice either. It all depends on what groups you’re interested in and who you want for a teacher. Out here I don’t think there is a public group that practices skyclad, so unless you know someone who’s into skyclad practice, your only choice is to practice skyclad in solitary. Some people may have the exact opposite issue, where there’s a really good group they want to join, but they require skyclad practice. The only people who need to decide whether or not to practice skyclad, really, are group founders and leaders.

If you’re considering attending a skyclad ritual or group, there are definitely some things you need to think about, but what’s probably your biggest issue, being naked in front of other people, isn’t really something that needs all that much of your time. It’s the sort of thing a person can spend weeks, even months, thinking about and going over in there head, but all of those issues will fade away within the first five minutes.

If you’re thinking about skyclad practice, but you’re nervous about being naked, the best thing you can do is just jump right in and try it out. After five minutes you won’t be nervous anymore. Also remember that this isn’t forever. Just because you undressed in front of other people doesn’t mean that you always have to be naked. If it turns out you don’t like being skyclad, you can always put your clothes back on and never take them off again.

It’s like trying a new meal. You wouldn’t spend a long time trying to figure out if you might like it or not. You’d taste it, and if you didn’t like it you just wouldn’t eat it again.

In a responsibly run setting though there’s a few reasons why you’re fears will quickly fade away:

1. Everyone else is naked too – When you’re considering taking off your clothes for the first time this never really enters your mind, and if it does you probably don’t think that it makes a difference. You’re not at all concerned about seeing someone else naked, what bothers you is them seeing you naked.

However once you’re all there and undressed, it’s like being in the changing room at the pool or taking a shower at the gym, except that it might be unisex. It’s not that bad because everyone else is naked too. You’re not being paraded around in front of leering eyes. People aren’t sizing you up. They’re just as naked, and exposed, as you are.

2. No one cares that you’re naked – In a responsibly run group, no one is going to care that you’re naked. If anything, the other participants are more concerned about being seen naked than seeing someone else naked. The more experienced members though are probably going to be comfortable in their skin, and treat you exactly the same as if you were fully clothed.

This also means that no ones going to be looking at you lustfully, and there’s not going to be anything to be ashamed about. Which leads right into number 3-

3. Everyone’s body has issues – Because we usually only ever see ourselves naked, and maybe a significant other, we get this idea in our head that our physical imperfections are rare, and so we want to cover them with clothes. We don’t want other people to know exactly how ugly we really are.

Once everybody is naked though, you start to see that very few people are perfect. Some people are a little overweight. Some are a lot. People have cellulite. Breasts are sometimes uneven. Or small. Penises are small. People have back zits. Some women have large feet. Some men have very small womanly feet. With most people things tend to be more saggy than firm. Even a lot of the very few people who look absolutely fantastic naked have managed to find miniscule flaws that nobody else will ever notice to be ashamed about.

Once you notice that everybody else has issues, it makes it a lot easier to accept your own. You also start to notice that nobody even cares, and probably even notices, whatever is wrong with your body. They’re too busy worrying about their own.

This is actually one of the benefits of skyclad practice. It promotes a more positive body image.

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The biggest issue with practicing skyclad is finding a good group of people to do that with. You don’t want to have a bad first experience, where a bunch of folks are eyeing you over and trying to get into your pants, or rather that patch of sky which covers your genitals. Even worse you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ll be pressured into sexual acts, or worse yet possibly raped.

Before you practice skyclad, you should find a person or group that you feel comfortable with. You should be able to get to know the group socially, figure out what they’re about spiritually, and spend enough time with them to have some level of comfort. As a general rule, if you were alone at a party with just these people, and you wouldn’t feel comfortable getting completely trashed with them, you probably shouldn’t be doing any skyclad work with them either.

Outside of the odd ritual or event that draws people from all over, any skyclad group should offer prospective attendees a chance to meet with everyone, clothed, before they attend a skyclad function. This not only allows potential members an opportunity to get comfortable enough with the group to take their clothes off, but it also allows the group to screen potential members before they’re put into a sensitive situation. After all, even if you were comfortable with the group, you probably aren’t going to be comfortable if the group leader lets just anyone who answers their craigslist ad attend the skyclad ritual.

I’d be very wary of any group where you aren’t at least allowed to meet the leadership first while everyone is wearing clothes. Even if you are allowed to keep your clothes on, it’s usually a bad sign when the group leader wants to be naked when you first meet.

It’s also a good idea to ask about the degree of sexuality inherent in their rituals. Just because a ritual contains some sexual aspects it’s not necessarily a bad sign. Many rituals utilize various degrees of symbolic sex. However you want to make sure you aren’t walking into an orgy, since that will probably be a bad experience for you. You also want to make sure the group isn’t doing anything that would make you feel uncomfortable.

In this regard everyone is going to have different limits. Some may be okay with light touching, others may not. Some may be okay with the ritual leaders performing more sexualized acts than what is expected of typical attendees, others may not.

You should also get a straight answer from the group leader if you’re going to be expected to touch anyone’s genitals with any part of your body or have anyone else touch your genitals during the ritual. If they say yes, it’s a really bad sign. There’s a time and a place for rituals like that, but it’s usually going to be between two romantically entangled partners, or with a small tightly knit group that has no romantic entanglements. It’s not the sort of thing that should be happening during larger, general rituals.

Also try to (subtly) question members of the group about the sexual practices of its members. Things you want to look out for are groups where all of the members seem to be pushing for polyamory, and groups where it seems like people are constantly swapping partners. Also look out for groups where members are a little too open with strangers about fringe sexual practices, like BDSM or furry costumes, especially when almost all of the members of the group practice the same fringe sexual practices.

These are usually signs that although the group rituals may not be overly sexualized, the group itself does have an undercurrent of sexual recruitment, and the skyclad practice may just be a way to ease you into that.

The best way to join such a group though is to make friends in the group before you join up. Try to talk to some of the people already attending the group you might get along with. Go out to dinner with them a few times, or invite them over for a little while. You can even try doing some spiritual work with them. This way you can build up a relationship with someone already in the group and come to trust them. Then when it comes time to take your clothes off, you won’t be all alone in a large group of naked strangers.


Sex, Nudity, Magick, and Community Participation.

January 13, 2011

One of the more appalling aspects of the community, for me anyways, are people getting taken advantage of sexually. And it’s not that I don’t care or think its not as bad when people are taken advantage of another way, like say financially. It’s that people getting taken advantage of sexually, at least from what I’ve seen, is a much bigger problem in the community, partly because the behavior has become somewhat acceptable in the community.

I’m a very strong proponent of both sex magick and skyclad practice. Sex magick is a valid form of magical practice. It can yield results and their are a lot of unique aspects to it and interesting things to try. Inside of the right environment and with the right partners it can be a very spiritually rewarding experience. Plus I really like both sex and magick. In my eyes the fellow who first put the two together is a genius of the same caliber as the guy who thought to put a hamburger patty inside of two Krispy Kreme donuts.

As for skyclad practice, I’ve practiced skyclad in the past and actually prefer skyclad practice. I think it’s a spiritually beneficial practice and the positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones. I also think that there may be other non-spiritual advantages for at least some people, such as increased self-esteem and a more positive body image. Plus I think whatever it is you happen to be doing, you’d probably enjoy doing it more if you were naked.

Good luck putting together a skyclad group though (unless you hope to include only gay men or straight women). It’s even getting hard to have a serious discussion about sex magic in a group. And the big reason why we can’t have these things, why people aren’t willing to participate or at least experiment and try these things, is because we allow sexual predation in the community.

Most women are at least a little bit cautious about putting themselves into situations where they might be raped in some way. Most straight men won’t show up to a skyclad ritual unless there are at least a few women, which usually has more to do with either a fear of being tricked into showing up to a gay orgy or a fear of being labeled gay because they attended the event. And there are valid reasons for both men and women to be cautious of being raped or otherwise sexually used by both men and women, since sexual predators can be either gender and of any of any sexual orientation.

And attending an event where you and everyone else is expected to be naked isn’t really the safest situation not to get raped in. The only people who will attend those types of events (without some kind of manipulation at least) are people who feel relatively safe within the group, or people who would actually like to have sex with everyone present, men and women.

With a large mixed gender group of a dozen or more people, most people under normal circumstances would feel safe. In a group that large, you would expect that if one person grabbed you and tried to take you somewhere, or tried to rape you right in front of everyone, or even tried to take advantage of you, that the rest of the group would be completely appalled by their behavior. Not only would they defend you against the individual, but the individual would be ostracized from the group, and the group would cooperate with police which would probably result in the person being punished and ending up in prison.

That’s the case with a normal group. Not with a magical group. Go look at some magical groups within your local community. Within a lot of these groups, there is sexual predation happening, and the other group members accept this. Within the larger community there is also sexual predation happening which individual practitioners also accept. This may not be outright rape, but it’s still predation and it’s still wrong. The fact that this happens doesn’t inspire people to believe that if an outright rape did happen that the other participants would help them at all. They might allow it to happen, and even help to cover up the fact that it did happen. Even if that isn’t the case, it’s implied by the fact that they allow lesser offenses to happen.

Think about it, how many group leaders, teachers, and supposed community elders are requiring sex from certain people for initiation or teaching or other services? How many people are using spiritual arguments to convince people into sleeping with them that normally wouldn’t? How many people are playfully groping or touching others in ways that make them feel uncomfortable? And how much disgust do we see because of these behaviors?

Seriously I can’t remember the last time someone in the community, man or woman, talked about this stuff and was really upset that it was happening to someone else. Meanwhile I can’t even begin to count the amount of times people have jokingly referred to an older group leader’s habit of sexual initiations with teenage girls while at the same time having the utmost reverence and respect for him (and yes there was a specific guy like this in my local community to which I’m referring, who is still very well respected, but fortunately dead now).

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that many people look at alternative (ie non-Christian) spiritualities as doing away with a lot of oppressions, one of the big ones being sexual oppressions. Under our new spiritual beliefs sex is no longer typically a bad thing. Premarital sex is okay. Casual sex is okay. Homosexual sex is okay. Alternate sexual practices are okay. We come to the conclusion that the rules against sex inherent to Christianity and other religions were created for no other reason but to repress us and limit our pleasure, and not put into place because of some valid (at least at the time) concerns about certain sexual practices. Ultimately a lot of us have come to the conclusion that any kind of consensual sex, at least in regards to legal adults, is okay or even righteous and beautiful and shouldn’t be judged.

But that is simply not the case. Sex is not always an amoral act. Sex can be a very hurtful and destructive act, and engaging in consensual sex can be wrong.

There are of course little wrongs and big wrongs. People make mistakes within romantic relationships and other people get hurt, and sex is part of that. We’d all have to remain celibate and never so much as entertain the idea of dating anyone ever if we want to be safe from screwing up and risk hurting other people. At the same time I think most sexually active people can think of a time when they shouldn’t have slept with someone or did some other sexual act with them because it hurt someone they cared about.

The problem is the big wrongs. These are things any moral person knows is wrong before they do it, where they know they’re going to hurt the other person, and they do it anyways because they don’t care. When a person in their forties is having sex with an eighteen year old, there is something very wrong with that sexual relationship. We know the eighteen year old is being manipulated and taken advantage of.

Sexual harassment is wrong. It’s not wrong to express attraction or sexuality and people do sometimes get their signals crossed and maybe overstep a boundary and do something that is unwelcomed. However when a person makes it clear that certain advances or acts are unwelcomed and the second person continues to do them anyways, or when a person is put into a situation where they’re intimidated or otherwise led into believing that it would be unwise for them to express their discomfort this is harassment, and it’s wrong.

Basically any time that you get someone to have sex with you for any reason other then the fact that they like you, find you attractive, and want to have sex with you it’s wrong. When someone uses spirituality or spiritual arguments to have sex with someone else, that is wrong. In my eyes that’s one of the worst things you can do spiritually, because you’re trading your spirituality to almost rape someone.

We all know this argument. It’s used by lots of different predators. They use it to convince straight people to experiment and have homosexual sex. They use it to convince young people to have sex with old people. They use it to convince attractive people to have sex with overweight withered old hags. They use it to convince people to be polyamorous. They use it to convince people to engage in deviant sexual acts they normally would never want to try.

The arguments usually come in the forms of moving beyond your boundaries and doing things you normally wouldn’t do, or things that may outright disgust you, because this will give you greater magical power. I’ve also seen arguments along the lines of you should be willing to have sex with anybody because it will open up your options in regards to things like having sex with a demon possessed person during a ritual.

It’s one thing if a person makes the decision on their own that they would like to try new sexual acts they normally wouldn’t because they believe this may improve their spiritual self and then they go and seek out those acts. It’s another thing for a person to try to convince another of this for the sole purpose of having sex with them (under no circumstances should you ever take advice about who you should have sex with from someone who wants to have sex with you, unless they’re your spouse).

It’s also wrong for someone to withhold spiritual training, teaching or initiation from someone unless they have sex with them. It’s also wrong to try to convince someone that the only way to follow their spiritual path, reach their true potential, or achieve true initiation is through sex or a sexual act.

Most of the people in the community are not sexual predators. Most of us know these acts are wrong and would never do them or participate in them. The problem is that the vast majority of the community tolerates this behavior, or at best remains silent about it. And we shouldn’t do that, if not because it’s wrong then because we all end up labeled as sexual predators and we are all ultimately punished when we are no longer allowed to do or even talk about anything spiritually that may involve nudity or sex because no one will show up to our group or function because of it.

What we need to do is very simple. If we don’t tolerate this behavior, it will get better. If someone in your group, even a leader, is taking sexual advantage of people speak out against them. Talk to other members of the group, speak with their intended victims and offer your advice, and confront the person. And if the group does not kick the person out and make it clear that there behavior won’t be tolerated, leave and take as many members as you can with you.

If you know that the local shop owner or someone on their staff is taking sexual advantage of people, stop shopping there and inform as many customers as you can.

If you know someone is a sexual predator, don’t associate with them. Don’t allow them into your group. Don’t allow them at your functions. Make it very clear that you are not going to associate with them, and that you look disfavorably on anyone who does.

When people make light of and are generally accepting of a situation involving sexual predation, confront them about it. Make a scene and make them ashamed of the way they’re acting. Make it clear that they are doing something wrong by accepting this behavior, even if they aren’t the perpetrator, and that people in the community like yourself find this unacceptable.

And above all, talk about these things. With sexual predation or any other type of manipulation or fraud in the community, the thing that allows these people to continue to get away with this stuff is that people in the community don’t talk. The largest communities out there are still fairly small, small enough that word of mouth can move through them very fast. If you know someone is a sexual predator or if you know a group allows sexual predation, tell everyone you know. Ruin their reputation. I don’t understand it with all of the drama and bullshit and rumors floating around the community, but when it’s something important like a high priest/ess that rapes new initiates, no one ever wants to gossip about it.

We need to cut off membership to the groups that support this behavior. We need to stop shopping at stores that support this kind of behavior. And we need to ostracize and make it clear that no respectable person in the community will associate with or help people that are sexual predators. When we do this the worst of the predators will be kicked out of the community, and the rest will at least be restrained out of a fear that their actions will have very serious consequences.

BTW I apologize for the series of community rants that has recentally overtaken my blog. Next up I promise something that specifically deals with practical magic. Expect either a spell or ritual of some sort or an article on the properties of common herbs.


Magick Au Natural (or Skyclad), A Primer

March 16, 2009

What is Skyclad Magick

skyclad-ritual

Skyclad Magick is any working which is done nude (in other words clad only by the sky, although the term also encompasses indoor workings, which semantically should be called tracklightclad), whether these workings are done as a group or as solitary workings.

Skyclad also encompasses several different definitions. Some define Skyclad, most basically, as being without any kind of clothing. Others define it as also being without make-up, perfumes, deodorant, or shampoo. And others include those clothed in body paint as being skyclad.

The History of Skycladskyclad

It’d be nice if there was a long and revered history of ritual nudity to point to in arguing for skyclad practices, but none really exists. Although we see nudity practiced in some obscure forms of Eastern religions, we don’t see it in any of the ones that have had a major influence on the west. In the western world we can suppose that there has, in the past, been ritual nudity. Humans were most likely practicing some sort of ritual prior to the invention of clothing. We do know some of the Greeks and Romans were rather decadent and liked there orgies, and that there were probably some spiritual undertones in some of there orgy havings. But whatever was done then is largely lost, and we don’t see any clear lineage from those earlier rituals (which were small and minority rituals) up to the modern day.

Until the middle of the 20th century, Western occultism was practiced clothed. There is no evidence that traditional witches ever practiced in the nude. Ceremonial magicians have always practiced clothed. Even Allister Crowley, known for combining his sexual wants with his ritual practices, never managed to get into nude rituals, more than likely because he was too busy trying to convince male friends to have anal intercourse with him for reasons that meant he was still entirely heterosexual. There are some spells in the old grimoires that were meant to make groups of women or groups of people dance around in the nude, but that was not a part of the ritual, but rather the end result of it, after which the practitioner could then watch them dancing in the nude.

Skyclad magick and ritual nudity was pretty much spearheaded by Gerald Gardener, the founder of Wicca. The theological basis for Gardener’s skyclad rituals were based in negative Christian folklore about witches which supposed them to do secret nude rituals, and also in a mistranslation of a line in the Aradia of the Witches. It should be noted though that Gardener had a host of sexual fetishes, and that he used his spiritual position as a founder of a religion in order to recruit willing partners to participate in his fantasies which also included female domination and sado-machosism, and that he would grasp at spiritual straws to justify these acts.

After Gardener had come along, a lot of other folks started incorporating skyclad rituals into their own religions. Skyclad rituals meshed very well with the hippie movement that eventually invaded and took over most of the neopagan religions and also liked running around naked.

In recent years skyclad practices have largely fallen out of vogue. Even many Gardnerian Wiccans, who claim to practice the original form of Wicca created by Gardener, don’t practice skyclad, and they don’t follow a lot of Gardener’s more sexualized practices either. Most of the rituals that were originally meant to be done in the nude are now done clothed.

The Magick of Equality: Does Nudity Make Us Equals

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A point generally brought up by pro-skyclad Wiccans is that nudity makes us equals. We no longer have the class system attached to us. We aren’t separated between those who can afford nice clothes and those who can’t. This lack of separation would also happen if we replaced naked with modest robes.

Unfortunately beyond flashy clothes, skyclad doesn’t do much to make us equals. Some people are still pretty, and some are fat, and no amount of clothing, or lack thereof, is going to help the situation. Some of us are going to be more powerful than others. The regular religious hierarchies that exist tend to exist while naked the same as when clothed.

Cloth & Color: A Minor Variable Sidestepped

altarskyclad

It should be noted that the most magickal possessions most people possess (other than their bed), are their clothes. Experienced practitioners are more likely than most to have an object which puts their clothes to shame, but at the same time their clothes are going to be even more magickal than what is typical among non-practitioners. Our emotion and our energy, through out the day, taints our clothes. Washing our clothes helps, although it doesn’t nearly do enough insofar as cleansing them. The longer the clothes have been worn, the more powerful they may be. And our clothes, in turn, may taint or otherwise affect both ourselves or the ritual. When we enter a ritual clothed, we’re never entering a ritual clean. Many books recommend not only preritual baths and cleansings, but also special clean garments only adorned during ritual for this very reason.

Secondly, color is another variable. Some practitioners discard color altogether because it is not as strong a symbolism as some would like. Color does however have an, albeit minor, effect on magick workings. Some books and practitioners swear by being draped in the proper colors for the spell at hand.

However clothing and color are both minor variables in determining the success and power of ones magick. Neither is so great a factor that it can’t be overcome, or can only be over come with great effort. There are of course exceptions. Sometimes an article of clothing can become so energized that it will have a very serious effect on the ritual. However this problem can be solved simply by wearing something else.

Still, it should be noted that these things can affect ritual, and that by practicing skyclad these variables no longer need to be considered.

Simplicity, Primality, Transformation, and Butt-Nakedness

Nakedness is our most natural state of dress. It’s how we come into this world. It’s how we survived as a species prior to the advent of clothing. Our clothing ads another layer to ourselves, another level of complexity. Typically within magick and ritual one moves towards simplicity rather than complexity, one tries to remove as many layers from the problem as possible. Simplicity is seen as the better and more powerful state, the natural state of things within the universe, and it’s easiest to work ones will when that will is worked in the natural directions of the universe, not against it.

Naked, being both our natural state and primary state, allows us to become more primal in our being. For some being naked means tapping into a more primary, animalistic state. For others it is just being more free, less inhibited, and a closer approximation to their true self. In any case, in this state a practitioner’s energy is more raw, less encumbered and tainted, and the practitioner experiences a greater degree of focus and their will and desires are better focused, all of this making spellwork easier and more successful.

Finally some practitioners may use nudity as a trigger to transform them from one state to another. To move from their normal selves to their more magickal selves. To help them cast away, temporarily, their anchors and ties into the real and solid world and move into a less solid more magickal state where more things are possible. Conditioned properly, a practitioner can see a dramatic transformation between a clothed and naked state, and can amass this power with less work than what would typically be required. However one should be careful utilizing this method. There are definite drawbacks to not being able to tap most of your power unless you’re naked.

Intimacy, Nudity, and Bonding

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Most people see nudity as an intimate act. For most of us, the first people of an opposite gender who saw us naked after puberty started was a person who we engaged in some intimate carnal act with. For most of us, most of the people of the opposite gender who see us naked are people we are intimately involved with. For a lot of people, nudity is directly tied to sex. For a lot of people, casual and non-utilitarian nudity is only something that occurs between two people who are sexually involved with each other.

The point being, for a large part nudity and intimacy are one in the same. Therefor when a ritual is performed skyclad there is an added degree of intimacy between the participants, even if they don’t know each other very well. With a regular group, this intimacy helps with group bonding. But even with strangers who will never meet again, nudity will help them connect together, become one, and work the ritual as a single whole rather than a group of individuals. The individual members will also find it easier to connect to one and another, and psychic links will more easily form between them, once again making it easier for the individuals to work as a group.

Symbolism of Nudity and Opening the 3rd Eye

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When we’re naked, we’re exposed. We’ve completely opened ourselves up and exposed ourselves to everything in the nearby area. This is a literal truth on the physical level. But is also symbolic of opening ourselves up and exposing ourselves emotionally (thus intimacy, as explained above), and also opening ourselves up spiritually. Being naked is symbolic of letting down a shield, and both exposing ourselves and opening ourselves up to our surrounding environment. Especially when the symbolism of the event is acknowledged, this will make it easier for the practitioner to experience the metaphysical. For lack of a better way to describe it, it will make them more psychic and more empathic.

Sacred Nudity and Reverence

Most of us, when we present ourselves to a god, we want to present ourselves in an acceptable way. The situation may not always allow this. We might need to contact a deity right now, and we can’t wait to take a shower or dress ourselves properly. The gods understand this. But a lot for the time we do have time. And then there’s the question of how should we present ourselves. Likewise even when we don’t use a god, when we do magick most of us would like to present ourselves in a way that is becoming of the sacredness of the event.

If we have sacred clothes, like ceremonial robes, this might do. If not, we’d usually lean towards nice, clean clothes. What nice means though would be very subjective. Some might define that as expensive suits and dresses. Others as unfaded jeans and a favorite t-shirt. Some will argue that you should always address the gods in Renfair costumes, regardless of the fact that almost every god predates the renaissance style of dress, the style was only in vogue in certain regions of Western Europe and is thus regionally inappropriate for most gods, and that Renfair costumes typically lack accuracy.

Nudity is, however, always appropriate for presentation to a deity or a sacred event. Nudity is a sacred state of being. As already mentioned it’s how we come into this world. When we disrobe we’re also gracing those around us with the beauty of our physical form. We are making a sacrifice of our modesty so that others may take pleasure in our natural form. We are showing reverence to and making a gift to those around us, be they other humans, entities, or gods. When we are naked, we’re always in a sacred state. The sacredness of that state is only lost when we attempt to hide or cover ourselves, or when we try to stop or otherwise punish others for looking at us or particular body parts, staring at us, or having impure thoughts about us. When we disrobe and present ourselves as such it is a sacred gift given onto the recipient, to be used as they please and not to be taken back.

Nudity and Sexual Energy

Nudity can be utilized within ritual in order to raise sexual energy. When you get a bunch of people together, running around naked, they start getting horny, and before long you get a bunch of sexual energy that can be used and manipulated in the spellwork. For best results you want as many pretty people, both men and women, in the group as possible. Pretty people turn other people on. Ugly people may turn other people on, but not as much. Youth is also good, young people tend to have much stronger sex drives and more sexually repressed energy. You may also have much better results if participants agree to refrain from sexual acts or masturbation for a period preceding the ritual. Three days is a good amount of time. Likewise you’ll get better results if flirting and some petting is allowed during the time of the ritual, of course you don’t want anyone having orgasms during the ritual, since that would be counterproductive, you just want them getting about as close as you can get them.

In a setting like this, energy can easily be raised, even among those who are not very good at energy manipulation, by normally mundane acts like dancing around each other and various games and activities that involve touching and caressing each other.

Orgies

Generally, if you want to raise sexual energy, don’t have sex. There is a point within an orgasm when the energy will hit peak and will be at its strongest for the individual. This only lasts for a moment though, and grasping and manipulating this energy is a difficult feat. It can be done, but it is typically beyond the ability of most practitioners and beyond the scope of most rituals. But there are other things that can be done with ritual orgies, everything from connecting the group as one to amassing the energies to some ends to simply reveling in a state of primal and uncompromising sexual ecstasy and desire. I do think that this is, however, far to vast an area to go into detail in the scope of this essay.

Being Naked — Just Because

Of course there is something to be said for being naked just because. It is a sacred state of being, and so being naked is sacred. It can be its own ends, rather than a means to something else. It can be a spiritual experience in and of itself. Or possibly just something one enjoys doing. To be exposed, open, uninhibited, intimate, free, primal, and sacred all at once.


Lady Godiva and Other Thoughts

August 21, 2006

lady-godiva.jpg

In the myth of Lady Godiva, (and it is considered a myth. Although she really did exist, what happened on her famous ride, if it even happened at all, is disputed) the beautiful Lady Godiva took pity on the peasentry which was overtaxed by her husband. Her husband agreed to lift the taxes if she would ride through town naked, thinking she would never do it.

But of course she did, and the peasentry who loved her dared not gaze at her, and none saw more than her beautiful legs. And her husband lifted the taxes.

In many ways, the Godiva myth can be seen as a symbolic representation of the universe. In this interpetation, Lady Godiva is the inner mysteries, what lies behind the veil, the secrets to life, the universe, and everything.

Godiva is beautiful, and she is presenting herself to the town in full view, completely exposed, for all to see her as she truly is. But most choose not to look at her, and those that do look mostly just glimpse some small part of her (like her legs).

And much like Lady Godiva, feminists have tried to hijack the inner mysteries as their own.

But that’s the thing. There’s no reason not to look at Lady Godiva, and there’s no reason not to see what lies beyond the viels. It’s presenting itself to be viewed, and it’s beautiful, and there is nothing inherently sinful with apprieciating beauty.

It’s rare in classic Greek works to see the gods depicted in the nude. It was considered profane to depict a deity nude through-out most of Greek history. In contrast though, the Romans regularly depicted their deities in the nude and never saw it as profane. Nowadays some of the Greek deities are depicted nude due to the Roman influence.

A deity is something of great beauty. Even deities who have forms which are not usually considered beautiful, or are considered horrific, are beautiful. They are divine in nature, and there is a divine beauty about them. A deity depicted nude is completely exposing the form of that deity, they are something very beautiful, and to some extent their beauty is there to be apprieciated.

And there’s a parellel between that and human nudity. The human figure is something that is beautiful and should be apprieciated as such. There is a lot of stuff out there on skyclad magick, and there are some very powerful applications of nudity within magick. However there is a lot of idiocy on the subject too. And it’s become somewhat taboo to talk about.

This isn’t to say that the gods want you prancing around the woods naked in service to them. But there is nothing wrong with exposing oneself completely to ones gods so that your complete beauty can be apprieciated by them. Such an act would be sacred nudity.

There is a difference between magickal nudity and sacred nudity. The former is done as a means to an end, it is done for a cause and effect relationship. The nudity will help make something happen or result in some power being gained. Sacred nudity isn’t about making anything happen or gaining any power. It is simply nudity for spiritual reasons. Sacred nudity isn’t the means, but an end.

There also isn’t anything wrong with a group of practitioners operating in the nude for no other reason but so that each could allow the others to apprieciate their complete beauty. That too would be sacred nudity. The fact that one person may apprieciate the beauty of another’s form, that it may have some vouyeristic appeal to it, does not make the act less sacred. The opposite would be true, the act of apprieciation would make the nudity sacred.


Shielding, Part II

June 13, 2006

Let me apologize for the typos in part I. Ick.

In the last part I had mentioned that the first thing a person should learn to do is take down their shields. So how do you do that?

Here’s a simple exercise. Get four very close friends of mixed genders. Now relax yourself and remain relaxed. Now take off all of your clothes, and without covering any part of you tell your friends every secret you have about yourself, everything you think and feel about them, and be absolutely honest about everything and make no effort not to share or hide anything. Don’t be nervous or shy, be relaxed and let everything just go right through you. After you’ve done this, repeat the exercise with four strangers.

Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but if you did it and continued to live your life in that manner for a period of time, it would probably work. Realistically though most of us will choose a path that is a bit slower. But then again, some people are probably turned on by the idea of being naked in front of four strangers while telling all of their deepest, darkest secrets.

But this method is the basics of what needs to be done. The barriers we have put up to hide behind need to be taken down. We need to expose ourselves completely and leave ourselves completely vulnerable, and let everything pass through us and come out as it develops. This is a state of being without any kind of defense.

Not only do we have to work on taking down the shields that protect us from others, be we also need to work on taking down the shields that we use on ourselves. We need to be able to expose ourselves completely to ourselves. This means taking the time to look at exactly what we are, what are personality really is, and what our flaws are. And we need to be brutally honest about exactly what we are and not try to shy away from it, or justify it, or repress it, or hide behind something else, but rather admit to it. Until we know the truth about ourselves, we can’t be honest about what we are to others.

It also means being comfortable with ourselves, both physically and mentally. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the type of person we are, nor should we be ashamed of our bodies. You don’t have to be a saint, everyone has their issues. Likewise you don’t have to look pretty, you can be completely hideous. But you need to be able to deal with that and accept that and be proud of what you are regardless of what that is. And of course, once you’re completely comfortable with what you are, it’s going to be so much easier to stand naked in front of four strangers while telling them everything about yourself.

I’m not encouraging people to try the above exercise, even though it would probably work.

The next step, once you’ve managed to be honest and comfortable with yourself, is to expose yourself to others (metaphorically!). Be honest with people. Tell them how you really feel. Let them know about you, the stuff you normally don’t tell anyone.

The problem here is that everyone is different. Some people have very light shields and are usually very honest. Other people have very thick shields and try to keep everyone out. You have to be self-aware and honest enough with yourself to identify what it is about you that you keep from others. It isn’t enough to just be honest about the things you’re willing to be honest about. You have to find the things you would never want the other person to know about you or see in you, and expose them to that. Try to have a more intimate relationship with most people.

And I don’t like mentioning nudity because of the reputation it has within the magick community, but this is an area where it can be very useful. With people who are very modest it’s almost necessary that they expose themselves sometime within this process. But even for most people, casual nudity is something that is generally regarded as very intimate and reserved for only a handful of people. Because of that it can really speed up the process and help with taking down ones shields. On the other hand, if a person is a nudist, it probably won’t help them at all. But they’ll probably want to do all of this naked anyways.

Okay, next time I’ll talk about putting the shields back up. You should probably wait for that before taking them down completely.