Some Pagan traditions perform rituals in the nude (skyclad), but this may not be for everyone.
Going skyclad is a traditional expression for performing rituals naked, in the nude, in your birthday suit, in the buff, unclothed, disrobed… you get
the picture. It’s the most common practice today among most Pagans, originating among traditional (Gardnerian Wiccan) covens. The reasons for going skyclad are many and varied:
- Clothing blocks energy (according to some people) (Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine agree with this theory)
- Being nude represents the deep trust between coven members
- Lack of robes removes all indications of rank, and therefore places all members as equals
- Shows the level of commitment to the Craft and one’s coven
There is nothing sexual about performing rituals in the nude. You or your coven may agree with one or more of these reasons, or have other reasons altogether. The original reference to the practice of skyclad rituals comes from the 1897 text by Charles Leland, “Aradia, Gospel of the Witches”.
It’s reflected again in the more modern version, “The Charge of the Goddess”, by Doreen Valiente. The line reads: “…as a sign that you are free, you shall be naked in your rites.”
If you are a solitary, the choice is yours. Do not feel that you must go skyclad, because that’s what ‘real’ Pagans do. Feeling uncomfortable during ritual
will only detract from your purpose. So if you feel awkward being naked even though you are alone, then cover up.
If you are considering joining a coven and they perform their rituals skyclad, but you do not feel comfortable with it, find another coven. Do not expect
any group to bend their rules for you. Also, a coven that follows this practice should be upfront about it when you first approach for membership. Any
group that springs this on you after you have joined is unethical and not a group you want to be involved with.
Among Druids, The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and, the Order of the Mithril Star, are two groups that encourage the practice, although the later promotes naturism in general and not ritual nudism so much. It should be noted that neither group requires the practice. They only encourage it.