This week's prompt: Nudity in Ritual
Do you think nudity in ritual is necessary? Old fashioned? A distraction? What role do you think it plays in your practice?
I have mixed feelings about nudity in practice. On one level I think it's completely unnecessary because it creates distraction, on another, I see how the journey of moving past our hang ups about body can serve as a vital lesson in letting go of "ego".
For my own work, nudity is not something that I practice in ritual, in group or alone, but I see how clothing can contribute to the boundaries and rhetoric of otherness that comes through comparison and the unknown. For example, how many women walk into rooms and immediately assess where they fit on the scale of the skinniest, chubbiest, prettiest, or ugliest in the room? On some levels, taking off clothing would aggravate this head game, but on others, over time hopefully, seeing other women in all their glory, would help us remember that all of our bodies are beautiful, unique, and yet the same. Though I think, given how deeply ingrained this self-talk is, this process would take a great many of us (male or female) a long time to let go of, and as such, I am grateful that it is not something I need to work on in my practice with others.
I recognize my own struggle with this issue and although I am saddened by it, I also accept it and am grateful that it isn't part of my public/shared spiritual journey. There is a great divide for me between what I can wrap my head around mentally and what I can process, in the moment, emotionally. Thus for me, nudity in ritual is not an option, which doesn't mean that on some level, I don't wish that it were; that I was more evolved to be at peace with it in my life. But alas, I am not, so this pagan will be keeping her robes on for now!