(Spiritual nudism from a pagan point of view.)
Yes. I’m a pagan. I tend to lean towards the Druid path, but that’s not so important here.
Pagans want to connect with nature, want to live in harmony with nature. That is important to them. Often pagans come together to perform rituals, and at times these rituals are done ‘skyclad‘. This is what it says: you only wear the sky, the air around you. In other words: we’re nude:
Spirituality is important to me, as it is for most pagans. It has nothing to do with religion, even when the connection between the two is easily made. Each can exist without the other, although many will not agree with that statement.
Spirituality, for me, is the touching of spirits. The spirit(s) of nature touching the spirit in me. For that I like to be in nature. You don’t go in the cellar to look for something you know is in the attic. The feeling of ‘nature’ at large is something that keeps amazing me. All that variety, all that power in things small and large, it’s fabulous. It is all there, you just have to open your eyes to it.
It becomes even more so when I experience that natural spirit in the most natural state: naked. It makes a difference. Feeling the ground beneath my feet restores my connection to the earth. Feeling the wind on my skin connects me in the most direct way to air. When the sun shines and warms me, that is where fire comes into play, and when I swim or when it rains on me, the element of water is there.
Of course, you can go into nature fully clothed and experience the spirits that way. Over time though, I have learnt that this would be the same as touching the skin of a loved one with gloves on; making love fully dressed; watching the eyes of a beloved through a reflection in a dirty mirror. That makes it all second hand, indirect, circumstantial.
“But in the wind you get cold. In the rain it’s even worse, you get wet and cold.”
True, those things can happen. Those things need to happen, they are also things that go around in nature. Not everything is pretty and the way we want, animals don’t stay cute and young – they grow and die. Flowers don’t remain in full bloom – they wither and waste away. So feeling some cold… well, depending on the season (this is where common sense comes in) won’t kill you. Feeling some rain won’t kill you.
This is what make naturism important to me; the direct contact with everything in nature. Feeling the bark of a tree against your bare back when you lean against it is so different from when you wear a shirt. Sitting in the grass with your naked behind: the same thing.
Being naked in nature also shows you your place, whether you like it or not. With your shoes and your gear you can trample through all kinds of rough terrain, disregard nettles and thorns. Naked, you will watch twice where you go because nettles and thorns will sting. You start to be much more considerate of everything there is. And once you’ve reached that awareness, you can reach the spirit of nature much easier than when you go in with your textile suit of armour.
Maybe you don’t like the idea of feeling that weak when you’re in nature. Man, after all, has ‘conquered’ nature, is the ‘master of things’. That is where so much modern thinking goes wrong. Man, master of things, can’t do a thing against an earthquake or a hurricane or a tsunami. Those are the large scale matters that show us our place.
Isn’t it better to start on the small scale, among the nettles and the thorns, to learn where we belong, so we don’t abuse the spirit of the place? So that we understand the spirit of the world, of the universe, as it connects to our own?