Since launching the Gaia Project in 2011 Orly Faya has painted people into landscapes all around the world.
Each ‘merging’ as she refers to the body paintings is a unique experience for both the subject and the artist.
A true naturist will be offended by that title. And still I have a meaning with it, otherwise I wouldn’t write it this way.
What is ‘nature’ and the ‘natural’ that comes from it?
Of course there’s nature which is all around us. That’s natural, but many people don’t recognise it as such any more. (Televisions, cars and computers, those are the real natural things.)
Then we have the way someone grew up, how his or her ‘nature’ was formed. Modern day culture is dressed. From the minute you were born until you’re in the wooden box – everything’s covered, clothed. That is nature for most people, and giving that a 180 degree turn by taking off everything and going through life as nude as possible is quite a change. Many people just can’t take that because of their conditioning.
Without clothes these people will never feel good. They’re used to being dressed and covered. They have to. It’s their nature.
I say: leave these people in their dressed value, take them as they are. And let’s hope that they can leave us in our undressed value as well. It would be a sign of their open mind.
I think that one of the biggest problems of today is that people are closed-minded “by nature”. By their environment, by the dogmas that are tossed onto them, by interpretations of religion, by the sad but true conviction that nudity is bad. “Sinful” even, as nudism/naturism these days is so often 1 on 1 connected to sex and porn, while it has nothing to do with that.
Being nude for no other reason than to be nude means being in direct and constant touch with your skin, and that again means being in touch with nature itself, something that most people these days seem to be scared of, or have forgotten/repressed. If something is not sterilised and wrapped in 3 layers of plastic, it’s unhealthy. Many kids in schools these days don’t dare to drink milk from a cow, because “real milk comes from the factory”. You don’t get your hands dirty any more, you wear gloves and a ton of protective clothing that needs to be cleaned afterwards.
Getting dirty when you’re nude means you wash yourself afterwards. That’s all there is to it. No attack on nature with the detergents needed for cleaning clothes, no disposable things (unless you need something to stay safe and/or in one piece).
There should nothing wrong with being naked, as long as others aren’t bothered by it. Let’s start with being nude in nature, in an uninhibited way. Everyone’s seen a naked body, and when you meet someone who’s nude you can see that this person literally has nothing to hide.
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?