Another ancient, but somewhat misunderstood form of ritual garb is going "skyclad" -that is to say naked. This practice arises from the idea that psychic energy is restricted or inhibited by clothing, especially tight or binding clothing. As we have said, most people no longer believe this, but it was once taken very seriously.
Another reason for the idea of skyclad ritual is that since we are born naked, we are only truly "pure" when in that state. If we approach Deity nude, we are laying aside the preconceptions and prejudices of the physical world to reveal our inner, spiritual selves. By going without clothes we lay aside the social distinctions and self-deceptions which clothing often represents, opening ourselves to the light of the Goddess. This aspect is especially clear in the skyclad SADHUS of India -holy people who go naked to show that they have moved beyond the outer form to the inner essence of being.
On a more practical level, the kind of clothing that was worn in earlier times was not very practical for dancing or dealing with fire.
There are certain distinct advantages to skyclad ritual however, and it can be very good to experience it at least once. Most people have many issues about their bodies -working skyclad helps you to become familiar with your body, and to accept it as it is. Clothing and fashion impose many false and unrealistic ideas on our relationship with our bodies. By accepting our bodies as they are, we can break free of these socially imposed ideas. Also many people use clothing as a mask, placing their physical self esteem in external items of dress. But external items are purely illusory and not always under our own control: by accepting our bodies as they are we can put our self esteem where it truly belongs -within.
You are not going to encounter skyclad ritual in most Temples, but in your own personal practice -especially if you are not "model-perfect"- you may find it very liberating.
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