The stole is a narrow band of fabric worn around the neck and hanging down in front. The stole may be quite decorative, but it is never worn just for decoration. Only certain traditions use the stole, but if you see one you can be sure that it has a meaning beyond just being "pretty".
In some groups the stole will be worn only by the Chief Priestess or Chief Priest. In others it may be worn by all initiated clergy.
In the Correllian Tradition the stole is worn by all initiated clergy, dedicants, and full OUTER COURT members, especially for more formal ceremonies. The stole is used to indicate membership, and its color and markings indicate rank.
Many different Pagan Traditions use the stole, as do some of the BOOK RELIGIONS, though for very different reasons.
Christians use the stole as the last vestige of the Roman TOGA. The Toga, originally a large cloak-like garment worn wrapped around the body, assumed the form of the stole during the BYZANTINE period, in the opening centuries of the AGE OF PISCES.
Certain Pagan Traditions of Mediterranean origin wear the stole for this same reason.
Usually however, Pagans wear the stole not as a modern version of the Roman Toga, but as a modern version of the TORC. The torc was a metal necklace used by the Celtic peoples as a symbol of initiation. the torc represented death and rebirth. The torc looks rather like a horse shoe, and it is believed that the idea of hanging horse shoes in a house to bring good luck may have arisen as a replacement for an earlier practice of hanging a torc.
In this sense then the stole represents initiation and rebirth, and the continuation of the ancient past.
The stole is cognate to the collar. Another modern version of the ancient torc, the collar is a band of cloth worn around the neck just as the torc once was. The collar may be worn when the stole is too cumbersome.
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