Manner of Dress

This is a matter over which there is much controversy in the witch world. Many practitioners claim that the best way to work magic is the traditional way: nude.

Others, equally tradition-minded, claim that this is not necessarily the case, and that ritual robes, or tabards, should be worn. The rationale behind nudity, apart from the sheer fun of it, is that clothing inhibits the emanation of your witch power. As an explanation or justification of the belief, I have never felt it held much water. Witch power is not easily impeded by mere clothing. It passes through walls and traverses wide distances easily enough, so why should a few flimsy garments prove such a barrier to it?

No, the chief reason for the nudity is a psychological one, the state of release from tension, mundane cares, and sexual inhibition is the aim being striven for here.

So if you feel that wearing no clothes may put you in the frame of mind where your magic will work all the better, then that is what you must indeed do. Careful though! Remember prying mother-in-law. Lock the door!

However, for those who live in chilly climates or who aren't enchanted by the idea of naked frolics, the tabard is the alternative. This at its simplest is a long piece of fairly heavy black material, folded double, with a hole for the head cut at the top, poncho-wise; the sides are sewn up to within about nine inches of the top, leaving holes for the arms to pass through. The completed garment hangs to the ankles. It is belted with the girdle cord.

Many practitioners, however, prefer more complicated or flattering garments, in varying colours such as blue, violet, red, green, or white, often with the addition of a hood, or cowl, to be drawn over the head for greater impersonality during a ritual. Special sandals may be worn or the feet left bare, again as you will. However, let me advise you here should you form a coven, a certain uniformity of dress is desirable—often zealous witches will possess two robes for that very reason; a uniform one for Sabbats and Esbats, and a more individualistic one for private use.

Again your witch name and appropriate signs may be embroidered on the hem or breast of the garment if you desire, but this really isn't necessary. Indeed the tabard itself is not entirely necessary. It is merely a psychological prop to put you in the right frame of mind for magic, and all the rituals and processes can be as easily performed wearing your ordinary, everyday clothes—just as long as they don't work to your disadvantage by bringing you back down to earth again with a bump, that is.

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