Week 27 (N): on nudity
Skyclad: it’s a word you might have run into in some beginner books that refers to ritual nudity. In contemporary practice, it’s primarily associated with Gardnerian tradition but is used in other paths as well. There’s also a reference to it in Aradia by Charles Godfrey Leland (a semi-historical account of Italian pagan traditions in the nineteenth century):
“And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead;”
The beauty of this verse is evident, even if Leland’s text isn’t exactly historically accurate (he was a folklorist, so the book is a mix of nonfiction and his own creations). I’m not a Gardnerian, nor do I take much from ceremonial traditions, but I do think that practicing skyclad can be a useful tool. The logic behind both Doreen Valiente’s version of “Charge of the Goddess” and Leland’s Aradia is the same: nudity represents truth, looking beyond social mores, and it is “a sign that a Witch’s loyalty is to the truth before any ideology or any comforting illusions.” (Starhawk).
Part of the importance of practicing skyclad for me also has to do with radical self love. If you can’t be comfortable in your own skin before the Goddess, when can you? I practice skyclad whenever I can, but it’s not always possible. For one thing, Massachusetts is cold six months out of the year. Also practicing in public spaces means you are unfortunately bound by social norms (and laws). But when I can, I am naked in a circle of candles, asking the Goddess to join me once again.
Week 24 (L): on (self) love spells
The biggest love of your life should be you. Gala Darling, a fashion blogger from New Zealand, originally planted the idea in my head a little more than four years ago. The idea that we should romance ourselves, court ourselves, love our selves as deeply as we love other people. To wit, I’ve been working on my own self-love spell for a while. It isn’t done, so I won’t be posting a finished ritual yet, but I figured I could at least post some things to give you ideas for crafting your own.
I knew I wanted to use kunzite and rose quartz for this spell. Kunzite is good for awakening the heart chakra and inspiring unconditional love, which is an important component of self-love. It also helps with healing heartache. Rose quartz is a good all-purpose stone, also for unconditional love. It works by siphoning off negative energy and gently transforming it into loving energy. These seemed like an ideal combination for this type of spell.
I decided that jasmine, lavender, and pink roses would make a fitting combination for herbs. Jasmine is excellent for love, and prophetic dreams as well. Lavender is my go-to, so that was a given. Roses have long been used in love magic, which is why they’re still so popular for weddings. I wanted something that smelled nice, so this combination was also chosen with that in mind. The resultant potion will be put into that lovely pink bottle pictured above. These, combined with a mala made of rose quartz on purple silk thread and that lovely pink moonstone ring of mine, were all very fitting for the goal of self-loving.
This heart-shaped hunk of rose quartz is something I use to focus when I’m meditating. I think it will also prove to be excellent for this ritual. As you might have noticed by now, this spell is heavy on the use of rose quartz, for the reasons described above. When this ritual does get done, it will be one of the most elaborate I’ve ever done. I’ve been waiting for a good full moon where I’m not busy with other things, which unfortunately has been hard to come by.
Self-love is one of the many qualities I think witches ought to possess. Self-love is something that is an ongoing journey of seeking, much like other magical skills that can be continually improved upon. Loving yourself is a journey worth taking.