Do Witches Dance Naked Under The Moon?
We’ve all heard the tales, mysterious robed figures wandering out into the woods at night, to perform strange Pagan or Wicca rituals under the milky full moon. And surely once they get there, the tales say, they strip out of their robes, and a group of young women dance naked under the moonlight, performing heathen rituals to ancient gods. Surely these are merely the stories of undersexed drunken rumor mongers told around camp fires to entice and frighten young men and women into youthful foolishness, right?
“Do Witches really dance naked around fires under the moon?” I hear you ask. The answer is both yes and no, but the reasons they do are all too often misunderstood by those who tell the stories. Worse, they are just plain wrong, or in fact directly malicious.
Sexuality In Witchcraft
The first thing to understand about Wicca or Witchcraft, and its associated cousin and sibling faiths, is that in general there is no rule against sexuality or nudity. Sin in general is a concept alien to the faith. Instead it’s central focus being on not causing harm to others. Because there is no sin, and therefore no original sin, there is no shame associated with nudity, sexuality, or being seen by others. It’s kind of a liberating stance.
Even more importantly. It is important to recognize that Witchcraft and Wicca in general recognizes sexuality and the expression thereof as a natural and healthy part of being human. It is in fact considered to be one of their most sacred magickal rituals, and is therefore not to be entered into lightly. This is not the same thing as ‘not having sex’, and there is no charge to wait until marriage, nor to stick to a single partner. It’s merely a case of respecting yourself, and the sacredness of the act.
However, while all of this is true and relevant, this has nothing to little to do with why Witches dance naked under the moon. There is a term for this condition, and it applies to both male and females alike. Those who are celebrating their faith while disrobed are called “Skyclad”, as in, clad in nothing but the sky. It is seen as one more step of opening oneself to the world, to nature, and to the rawness of the human experience.
In those covens where skyclad worship is practiced, there is no immediate association to sex. Group sex is so rarely a part of Wiccan/Pagan ceremonial practice that it barely bears mentioning. Certainly I’ve never encountered a group where it was part of their practice, and those I’ve heard of in no way make it compulsory. This is part of the ‘respecting yourself and others’, for just as there is no religious weight to avoid sexual activity, nor is there one to participate.
So in short: Yes, SOME Witches dance naked under the moon as part of religious practices. But not all of us. Some of us are just shy, some of us are part of groups where it isn’t practiced for one reason or another.