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Just take your clothing off, stand in a circle with other naked people, and the magic starts.

On Friday night at The Gathering for Life on Earth, there's traditionally a skyclad (nude) ritual. I go to it most years; I ran it once.

The Gathering is a lot of people's first experience being naked with other people in a non-sexual context. Sometimes it is the casual nudity of the clothing-optional site, sometimes it is dancing around the fire, sometimes it is skinny-dipping, and sometimes it is the ritual on the first night of the event.

When you go to a nude ritual with people who have done it many times before, it can be very comfortable. As they undress, they take care to fold their clothing neatly, they chat about the room's and floor's temperature, and they tease each other about footwear choices (when naked, slippers look good; gum boots, not so much). Everyone takes off all their clothing the way people usually take off shoes. No one's looking at each other's nudity, but we're not not-looking either.

I went to this year's skyclad ritual. It had a good energy, it was a lot of fun, and it started a bit of a meme for the weekend ("my legs are strong like the trunks of ancient trees"). However, I did find myself with a bit of a dilemma: I couldn't figure out what to do with my hands and arms. I couldn't remember what I usually do when I'm clothed. Clasped behind my back seemed too exposed; in front seemed like I was trying to hide. Hands at my side felt forced. Crossed over my breasts was right out as being too defensive; crossed under my breasts was rejected as an option for pushing everything up too much. I try to figure out what other people are doing, but that leads to looking at areas not normally seen, which quickly leads to not-looking.

The concern ceased to be an issue when it came time to join hands and chant and dance, but I have to remember that for future skyclad rituals I run: give people something to do with their hands. Otherwise: awkward!

Date: 2012-05-23 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cinnamonsqueak.livejournal.com
Oh hai LJ, I remember you...

<3

Thanks for sharing about the skyclad, I missed it, but I'm glad some of you didn't as it led to some interesting discussions later.

Date: 2012-05-23 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] particle-man6.livejournal.com
Well, going with the "Tree" theme, why not raise your arms over your head, a la the "Y" in YMCA the song by the Village People, and make your arms the "branches" of the tree of which your legs were the "trunks"?

Not sure what you would do with different themes, of course.

Or just watch cats and see what they do. They are always stylin'. ;)

Date: 2012-05-24 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raincitygirl.livejournal.com
"Skyclad": I like that way of describing it. It sounds like a really cool ritual, for all the awkwardness of hand-putting.

Date: 2012-05-25 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamhope.livejournal.com
It was a pretty cool ritual, and fun. The idea was that the men in the ritual pulled God energy down into the women and the women pulled Goddess energy down into the men (this is the reverse of what is traditionally done in that tradition). That was done through a series of call-and-repeats, such as:

High Priestess: Your lips taste like apples and your kisses are like wine.
All women: Your lips taste like apples and your kisses are like wine.
All men: My lips taste like apples and my kisses are like wine.

This went very well - eye contact, pretty nice energy - until halfway through the men's turn:

High Priest: Your legs are strong like the trunks of ancient trees.
One of the men: Are you kidding me?

Even in this context, comparing a naked woman's legs to tree trunks seemed like a bad idea. The men did say the line, but sort of nervously. Us women, however, decided to claim that line and sort of roared it back: My legs are strong like the trunks of ancient trees!

I think the leaders of the ritual expected the phallus line that came next to be the giggle-maker, but it passed unremarked. And that night around the fire, we stomped and chanted "ancient tree trunks" to the stars.

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