Ponsoo Magoo was a Cat Priestess in a previous life. Now he's an initiate of the Hedgehog Clan, and seeks to explain Wicca to everyday folk.
Wiccans Wear Whatever They Want
The short and sweet answer to the question, "What do Wiccans wear?" is simple. We wear whatever we like. And I'm not being facetious. It's the plain truth.
Right now I'm wearing pink satin knickers, a Greek toga, a motorcycle helmet, and a pair of ancient rubber boots.
But perhaps I need to explain. Because it doesn't mean we don't care about clothes, or that we all wear the same kind of things, even when we do magic.
We have principles which guide our choice of clothes whether working the day job, working in the magic circle, or chillaxing on the beach with a Martini soda.
Go on, let me explain. It won't take long and it's quite fun.
Wiccan Ritual Clothing
How Do Wiccans Decide What to Wear?
In Wicca, we have a rule. We're not too keen on rules as a rule, so we only have one.
It's an ethical principle to which we try to adhere. It's the way we decide what we can and can't, should and shouldn't, do.
You know, like many Christians have, "What would Jesus do?" as a guiding principle, along with maybe the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you).
The Wiccan version is like the Golden Rule, but not quite the same.
We call it the "Wiccan Rede."
Rede is an Old English word which just means good advice. So, it's thought of as good advice for practising Wiccans (the more we practice, the better we get, you know).
And it’s this:
"An' it harm none, do what ye will."
In other words, if it doesn’t harm anyone, do what you like.
And that includes clothes. So, Wiccans feel free to wear any clothes they like, at any time, for any purpose. Just so long as wearing those clothes doesn't harm anyone.
Ah, if only getting dressed were that simple!
Wiccan Ethics and Clothing
Because it sounds simple, right?
But hang on to your broomsticks. Maybe it's a bit more complicated than at first it seems. Ain't that just always the way, especially with ethics?
Did you expect to get involved in ethical conundrums when you started asking yourself what Wiccans wear? From a Wiccan perspective, it's unavoidable I'm afraid.
You see, according to we Wiccans (and most theoretical physicists), all of life is interconnected as if by a vast, cosmic web.
And that means everything that exists, and anything anyone does, has consequences. You know, it sets the threads of the web vibrating and starts a chain of cause-and-effect.
In other words, according to Wiccan belief and practice, everything has an ethical dimension. Including what we wear.
So, we take that Wiccan Rede seriously.
Even when we're deciding what clothes to add to the wardrobe.
Because interpreting "an' it harm none" isn't necessarily so straightforward. It requires deep reflection and the summoning of wisdom.
"An' It Harm None, Wear What Ye Will"
Do you see what I did there?
So, the question of what to wear for a Wiccan isn't just about what's comfortable, or fashionable, or what's still clean enough to throw on without causing offense to herself or others.
We must ask ourselves, "Does wearing this harm anyone?"
So, to answer that question, we Wiccans may wish to find out:
- how the clothes were manufactured (to avoid buying something made by child slaves in a sweatshop in Uzbekistan or Bangladesh, for example)
- what the clothes are made of (recycled materials and biodegradable stuff would do less harm to the planet than many synthetics and plastic)
- who profits from the sale of the clothing (so we know the money won’t support harmful activities, most Wiccans would prefer to buy from a company that invests ethically, for example)
- where the clothing was made (preferring to support local, craft-based industries over massive multinational corporations which may cause more harm in the manufacturing and distribution of their products)
We might list other factors Wiccans would take into account when deciding what to wear, but that gives you an idea.
Many might also count non-human animals into the family of those to whom we should do no harm. In that case, they might avoid wearing leather and woolen clothes. At the least, Wiccans would most likely want to know that someone had raised the animals humanely.
So, that's the ethics of what Wiccans wear.
And it means you can't always tell just by looking at what we're wearing if we're Wiccans or not. We might sport clothes and jewellery which declare our Pagan affiliations (think pentagram earrings, ankh pendants, even "I'm a Witch" or "Pagan and Proud" t-shirts!), but by no means all of us make that choice.
A Wiccan is just as likely to wear a suit in the boardroom, overalls in the workshop, or the latest high street fashions while mooching in the mall; even if, for ethical reasons, she picked them up in a thrift store and not in the mall itself.
Wiccan Ritual Robes
We all wear gear suited to the work in hand, Wiccan or not.
Suits in the office, maybe jeans when we're gardening, a hard hat on a building site, and a nice frock when we're going out on a date, maybe.
When Wiccans work our magic, either alone or in a group (often called a coven, but not always. My group identifies as a "clan") we wear clothes best suited to that work.
In Wicca, that may be clothes which mask the individuality of the practitioner, identify her with the group, or symbolically represent a divine energy or persona, for example.
In which case you might wear a hooded robe, yes. Or a horned circlet. Or maybe nothing at all (but we'll get to ritual nudity in a minute). Whatever the choice, there's always a reason behind it and it's not just that it looks cool.
But looking cool is fine, too. Why not? "An' it harm none, look as cool as ye will."
Practical considerations influence what Wiccans wear, too. Light, loose-fitting garments are good for allowing the body's energies to flow during rites, and for dancing, or having sex.
A group may define a common ritual "uniform" for its members, or each individual may be at liberty to wear whatsoever she will. Many groups and hedge-witches (a term we use for solo practitioners) choose to make their own ritual clothes, others may have them made or buy them from a pagan store.
But one thing's for sure: any clothes worn during Wiccan religious or magical practice will not be chosen casually. Much thought will go into the purpose, and the correspondences the fabric, colors, style, and so on have with elements, cosmic alignments, and divine energies.
In short (or in shorts, if it harms no-one, and it's what you fancy) what Wiccans wear for ceremonial or magical work (ritual clothing, robes, garments, or attire) derives from thought for the symbolism and meaning for the wearer and for the others she works with, along with practical considerations necessary for the work in hand.
Ritual Nudity in Wicca (Going Sky-Clad)
In a culture somewhat divorced from Nature and mired in a theology of sinfulness inherited from the early Gnostic disdain for material things, nudity is inevitably associated with sex and sex with sin.
So, for many non-Wiccans, the idea that some of us are naked in our rites creates all manner of upset and discomfort.
I'd like to clear this up. Go on, let me try.
We are the only animals that aren't naked all the time. For we Wiccans, nudity doesn't necessarily signify readiness for sex and it has nothing to do with the "sin concept" of the monotheistic and gnostic traditions.
For us, nudity is just the natural state. It's the way we were born. We're all naked sometimes, anyway. Who showers with her clothes on?
Look at these pictures of naked animals. Do these offend you? Then why should a naked human animal offend you?
Now, where were we? Oh yes, talking about clothes. One of my favorite subjects!
Going "sky clad" (meaning naked, without clothes, in the nude) may not be every Wiccan's first choice, but it does solve the problem of what to wear!
Thanks for reading. I think that answers your question. But if you have any other questions, ask in the comments here. No promises, but I'll do my best to answer. If I can't give you the "short and sweet" I'll consider writing an article about your enquiry. How's that?
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Toodle-oo from Ponsoo Magoo!
© 2019 Ponsoo Magoo