To be naked is to be oneself.
John Berger, ‘Ways of Seeing’
If it’s good for ancient Druids, runnin’ nekkid through the wuids, Drinkin’ strange fermented fluids, it’s good enough for me!
Pete Seeger (singing about mead)
I shape beauty to human mouths
give wings to insight
I make naked the word.
The Diaologue of the Two Sages, from Irish tradition
The Britons (say historians) were naked, civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in thought and contemplation; naked, simple, plain in their acts and manners; wiser than after ages.
William Blake, in a review of his own lost picture ‘The Ancient Britons’
And the weaver said, “Speak to us of Clothes.”
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.”
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Khalil Gibran – ‘On Clothes’ from ‘The Prophet’
We have come into the world naked, and all the animals are naked, why should man hide his body behind clothes?
We say ‘nakedness is natural’, but have we begun to think through all that means? It is so basic. A human being is an innocent part of nature. Our civilization has distorted this universal quality that allows us to feel at home in our skin. Other animals have coats that they accept, but the human race has yet to come to terms with being nude.
Human beings to me are as much a part of nature as trees or birds, and the unclothed body expresses this belongingness directly and powerfully.
To some, the freedom to be naked if you want may seem a frivolous issue to explore in any depth during our perilous times. But these are rarified times times as well, a time when all things are coming to light.
How idiotic civilzation is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?
The freest people I know are those who have the least to hide, defend or protect. Naked is powerful.
Life was a masquerade; costumes were compulsory.
Stuart Ward, ‘Strange Days Indeed – Memories of the Old World’
…a metaphysics of clothing characterized Egyptian, Babylonian and Hebrew traditions. That is clothing was given an absolute value as an index of humanness, conceived of in opposition to animality…The Greek tradition, on the other hand, saw nudity (rather than clothing) as the absolute value. Thus, two of the traditions most fundamental to Christian modernity – the Hebrew and the Greek – have left the (post) Christian West the contradictory legacy of nakedness as loss of full humanness (the province of slaves, the destitute, the mad) and as the epitome of glorious humanness.
Ruth Barcan, ‘Nudity – A Cultural Anatomy’
Nakedness is very common in the tribe. It is not a shameful thing; it is an expression of one’s relationship with the spirit of nature. To be naked is to be open-hearted. Normally kids stay naked until puberty and even beyond. It was only with the introduction of cheap cloth from the West, through Goodwill and other Christian organisations, that nakedness began to be associated with shame.
Malidoma Some, ‘Of Water and the Spirit’
Nakedness means freedom, and although dancing on a sun-kissed hillside with shorts on seems pretty similar to dancing with shorts off, there is all the difference in the world. It is as if your clothes take on the weight of your worries and concerns – they come to embody your defences against the world, and if you can feel confident enough and safe enough, then taking them off evokes a powerful sense of liberation, of joy and freedom; and more than that – of innocence and of openness to the world.
Philip Carr-Gomm, ‘The Druid Way’
What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful that the garment with which it is clothed?
What a singular fact for an angel visitant to this earth to carry back in his note-book, that men were forbidden to expose their bodies under the severest penalties!
Henry David Thoreau, Journals
For someone to tell me – especially the government – that I have to wear clothes, they’re telling me that I have to be ashamed of myself. Government is mandating that people shame themselves.
The body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through all one’s flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable.
John Muir, founder of The Sierra Club
Naturism offers a way of being that dares to suggest that who we are without any additions or covering up is all we need to be.
Be glad, my merry friends, and let the warm sunlight heat now heart and limb! Cast off these cold rags! Run naked on the grass, while Tom goes a-hunting!
Tom Bombadil in J.R.R.Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’
Wearing nothing is divine. Naked is a state of mind. I take things off to clear my head, to say the things I haven’t said. I live inside my elements – the earth and sky are my best friends. Water is the evidence that washes me from end to end…
Luscious Jackson, ‘Naked Eye’
Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.
John Kenneth Galbraith
It was as if, once out of our costumes, we felt authenticated, validated as human beings, each unique, each with intrinsic value. With nothing left to hide outside, we felt it easier to be whoever we were inside.
Stuart R.Ward, ‘Body Freedom Day – When a Clothed-Minded World Unraveled’
I come from a country where you don’t wear clothes most of the year. Nudity is the most natural state. I was born nude and I hope to be buried nude.
Some day people will grow up and realize that the only thing vile about human bodies is the small minds some people have developed within them.
The girl with dark hair was coming towards him across the field. With what seemed a single movement she tore off her clothes and flung them disdainfully aside. Her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desire in him, indeed he barely looked at it. What overwhelmed him in that instant was admiration for the gesture with which she had thrown her clothes aside. With all its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole [oppressive] culture, a whole system of thought.”
George Orwell, ‘1984’
Clothes make the man, but nakedness makes the human being.
Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! –ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness then indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is–nor what faith or art or health really is.
Walt Whitman, ‘Specimen Days’
His disciples asked, ‘When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?’ Jesus answered, ‘When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the Living one, and you will not be afraid.’
The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas
We are so narrow minded that we show war, murder, and rape on TV, but we are not allowed to show one of the most wonderful creations (the human body) in its natural form.
When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off.
Amelia Bloomer, 1850’s proponent of women’s equality and body acceptance
I believe that as plants, trees, and animals, and all things that have life, are seen to be by nature sufficiently clothed and covered, to defend them from the injuries of weather, so were we: but as those who by artificial light put out that of the day, so we borrowed forms and fashions and destroyed our own.
Montaigne (1533-1592) ‘Essays, Book the First, on the Custom of Wearing Clothes’
Being natural and matter-of-fact about nudity prevents your children from developing an attitude of shame or disgust about the human body. If parents are very secretive about their bodies and go to great lengths to prevent their children from ever seeing a buttock or breast, children will wonder what is so unusual, and even alarming, about human nudity.
Dr. Lee Salk, psychiatrist
Body shame, like prejudice, is not natural. It is learned from others and benefits no one.
Gymnophobia (from the Greek word for nude gymnos) is the fear of being (or seeing others) naked. A gymnophobic person usually wants to prevent others from experiencing the freedom of not wearing clothes.
Clothes therefore, must be the insignia of the superiority of man over all other animals, for surely there could be no other reason for wearing the hideous things.
From Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
How is it possible for the human body, which was created in the image of god, to be offensive to anybody? Satan would love to see God’s greatest creation be considered offensive.
Not all the Greek runners in the original Olympics were totally naked. Some wore shoes.
Complete nudity in itself is not erotic. It becomes so only when preceeded by or contrasted to a state of dress. In this limited context then, all clothes become somewhat immoral, if we define immorality as inciting sexual interest. Habitual nakedness may indeed be capable of elevating man to a higher mental plane…”
Dr. Marylnn J. Horn, ‘The Second Skin: An Interdisciplinary Study of Clothing’
Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence.
Thomas Paine, ‘Common Sense’
And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in Her praise. For Hers is the ecstasy of the spirit, and Hers also is joy on earth; for Her law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For Hers is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth and Hers is the cup of wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.
Charge of the Goddess (Traditional. Various authors)
Sometimes I like to run naked in the moonlight and the wind, on a little trail behind out house, when the honeysuckle blooms. It’s a feeling of freedom, so close to God and nature.
Just say no to clothes.