Whatever to Wear for a Ritual

What one wears can totally affect the outcome of a ritual. There is no one correct answer to the question about what to wear during a ritual. If one practices solitary, then it will easily be up to him/her. If one goes to open Pagan rituals, it is still pretty much up to him/her. If one practices with a coven, then it is generally not up to him/her. What are some thoughts about what to wear?

What are things that are often done during rituals? Deity work, magick and burning candles are some common activities done in ritual. In order to do these well in addition to other components of the ritual, one must be able to concentrate on the ritual tasks. Comfort, allowance for energies to flow through the body, appearance, the location, the weather, tripping hazards and sleeves swishing into flames and knocking things over are all considerations.

At pagan events, what I have seen most are people wearing jeans with a tops that reflect both the ritual and the weather. Most of these events were outdoors. What most people like about jeans is that they are comfortable, easy to move and dance in and are hard wearing for the great outdoors. I have seen people wearing footwear such as sandals, sneakers and boots and no footwear at all depending on the terrain and the weather. It can really make the spirit sing to have feet in contact with Gaia, which is an argument for no footwear at all. This generally completes the ensemble. Arguments against this kind of this particular style of clothing are that jeans, although comfortable, do not allow allow for energies to flow throughout the body freely inhibiting work with magick. Jeans are everyday wear and are not extraordinary enough to wear in ritual and before a deity. This kind of ensemble is not uniform when worn in groups such as covens. There are pros and cons to wearing a jeans ensemble in ritual.

Ladies, I have seen women wearing a variety dresses at different events. I have seen pixie dresses worn by young women flaunting good figures, women wearing long peasant skirts and older women wearing long, full, ornate black dresses. The dresses are special enough to wear to ritual. They are definitely not uniform and for covens are not a good fit. Some of the dresses are great for movement like dancing and some were not. Guess which!

Which brings us to robes. Robes can be simple to make and comfortable to wear. If one is practicing with others wearing the same cut and color, robes act as a uniform, which are great for a coven. They are not constricting, so energies within the body can flow. Note that many Wiccans do not wear anything underneath robes. My big beef with robes is with the ease one can trip over the hem and that billowing sleeves can knock things over and swish into a candle flame. My solutions are to hem the robe high enough that one does not trip over it and to make the sleeves fairly narrow and skirt fairly narrow unlike Harry Potter robes. If one is going to wear a robe, one should make it. What is sold on the internet is just not worth the money. Especially if one is beginning to sew, the best choice for a fabric is cotton. It’s easier to sew than other fabrics and it is breathable. Colors are solid, and color choice is up to one or the coven of which one is a member. Due to shrinkage, wash the material before making the robe. In the book Witch School, there is a good design for making a “T” robe. Buckland’s book has directions, but from the drawing the sleeves look too wide, and the skirt should be narrower. Note that in the picture below, the sleeves in the yellow robe are not voluminous. The robe should be easy to move and dance in without tripping, knocking things over or setting oneself on fire. If one practices solitary and is good with a needle, s/he can embellish the robe however s/he wants. If one practices with a coven, s/he needs to follow their rules about robe making. A well fitting robe that fits the above requirements is a highly suggested garment to look into for ritual wear.

A tabard is a rectangular piece of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head to go through that is worn over other clothing. It is worn by a person with a special role or rank, like someone who is calling the quarters or a high priest or priestess. An insignia may be displayed on the tabard to indicate the role or rank of the person wearing it. This is generally worn when the are many people at a ritual.

Some people like to do ritual without clothing, which is called sky clad. Some will choose jewelry meant just for ritual, and if they are a priests or a priestesses they will wear garters. Some people who practice while sky clad say they are appearing before the God and Goddess in the state they were born. If one does a ritual alone or with people s/he truly trusts, this can be liberating to try. Before deciding to join a coven, I highly recommend knowing what kind of dress the coven wears or does not wear for rituals including for initiation. One should not get him/herself involved in a situation in which s/he cannot show up to ritual in a loving mindset with trust for other people there, the deities and ritual.

There are pros and cons to all the kinds of ritual wear. Take the time to choose what suits you. If you plan to wear clothing and/or jewelry for ritual, my suggestion is to reserve certain pieces for ritual only. That way it is special for meeting with the God and Goddess and you can feel special in it.

Enjoy learning how special ritual wear can help you feel!

Have a great start to 2023!

I will continue to post on Wednesdays.

Auburn Greene

Suggested Investigation

Buckland, Raymond, Raymond’s Complete Book of Witchcraft Llewellyn, 2004

http://coven-of-midnight.wikidot.com/making-a-ritual-robe – This source gives suggestions for patterns and give directions for robe making without sewing. An iron and ironing board are needed for the non-sewing method.

Lewis-Highcorrell, Donald, Rev. Witch School, First Degree, Lessons in the Correllian Tradition. Lewellyn, 2021.


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