The reasons given in Aradia Gospel of the Witches are very different from those which are given by Gerald Gardner in Witchcraft Today. He wrote on the subject of ritual nudity recalling the witches’ rationale that it was the only way that they could release the power residing within their bodies. He went on to say:
“… this power they believe exudes from their bodies, clothes impeding its release…”
To be fair to Gardner in this respect, he did go on to observe that it is difficult to say how much of this belief is real and how much is down to the imagination. The same explanation also appears, sometimes slightly adapted, in various versions of the Book of Shadows. In Witchcraft Today he also speculated about the power which could be released by a group of witches working naked vs. those working wearing bikinis, saying:
“At the same time one might heed the witches' dictum: 'You must be this way always in the rites, 'tis the command of the Goddess.' You must be this way so that it becomes second nature; you are no longer naked, you are simply natural and comfortable.”
Ceremonies and rituals honouring the Gods have been performed in the nude for thousands of years, and when not naked special costumes, setting those leading and participating apart from the ’mundane’ seem to be the norm, in the manner of robes and cloaks today. Countless examples of rituals and magick being performed naked can be found throughout Africa, for example, but in reality our gaze need not be distracted from our own green British Isles for precedents of ritual nudity. In many instances the examples from the British Isles seem to point to preparation for war, where the clothes were removed, and the bodies painted as part of the preparation for fighting the enemy and ensuring victory. Such examples are recorded in Pliny’s Natural History, where he also recorded the practice of ancient British women performing their rituals naked.
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.