“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain
I wear a uniform to work in my day job. It sets the tone and when I am wearing my work clothes, my mentality is geared towards work. Ritual wear does the same thing. I am reminded of the younger me being an altar boy and dressing the part. For years, I have paid very little attention to my outer appearance. That is changing for me now, and lately I’ve been wanting to buy myself nice new clothes. I want a new suit. I want to own good shirts (I look good in a nice shirt) and I want to buy myself some robes to wear in group rituals.
When I first came to Paganism, I was almost politically opposed to robes. For me, Paganism was about ordinary people doing very grounded and earthy things as their spiritual practice. It was about wandering around in fields and getting mud between my toes. Dressing up in bright and impractical clothes seemed to miss the point. I attended a few ceremonies where some people got *really* dressed up. They looked nice but I judged them.
The first time I wore a robe was for the afternoon Tor ceremony the first time I went to the OBOD Summer Assembly, in Glastonbury. It was a churchy robe and it wasn’t my kind but I loved the sense of all of us dressed up for ceremony. It made a difference. Every time I’ve been to Glastonbury since then, I’ve had to arrange in advance to borrow robes Next time, I will have my own. I’ll probably buy them in Glastonbury in a few weeks’ time. I will soon be going to England for a five day workshop in the art of celebrancy. I’m excited about it. I am imagining the ceremonies we’re going to create and I am imagining the robes I will be wearing.
I still think paganism is about muddy feet and hugging trees. But it is also about creating beauty, ceremony, and wonder. I doubt my robes will come come out for small personal rituals but the thought of dressing up for important days is exciting for me. And that excitement is also my paganism.