This past week, I have sat and watched as the news exploded with issues related to the Charleston shooting — mostly about tearing down Confederate memorials and removing the flag that flies at some of those locations. If you are looking for a post related to that topic, please move along. I am only setting some of my frame of mind here. After a few days of watching the back and forth on the topic – I decided that this paragraph would be all that I do to address the issue. The anger and over-zealousness of the topic on various social media platforms helped me to realize that its not worth my effort of a discussion. So let’s move on towards something a little more interesting….
In a few short months, I will be taking a trip to the northeast for the OBOD East Coast Gathering. This will be my first time there, and I am excited about meeting Damh the Bard, Kristoffer Hughes, and be reacquainted with quite a few of my fellow attendees from the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering from earlier this year. I have had a few private discussions with some of the folks going, and a similar question kept popping up: what ritual clothing will you be bringing?
This is a somewhat odd question to ask me. I have no robes – and honestly have no real desire to have a set. My ritual garments tend to be whatever I have on my body at the time. A real example of this is the photo you see here. This was taken at the Imbolc Retreat in south Texas earlier this year. I am not sure of who took the photo, otherwise I would have their name attributed here for credit. But this picture was taken during one of the three rituals that I was part of. My ritual wardrobe consists of a pair of jeans, a tshirt, (in this instance) an MLB cap, and a pair of tennis shoes. Seriously. This is about as “formal” as I get dressed up to do most things. I have no need for a ritual robe made specifically for this or that. The Gods accept me for who I am, and that includes the manner in which I am dressed at that moment.
In my mode of thinking, I am an extremely informal individual. This does not just include ritual, but nearly every facet of my life. At work, I tend towards polo shirts versus button-downs. When I can get away with it, I wear dark jeans rather than dress slacks. I have attended a few weddings of friends, not wearing a tie. And I have caught plenty of flak over the way that I dress. However, my point is always the same: I would rather dress comfortably and have appropriate personal bearing, than dress uncomfortably and fidget throughout the entire event. I do understand that my informal mannerisms tend to make me unpopular with some folks. Why can I not just follow everyone else’s lead and dress similar to them? Because I would rather be the authentic “me” than try and dress me up in a manner in which I am not. To put it in another way — I would rather be myself, than try to be something I am not.
So, in a few short months, I will be getting on-board a flight to the northeastern United States. And I will be carrying no robes or ritual garments with me. I will have a few shirts with hoods on them, but nothing made or purchased specifically for a ritual. There may be a few who shake their heads because I approach ritual settings from such a lax point of view. Maybe. My experience has been that most people don’t care. Its more about the frame of mind you bring to the ritual, rather than what you have on your body in terms of clothing (or lack thereof in some settings). To be quite open about it — I would rather be my genuine self with what I practice in my spiritual beliefs, than be something I am not. This is why everything I do in that sense – clothing, the ritual itself, the setting it is placed within – is informal. And for me….it works.