Sooner or later, most animists come to a point where they decide whether to wear ritual clothing or not. If you are contemplating this, here are some things you might want to consider.
Why Ritual Clothing?
Before we talk about why one might want to wear ritual clothing, let’s talk about why someone might prefer not to.
Animism is a spiritual path of Nature. Nature is “come as you are.” You can connect anywhere, anytime. You don’t need to dress up or wear anything in particular to connect. However, there are some reasons why you might want to don special attire.
- Create a sense of unity. If you are doing a group ceremony, wearing the same clothes creates a sense of belonging. It’s why a choir and monks wear robes. It’s why Boy Scouts and Walmart employees have a uniform. It helps everyone know at a glance who belongs.
- It could signify position. Pan Society doesn’t designate rank like the Catholic Church, for example. We don’t have popes and bishops. However, we do have amocaras. It could be useful to know who is leading a ceremony or ritual. If you are the only one in ritual clothing, it’s easy to guess that that person is you.
- The clothing is part of the ritual itself. When we are doing ritual, everything that goes into it is part of the ritual. If I don a mask, wear purple, or choose a ribbon, that’s intentional. It’s done for what it brings to the event.
- Ritual clothing can help create sacred space. When we don ritual clothing, it changes our mindset. It can transport us to a space of time between time. That helps to make the ritual more potent.
- Ceremonial garb can be protective. When we enter into the space of time between time, we can be vulnerable. It can help to have protective gear.
What To Wear?
What you choose to wear for your rituals is totally up to you. There aren’t any formal Pan Society guidelines. You’re a sovereign being. Choose.
Since modern animism is a path of Nature, perhaps foregoing clothing altogether appeals to you. It can help you to feel closer to Nature. Removing a layer of fabric can heighten your skin’s sensitivity. I tend to moon bathe in the buff, and it’s exhilarating. Just make sure that you have the privacy to do so. You don’t want to be arrested or surprise children.
If you opt for ritual clothing, this can be very elaborate with hats, cloaks, shoes, jewelry, scarves, belts, headdresses, and so on. It’s completely up to you. Let yourself be inspired.
Choose every aspect of it intentionally. Color is very powerful. For example, white is often used for initiations. Lots of people use feathers or other animal parts to bring in the energy of specific animals. People often choose crystals, greenery, and natural fabrics for their ritual wear.
You could also go very simple to keep it humble. A plain, hand sewn tunic or robe could serve perfectly well. Just let it reflect your personality and purpose.
Remember there are no hard and fast rules. Do what feels right for you and the event. You will learn to trust yourself as you grow in your practice.