Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Ask Boss Warlock: Is Skyclad with a Cloak Really Skyclad?



Dear Boss Warlock:

Please help settle a dispute.

My boyfriend says that you're still skyclad if you're naked but wearing a cloak. I say you're not. What do you think?

Shivering in Sheboygan


Dear Shiver:

To quote Granny Weatherwax: "That's witchin' today: all jewelry, and no drawers."

Well, let's look at the matter logically.

If all that you're wearing is a pair of jeans, are you skyclad? No.

If all that you're wearing is a shirt, are you skyclad? No.

(Gods help us, Pagan English actually does have a term for just such an absurd state of semi-dress: shirt-cocking. [See what hitting the pagan festival circuit will do to you?] Just what the female equivalent of this might be, Boss Warlock does not know. Readers?)

If all that you're wearing is a chef's apron, are you skyclad? No.

If all that you're wearing is a cloak, are you skyclad? Yes.

Why is a cloak different from a chef's apron, a shirt, or a pair of jeans?

Because skyclad is all about frontality, that's why. (There's some pretty deep theology going on here, but I doubt that you needed me to tell you that.)

Simply put, Shiver, the cloak qua article of clothing bears a mythic cachet denied to more quotidian, practical garments. You wouldn't be skyclad if all you were wearing were an overcoat, either.

Now, I understand that some warm-climate pagans may well disagree with me on this one. Well, we're all children of our own environment.

But here in the frozen North we understand that, of necessity, skyclad and naked are not necessarily the same thing.

Boss Warlock



Do you have a question?

Boss Warlock has an answer.

Write him c/o the Paganistan blog.


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Tagged in: skyclad
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Katie
    Katie Wednesday, 20 October 2021

    …and if all you’re wearing is socks/slippers (the so-called Minnesota Skyclad)?

    It may look ludicrous, but it is so very practical.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 22 October 2021

    You know what they say: "If they're looking, it's probably not at your feet."

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