If you ask those who practice it, “Why skyclad?” twelve will get you thirteen you'll hear something along the lines of 1) energy flow, 2) social equalizing, and 3) a sense of separation from the ordinary.

Those may all be good answers, and they may even be true answers, but they're modern answers. They're not the answers the ancestors would have given.

If 1400 years ago you had asked a priest of the Hwicce tribe, “Why do you go naked to your worship?” had he been disposed to give you an answer at all he may well have said, “The Lady of the Hwicce instructed us so.”

And had you pressed him further, and had he been disposed to go deeper, he might have said: “When the Lady went down to the Great Below and made the First Magic with its Lord, She Herself was naked.” A cultic question deserves a mythic answer.

The story of the Goddess's Descent into the Underworld, truncated as it is (what happened before? what happens after?), is Gardner's masterpiece. In one compact little tale, he explains the lunar cycle, the disappearance of the Goddess from history (and her Return), skyclad, ritual initiation, magic, the Great Rite, and (implicitly) the birth of the tribe of Witches. The story has much to tell, if we will only listen.

The ancestors were at heart very practical people, and had practical reasons for doing most of what they did.

But for the most part, if you had asked them “why?” the answer would have been a story.