Alternative Wheel: Other seasonal cycle stories

When this column started, it was all about exploring different ways of thinking about the wheel of the year, reflecting on aspects of the natural world to provide Pagans alternatives to the usual solar stories. It's still very much an alternative wheel, but there's a developing emphasis on what we can celebrate as the seasons turn. Faced with environmental crisis, and an uncertain future, celebration is a powerful soul restoring antidote that will help us all keep going, stay hopeful and dream up better ways of being.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Celebrating skin

Warmer summer weather makes it possible to have more bare skin without freezing to death. Living in the UK (and not having great circulation) I feel the cold and I spend much of the year covered up. With more skin exposed, I am acutely aware of sun, wind, rain, shade, temperature changes and so forth. I’ve had some intense personal encounters with brambles and stinging nettles this summer and, as usual, blood sucking insects find my bare skin really appetising. Bare skin increases my sense of connection with the natural world.

It’s good to be able to uncover my body without fear of having that sexualised. This is part of why I think it’s so important to deliberately celebrate our bodies, making a clear statement of the joyful innocence that bare skin can also signify. We should not be reading sexual possibility into bodies that happen not to be heavily clothed. We should not be imposing desire on other people’s skin.

Paganism has always tended towards sex-positivity. Sometimes that can come across as being something of an obsession with sex. I recall an awful quote in the papers from someone involved with a Pagan event many years ago to the effect that there are some festivals where Pagans have to have sex. Not ‘might want to have sex’ or ‘sometimes include sex’ but this alarming assertion of necessity. The papers of course loved it, and many of us in the afflicted area winced and worried and waited for the attention to move on.

Being sex positive certainly doesn’t mean that you have to have sex. Sex positivity is just as embracing of non-sexual activity as consenting activity. Without the right to choose, there can be no positivity. Without freedom of expression, there’s not much to be positive about. I think one of the most sex-positive things we can do is to desexualise bare skin, skimpy clothing, and stop reading each other in this way for signs of consent. When we celebrate our skin in this way we affirm that sex is something you consent to. Sex is not something to assume you can have based on what a person was, or was not wearing.

Last modified on
Nimue Brown is the author of Druidry and Meditation, Druidry and the Ancestors. Pagan Dreaming, When a Pagan Prays and Spirituality without Structure. She also writes the graphic novel series Hopeless Maine, and other speculative fiction. OBOD trained, but a tad feral, she is particularly interested in Bardic Druidry and green living.


Additional information