Author Topic: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!  (Read 481 times)

John P

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Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« on: July 04, 2019, 06:32:05 PM »
It's about the religious figures of early Christian Britain, and how many of them seem to have found connection with the divine by bathing naked in streams and the sea.

https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/skinny-dipping-baring-souls-and-bottoms/

ric

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 10:11:31 AM »
ive been reading the perelandra garden workbook  recently.... about connecting with the devas of the garden and nature...its almost convinced me to try connecting to the devas and maybe a bit of naked meditation and tree hugging

jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 07:58:57 PM »
Oh! The IS up my alley.

As I read this, I began to consider getting at his thesis paper, but at the bottom of the page, I find that he has a book out. This more distilled version should be a better read for me. Thank-you for drawing my attention to this John P.

So, here we are, people using their relationship to nature and experimenting and communing naturally in practice to attain a relationship with their God and being. Naturism is being used as a tool in a quest and a sense of greater awareness. These are people using naturism as foundational religious practice.

Here are religious folk in tradition doing, what is now, an illegal practice (in the USA) as a significant practice in their religion.

The old religions were nature based, many are know to have nude ritual. So, there was a transition between the adaptation of Christianity and the old ways. As in South American visits that I have had, there were melds of pagan religion. The drunken Day of the Dead festival in Corrioco, Bolivia took place in the Christian cemetery and had to be tolerated by the local priest. As with many people, an eclectic approach to religion is found instead of following dictates.

Through much of the early Christian periods, Pagan Holidays were adapted into Christian festivals. It was obviously a rocky road usurping older sacred rites and outlooks, a slow process, but these early monks were a part of this transition.

Sometimes these practices were violently cast aside, for example St. Patrick personally destroying over two hundred books of collected ancient teachings written down by monks from our unwritten heritage, leaving our roots in darkness.

It was often safer and easier to take on the cloaking of the dominate religion to avoid persecution.

So, we have examples of an early meld, here, which demonstrates nudity and spirituality and religion together in practice, all necessitating a skinny dip a natural spiritual exercise and symbolism.

I especially enjoyed reading of the psalms being done in a traditional manner and waiting for an answer from nature. I didn't know that they were done quite like that and then to know a devout monk at it. It makes me want to revisit them.

Hey, Ric. I think that you just added another book to my reading list. There is a relationship in nature for me to wander and observe, but also one of applying this to to my manufactured gardening contrivances. I talk to plants, promise that their seeds will continue to flourish, furnish their needs and relate to them as plants different from myself, but fellow beings. I build their soil to make them healthy with enzymes and nutrition to bring these shared necessities up the food chain to me. I thank them. I put out positive energy. My property is all quite natural, but it is more lush and abundant than most others for a mile around. There seems to be a host of practical applications in that book, which I see has some online publication.
Jbee
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eyesup

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 07:29:03 PM »
Thanks for the link, JohnP. Loved that!

Achieving purity in the Jewish faith was done through ritual immersion in the ‘mikvah’. Don’t know if that began in a stream or river, but cleansing through immersion has been a tradition for a long time.

Many of the rituals of early Christianity that bothered some have been suppressed or eradicated by subsequent leaders intent on controlling the membership. It’s good to read of devout followers that do were not so dogmatic. The belief in a created world through observation shows up in many scriptures.

John P mentioned a Psalm awhile back that acknowledges that. Paul the apostle says something similiar in Romans 1:20,
Quote
. . . since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made . . .

Looking at nature causes me to stop and consider my place in the broader picture. No matter our beliefs, if we see that we have no control over that, we are obliged to at least consider who or what is.

Duane

BlueTrain

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 03:27:02 PM »
My own place in things is pretty insignificant, which is rather sobering. But it's always an individual who gets things started. It isn't always a man, either. My favorite is probably Joan of Arc. They were hard on women back then, too.

There will be Christians as well as most other religions who say the focus of the religion is otherworldly. Perhaps but the whole story for at least three religions starts in a garden. Was man put on earth to be a gardener? How are we doing then?

Bob Knows

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 04:59:49 PM »
Time was when US Presidents went skinny dipping in the Potomac river.  Nobody though too much of it and mostly didn't bother to write down about it. I read one account of a female lobbyist chasing down a President while he was taking his daily naked swim, but mostly it wasn't unusual enough to notice

There were many centuries where Christian priests discouraged bathing because taking care of your body led to pride or other sins. Pope Pius campaigned for more covering of clothes and against low cut dresses or high cut skirts. I suppose there were exceptions.   
Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
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jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 06:00:04 PM »
We have Mikvah and wiki tells us of other ritual cleansing throughout history. Key, they were/are done purely naked. The water came from a free natural source.

The water must be free flowing water, a popular new age concept. The natural water is supposed to balance and be vibrationally in sinc with the earth's energies. NAtural flow is supposed to be better than tortured water. This

Judism being generally a practical religion, I have to wonder where this all came from. Tradition mixed with what was available at the time of origin and practicality. Anyway, the process of immersion into water, rebirth, spiritual meaning and nakedness sure has been a part of religion for a long time. Too bad Pious and Victoria mucked it up so.

But then here is also:

    Baptism
    Bath (unit)
    Conversion to Judaism
    Ghusl - full body washing ablution in Islam
    Mikva'ot - section of the Mishnah discussing the laws pertaining to the building and maintenance of a mikveh.
    Misogi -Japanese

To me, any skinny dip in a natural place has been a spiritual activity. Too, bad that it is against the law in so many places.
Jbee


   
 
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nudewalker

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2019, 02:51:27 PM »
My annual spring version of the Mikvah takes place soon after the ice melts off the local lake. The idea is to immerse oneself to wash away all the impurities which for me means a winter cooped up indoors and having to wear extra clothing in cold temperatures. And yes, the water is cold so it gets the blood flowing but it signals the start of new life.

Our leaders, both political and religious, have really mucked it up Jbee.
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2019, 03:21:34 AM »
Time was when US Presidents went skinny dipping in the Potomac river.  Nobody though too much of it and mostly didn't bother to write down about it. I read one account of a female lobbyist chasing down a President while he was taking his daily naked swim, but mostly it wasn't unusual enough to notice

There were many centuries where Christian priests discouraged bathing because taking care of your body led to pride or other sins. Pope Pius campaigned for more covering of clothes and against low cut dresses or high cut skirts. I suppose there were exceptions.
The monks in this article were previous to the massive movement of influence across Europe by popes. It was an earlier Celtic in the isles thing. There was controversy and evolution of policy over a thousand years.
Jbee
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jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2019, 03:22:40 AM »
I haven’t dug so deep as to find the thesis, but I did get a copy of the book, “The Naked Hermit.”

I found it interesting and vindicating.

He goes deeply into literature about naked monks and hermits, living and doing things naked alright. He found about 50 of them, starting with accounts of a naked hermit on the slopes of Mt. Sinai. It seems to have started with the influence of the ancient desert hermits. He did mention figures in the bible and biblical naked practices. The accounts of the desert naked monks, influenced the Celtic monks, which evidenced a whole naked monk culture.

He spent some time each in a huge number of sacred sites, where these guys AND gals used to hang out. For the most part, he just spent a short time at each. He did immerse himself into the naked hermit’s environment, sometimes plunging into a cold ocean, or lake, or spending the night in a cave. I thought too short of an experiment, but he testifies that he had mind blowing experiences, just the same.

These Celtic monks were on a missionary’s duty, to convert the locals and especially the Picts, who most often wandered nude, but for a layer of woad. They all had fearful ideas of nature and the demons interlaced in it. One ploy to conversion was to demonstrate some control over nature by their bad ass God, who would exorcise, for lack of a better word, the problems that the old religion didn’t.

Even so, these people were sitting on a liminal space between the world and the spirit, or divine. Some were waiting for angels to visit with, staying away from speaking to people.

There is abandonment to faith in getting naked in nature, a heightened awareness, a sense of the nature. This falls into fears and being natural and getting in touch with a spiritual sense and compunction and manner. Not everybody does, but to a degree, the experience of nudity in nature, or plunging into wild waters is stimulating and pleasurable. It may not be like being reborn for all, but there is enough to it that baptism started out as a ritualized form of the experience.

These people were living naked to get closer to God. To be of God.To be with God and know of it all.

I mentioned in the “Body Rights/Spiritual Rights” thread how I see my naturism often in the realm of spiritual practice and should be protected under the 1st Amendment. Dang if this book didn’t drive me homer! These monks would be arrested for what they did, if they tried it today. There is much about what they have been doing, that I have been doing for the last dozen years, or so. I’m vindicated by this well researched book. There were varying degrees of practice among the monks and the author discovered his own validation.
 
So, history has many examples of these practices. There is now a whole different concept of early Christian conversion in the British Isles. I should add that this didn’t happen in the rest of Europe, for reasons that he addresses.

Good read. Nudity has been happening for a very long time, it is good , wholesome, useful AND even sacred.


P.S. Bob has presented an article in the “Clothing can be Unhealthy” thread, about Paganism using a similar tact as these monks to discover spirituality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9NMXmJ6i0U 
is an interview with the author in-which he explains what he has done with a goode clarity.

Jbee

« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 05:45:05 AM by jbeegoode »
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BlueTrain

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2019, 04:31:23 PM »
There was a certain Mary of Egypt who lived naked after her conversion experience. I don't think she was described as a hermit but she was not particularly social.

nudewalker

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2019, 06:19:58 PM »
There were a number of religious "conversions" that ended up living as hermits or recluses so as not to be influenced by the world. On could assume that nudity could have been part of it as the locals wouldn't want to see naked bodies.
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2019, 07:53:29 PM »
There were a number of religious "conversions" that ended up living as hermits or recluses so as not to be influenced by the world. On could assume that nudity could have been part of it as the locals wouldn't want to see naked bodies.
One might assume that, if they had some hangup, or religious dictate about nudity. None of these were doing that. They were immersing themselves into something to experience the divine. Most were into the sensual being in nature and Edens cover, trust. I would suppose that some were renouncing the material like what is done in India. Some, a little of both. It wasn't a self flogging thing, but a be natural thing. It was also to walk naked to the shoreline with the vast greatness, the fear, the awe, and then immerse, sometimes arms outstretched like being on a cross, singing things like the 23 psalm and be okay. A leap of faith that never ends.
Jbee
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BlueTrain

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2019, 09:15:08 PM »
Supposedly, if one believes what has been written, there were many hermits and recluses (solitaries) living in England long ago. But I have never read anything that suggests they lived nude. Part of their religious life was the suppression of bodily desires, and indeed of all things worldly, the ultimate goal being perfection in their faith. Given the expectations, such a thing is beyond hope for someone like me. A hermit is one who lives by themselves, though not necessarily for religious reasons, nor do many who are called hermits think of themselves as a hermit or even live as such. Apparently, hermits are looked upon with suspicion by most people. A solitary or recluse in the religious sense is one who lives in a place attached either to a church, as was formerly was the custom or more commonly, integral to a religious community. That is the norm in at least one religious order even today. Typically Roman Catholic, there is one Anglican solitary with whom I have communicated. There is also a Russian tradition that takes a quite different form and which is still ongoing in spite of all the decades of the Soviet regime. One might say that prayer is the profession of all these people and I don't understand prayer.

jbeegoode

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Re: Skinny-dippin' with St Ethelflaeda!
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2019, 08:02:35 PM »
Blurtrain, I suggest that you go back and read the article again, or even better read the book. I'd bet that you'd enjoy it, based on some of the other things that you have read. There is a great deal of misunderstanding of monk motivation and practice.

The author came across 50 such people and the major thesis of the book was that they weren't doing it for the popular notion of cold showers. Getting naked in nature doesn't make you less worldly aware. 39 were in the Islands, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Few were in the mainland. He explains why that is so, it reinforces what he is saying.

Their isolation varied. It isn't typical monk stuff. It is Celtic Christianity, not Roman Catholic pope stuff at all. There is a great deal of misconception, of which you just reinforced. Monks are not all the same, but people tend to project on them all.

 I can say that prayer takes many many forms.



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