Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The Obvious Link

Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The Obvious Link

Many naturists will tell you that their nude lifestyle means a lot more than just being naked. A lot of others will say that the nudity is pretty much the only important thing in naturism. These others are often called “nudists” although today in the 21st century both the terms “nudist” and “naturist” became very interchangeable. One can’t deny though that naturism includes the word nature and although while being naked you’re at your most natural state, there’s something more to the term than just that.

 

The international accepted definition of naturism, defined by the INF-FNI, includes that naturism is “a lifestyle in harmony with nature”. Which is often translated to respect for nature as being one of the pillars of naturism. From our travels around the world and the many talks we’ve had with different naturists and nudists we learned that even those who identify as naturists just for the sake of being nude somehow also value this respect for the environment. It’s not that they will spend every free minute of their lives picking garbage from the side of the road, but when at the nude beach they’re likely to put at least their own trash in a garbage bin. Which is one of the reasons why most nude beaches are often much cleaner than the surrounding textile beaches by the way.
What’s this link between nudity and nature? And might there be a spiritual aspect as well?

Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The obvious link

A very brief history of naturism

Back in the day, more than a century ago, a group of people in Germany decided to spend some time together in the nude. The terms FKK / Freikörperkultur (Free body culture) and Naktkultur (Nude culture) were the first names of what we define as naturism today. This started with the idea that there’s no better way to fully absorb vitamin D, which comes from sunlight, than completely nude. A very logical theory if you ask us. While sunshine is already natural, it didn’t take long before other aspects of nature got involved in the naturist movement. Vegetarianism was the norm and the (re-)connection to nature became an important part of the lifestyle.
More than that, the psychologic advantages of social nudity also began to trickle through.

 

What the Germans discovered in the early twentieth century was already known by indigenous tribes all over the world from many centuries before. They had already found out about some of the advantages of clothing. Animal skin proved to be pretty comfortable during cold winters and some kind of armour did help against stingy plants and attacking animals. But the everyday dress code was often no clothes at all. This remained pretty much like that until the “civilized” western colonists set foot on the foreign grounds and were all freaked out about the naked people. “Oh my God! A naked woman! Everyone close their eyes quick!”, we imagine them screaming.

Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The obvious link

Nudity in ceremonies

While the Western world got used to get all dressed up to go to church, in many other parts of the world the exact opposite happened. We don’t know the history and habits of every indigenous tribe of course, so in order to not tell you too many lies we’ll focus on the north-east of Brazil. Why? Well, because we were part of it, during our stay at EcoParque da Mata in the Brazilian Bahia state.
More than just the other naturist camping, EcoParque is also recognised as a holistic center. Now we have to admit that we’re not exactly the most spiritual persons in the world but we do find it an interesting subject. Especially in this place, which very much makes the link between nudity and spiritualism.

 

We participated in several of the ceremonies that were organised at EcoParque and not only is nudity allowed, it’s also encouraged. A Temazcal ceremony is an easy example because a Temazcal is the indegenous version of what we call a sauna. But also the other ceremonies which had nothing to do with hot steam rooms were (back in the day by the Indians but also now at EcoParque) practiced in the nude.

 

“Yeah… but it’s a nudist place… of course it’s in the nude”, some of you might think. But that was certainly not the only incentive of the participants. While we were there, there was a holistic retreat going on and none of the partakers were actual nudists. How can we be so sure? They wore clothes the whole damn day at a place where they were allowed to be naked and the temperatures easily went above 35°C (that’s almost 100° Fahrenheit).
Anyway, they were clothed all day but did undress (well, most of them) for the ceremony. Those were people with much more spiritual knowledge than ourselves.

Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The obvious link

Nudity, Spirituality and nature go hand in hand

Why did the indigenous people choose to attend the ceremonies naked? We’re quite sure that there are some very decent scientific essays written about this subject but it seems pretty obvious: To get closer to the Gods. Clothes are nothing more than an artificial layer which protects you from outside forces. Do you want to prevent that attacking jaguar to get inside your body? Very much! But the holy spirit… rather not.

 

Now here’s an interesting fact: In these regions (as in many others), people believe in many Gods which are very much linked to natural phenomena. The number one is Pachamama, Mother Earth.
See where we’re going with this?
By getting closer to the Gods, they also get closer to nature. Because God is nature. Or nature is God, depending on how you look at it.

 

The 21st century western naturist

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we’re not the most spiritual people in the world. We weren’t before we visited EcoParque da Mata and we still aren’t today. But that doesn’t take away the fact that we clearly noticed how nudity, nature and spirituality are closely linked for the tribes in Brazil and have been like this for many ages.
What can we do with this as the modern age Western naturist?

 

Engaging in naturism is a step out of your comfort zone and a step into a completely new way of experiencing normal aspects of life. Being nude on the beach is just not the same as wearing even the smallest bathing suit (and believe us, we’ve seen some small bathing suits in Brazil). Naturism takes away certain blinders from our eyes. By taking off our clothes we don’t only show more, in a way we also see more. And here we don’t mean the naked bodies of others.
It makes us more open towards the world around us. The social boundaries drop and we connect easier to others. The wind that passes by our body and the grass between our toes make us feel nature in a way that would never happen wearing a shirt, shoes and jeans. And if you happen to be at some traditional ceremony in north-eastern Brazil, you do feel the energy. Believe us.

Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The obvious link

Let’s all get spiritually nude. Or not.

We are completely aware that much of the above might sound like a bunch of nonsense coming from the mouth of an old hippie who’s been smoking way too much pot. If someone else had written this blog post we might think exactly the same. We can only say that you should have been there.
It’s not a coincidence though that several other spiritual activities are picking up on nudity as well. Of which nude yoga is probably the most famous one today.

 

What you do with all this is completely up to you. History seems to teach us that there is some link between nudity, nature and spirituality and there is a bit of that in all of us. For some the nature aspect may be more important, for some the spiritual aspect, for some the social aspect and for some it’s mostly the nudity. But one activates the others both in ourselves as in everyone else as between each other. Intergalactic naturist chemistry, so to say.
Yeah, we know, that last part was pretty hippie-ish as well. But think about it.

 

Picture credit: The photos in this post are coming from Google and Twitter. If you find one of yourself and you don’t want it to be on our blog, let us know and we’ll remove it.

19 thoughts on “Nudity, Nature and Spirituality: The Obvious Link

  1. Traditional Wicca celebrates naked, but not all Wiccans are willing to step that far out of their cultural training. I don’t know any other religion that traditionally celebrates naked.

    1. The most established religions don’t, mostly it’s specific religions like tribes in South America. Also in Bali there are (not mixed gender) bath houses which are often linked to a temple or even inside one. Also in Africa several tribes have the tradition of nude celebrations.

    2. O well, Wiccans celebrate other things too…but i dont believe this post-subject has anything to do with religion to me anyway.

      1. I agree with iceman. Writing a sentence about naturism and spirituality being linked doesn’t mean they are linked.
        Being naked doesn’t change the inside of the people. They will be judgmental whether clothed or not.
        I think nudism and Christianity create conflict. As Christians we are supposed spread the gospel. As a nudist is your goal to lead someone to Christ or lead them to nudism?
        As you said, this post was a load of nonsense.

        1. Of course, us writing these things doesn’t make them true, or false. It’s just our opinions.
          We notice among the naturist community that there’s quite some spirituality. Both conventional religions as smaller/alternative ones. In a way, one seems to invoke the other. For some. Certainly not for all.

          What’s the goal of a nudist? We don’t think there is one. We (Nick & Lins) try to spread the word about this lifestyle but that’s certainly not expected from all/any other naturists.

  2. Once again, I loved your article. Very well written and thought out. The word naturism contains nature not because of a vague idea of coming back to nature, but because its root, deep inside of us, is natural. Civilization as we know it is only 10,000 years old, humanity 100,000 or more. For the first 90,000 years, human beings were as naked as other animals. As you rightly pointed out, the “indigenous” people live naked without shame. We, “civilized” people, created shame to impose our views of the world on others and show our superiority. Being naked is totally natural and brings freedom, simplicity and a better understanding of our natural world. Always a pleasure to read you.

    1. This makes kinda sence, but i wouldnt say that the civilized ppl created shame only, but also fake morals and rules that were/are also pushed upon others.
      Its interesting that the more the ppl want to implement stuff and make up “rules” and “regulations/laws” to make ppl lives “better ,safer and moral” , the more it creates problems for those same ppl they are making all that for..
      Ppl of the world, shouldnt stear their life based on directions they are made to follow as i described , but based up on other ppl.
      In a word like that, there would be more understanding, less problems, less made up deseases that are affecting ppl based upon a fakely created situation causing them to have “mental” problems ,therefore making them sick/ill ,making them depressed or have a diagnosis.. therefore making them feel like there is something wrong with them, while they are totaly fine ,but just perhaps somewhat different then the next person.
      And the facts to back all this up is what we can see for our selfs, is that the “richer” or more “civilized” the region or country is ,the more of the above mentioned is present.

  3. Excellent post. I formerly embraced evangelical Christianity so I understand deep spirituality. In recent years I have left my former religion but have developed an even deeper and more fulfilling spirituality by way of yoga and mindfulness meditation. Somewhere along the way nudity entered the equation and I can honestly say I am more spiritually fulfilled than any point in my life before now. I highly recommend people add this to their naturism and see if it is true for them as well.

  4. O wow!
    This has to be ,um.. i dunno the real word but.. the most deepest, most serious post u guys ever made.
    Very different ,not a good or a bad way but just different.
    Intereting subject, im not really a believer or into that spirituality thing ,i mean lets face it .. there is no god , there is no anything greater then our selfs, there is no life after death.. but ya.. if ppl choose to believe in that, cause it makes them feel better, or calm or in peace, ..why not then?.
    But in general context it does make sence what u wrote.
    I dunno what u ment by that hippie thing at the end tho.

    1. spirituality is more than just things like gods and afterlife. Like you say in your other comment, it has a lot to do with bonding with each other and all other things in the universe.
      That’s what people mean with “becoming one” with nature, with other humans, etc. The religion here with the tribes in Brazil has much to do about how everything is connected and how we can feel better if we work on those connections (again, with nature and with others). The “gods” can be seen as some kind of super power which oversees it all but also as the glue which connects everything. Depending on how you look at it.

      We also don’t believe in a God or afterlife, but we have to admit that there’s some chemistry which is difficult to explain. Why you prefer this color over that color, why you can immediately like a person or immediately dislike a person. Why you fall in love.
      Maybe it can all be related to protons and electrons pushing and pulling each other. Or we can call this “god”. In both cases it means the same. It’s about the chemistry and religions (if you take away the power aspect and all the negative things that come with it) is basically a way to learn to control this chemistry.
      Does that make sense?

    2. While I was one a Christian, I am now squarely in the camp of “who knows?”. However, I feel more deeply spiritual now than ever in the past. In other words, you have a spirit, the thing that makes you, well, you. That might be all there is, but another part of you communicates with it. It’s like talking to yourself but it’s thinking to yourself. That’s spirituality (for me, at least).

      How does nudity fit in? Being nude while exploring spirituality is a whole new dimension of life. Yoga and mindfulness (defined simply as “being present”) coupled with nakedness is a deeply spiritual thing, but not a religious thing.

      Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. Give it about 5 years though!

  5. Agh ICEMAN
    You know I was thinking and I dare say, some other people would have to agree with me. When I say the call sign GOOSE suits you heaps more then ICEMAN does!

  6. Another great post! I don’t know if it’s an inherently spiritual, but I do feel that cliche connection to nature when I’m naked outdoors, especially when I’m barefoot.

    The only thing to be careful about is using the facts of ancient human behaviors to make the case for nudism. You can’t mention that without also mentioning that women had multiple mates. To use the fact that humans are a historically nude species as a prime example for why naturism should be accepted, opens the door for why polygamy should also be the norm (not to be confused with swinging for pleasure only). It’s the same morals created by society to shame nudism that are also in place to shame polygamy. From an evolutionary or animalistic standpoint, there really is nothing wrong with either.

    1. Indeed, you could certainly use history and evolution to defend polygamy as well. But that’s not what it’s about here 🙂

  7. I have to explain often the difference between naturism and nudism, not that it is really in important but it clarify things in a conversation. I see it as the difference between Orange and Brown, both colours and very similar but there is a slight tough of difference.
    What is interesting in this blog is the part of spirituality and nudity. I know about some religious streams like Christianity that clothing became a way to differ yourself from the mainstream, “I wear the most fancy cloths so I am more important”. It is still used, look at the Catholic priest at the Sunday service, all dressed up. It is so embrace in the western society, mainly in the unconscious mind, that we (the naturist and nudist) have a hard time to show society that nudity is very natural and not something bad or terrible at all. Very good example is how Facebook has invested more time and money in filtering nudity than people who live stream extreme violence like last week in Christchurch NZ. The way they invested is a direct influenced by the mainstream society in the States, I think something which has become very strange and shocking, where the thought that nudity is bad, in fact even worse than violence. This thought is fed by these same religious institutions.

    1. History has its way of changing the life of millions by just small coincidences. We can’t but wonder what would have happened if Constantine the Great of Rome had chosen another religion than Christianity back in the day. But then again, people were wearing clothes from before that time and many other available religions in that era were not a big fan of nudity either. So way may have ended up pretty much the same. Who knows…

      The main religion in the Western world these days seems to be money. Or capitalism. And that’s exactly what Facebook preaches. minorities like naturism don’t really fit in the capitalist world especially because some of us follow ideas which are not really in line with capitalism. You can be happy without having to buy expensive clothes… The horror!

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