Yes, yet another fashion blog! What can I say? There are certain things that do need to be covered. And so we bring out the robes! Now, in this blog I will be refering to the Witch’s Robe, but please know that I am also going to include in that category things such as cloaks. They do serve a slightly different purpose, but they share a lot as well.
Many in Western Culture will know about the whole “Sunday best” aspect of wardrobe when it comes to attending church on Sundays. Unfortunately, this has also become something that has been lacking lately. It is not that I think that a homeless person has no place in church, so please don’t get me wrong there. Some folks just cannot afford nice clothes and yet they are still devout in their beliefs. That is cool. But when you can afford to have nice clothes, show respect for your spiritual path by dressing nicely for sacred events, and just choose not to do so, then that is nothing more than plain laziness and disrespect.
This is why the Witch’s Robes are so important. They show respect for the sacredness of the spiritual path. The Witch’s Robes can come in any number of colors or color combinations. For example, some folks who resonate deeply with the Earth and Nature might choose a robe that is green in color or in the brown tones. Some who resonate with the Sun may choose a robe that is yellow or gold. Some who resonate with the Moon may choose colors such as blues, whites and silvers. The list can go on and on. The thing is that your robes should be a reflection of you as a magical practitioner. It can have any color that resonates with you, the celestial or earthly aspects, the elements, and can have any pattern you choose, such as animal prints or stars, or be richly textured if you like.
Having said all of that, I should also mention the various styles of Witch’s Robes that are out there, because they are varied. For example, some are hooded, some have straight sleeves, some have wing style sleeves, some don’t even have sleeves. Some wrap around you like a cloak style, while others pull over your head and still others are more shawl-like. The style does not matter much, except when it comes to functionality.
I have some white Witch’s Robes that have wing-style sleeves. Those sleeves are not the best design if I am doing a fire ceremony! So inside the sleeves are some sewn-in tabs that can be used to scoop the long sleeves up to the elbow and button them down, safe and sound! I know! A brilliant design that is! If I want something that is easily removed because of warm weather, then I am definitely not going to be donning a Witch’s Robe that is a full-body pull-over. And if it is cold outside and I am doing an outdoor ceremony, then I may even wear a Witch’s Robe with a cloak over top! With Witch’s Robes, practicality is the key. So it is completely alright to have a few of them in your wardrobe to help ensure that the functionality is appropriate for the event.
Something that people often have not known is that the long sleeves on a Witch’s Robe have, in centuries gone by, been used to conceal things such as athames, wands, and even weapons. The world was a very dangerous place, and we did not have airport security to check us all out. The same can be said for the Witch’s Robes that are floor length. While they may not have been extremely practical in terms of running or walking up a flight of stairs, they were quite useful when it came to hinding things beneath them.
The main purpose of the Witch’s Robe, however, is to be dressed and ready to address Spirit in ceremony and ritual. Yes, there are some who practice Sky Clad (naked) rituals, and that is completely alright for them. But some of the rest of us are not really into that. And, let’s face it, that tradition is a very new one that was birthed with the emergence of Wicca, which is the new kid on the block when it comes to magical practices of the Craft. The fact that the Witch’s Robe indicates respect for the Spirit of the ceremony and ritual is also reason for why the Witch’s Robe is an individual thing. It is important for Spirit to, at a glance, be able to identify who you are as a Witch based upon the chosen design of the Witch’s Robe, even if your face is not visible because of a hood or even a sacred mask. In some traditions, the Witch’s Robe is also something that indicates rank and status in the magical community, much like the color purple being reserved for Royalty in days of old….okay…days of OLDE!
Having said that, I must admit that I am not one who follows a tradition that is steeped in rank and status. I have always found that to be just another form of “crowd control” like most religions. I believe in the freedom of self-expression amongst all magical practitioners, regardless of their blood lines, their magical training and aptitude, their gender and so on. So if you want to create and wear a rainbow colored Witch’s Robe that is completely bedazzled, then ALL THE POWER TO YOU!
I have a number of Witch’s Robes. Many of them are in shawl form for convenience. Some are long, full-body robes, and some are hooded. I prefer the color tones in the blacks (representing the magic of the Void), greys (representing the middle of the road in terms of magical extremism), blues (representing both the sky/air and the water elements) and tans (representing Nature itself and the Earth, as well as animals). Some of them are quite fancy and others are quite plain. Some have designes and some do not. All of them are special to me and represent some aspect of my being.
There is also something to be said for the ritual of “dressing up” for a ceremony or ritual. Just as a warrior will put on practical clothes for battle, and strap on any number of guns, bullets, daggers and so on, the witch also dresses appropriately for ceremony. And, let’s face it, sometimes when working with Spirit we are actually having to go into magical battle with forces that can be dangerous and negative. So best to be properly attired for the occaision. Every fiber of the robe is magically blessed and charged. Every belt that is added, hat that is worn, every piece of power jewelry that is donned are all a part of the magical force of nature that is YOU. Take the time to create what feels best. Take the time to design it in a way that reflects your magical essence. Also take the time for a ritual bath or smudge prior to the dressing ritual. You might as well cover all bases! And then show up, look Spirit in the eye, and ask, “Now, how can I help?”