Nudism bares its spiritual side

     Source: Worldpackers

Nudism may be declining on an organizational level, but new spiritual techniques and meanings are becoming attached to the practice, Rowan Pelling reports in the online magazine UnHerd (June 24). The nudist ethos grew out of the German Lebensreform movement, which challenged the destruction wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Yet the German Association for Free Body Culture (DFK) has just cancelled their August centenary celebrations, due to a sharp decline in support—with membership slumping from 65,000 to 34,000 over the past 25 years. The president of the DFK, Alfred Sigloch, said that younger members are put off by older naturists adhering to strict rules, “such as specified afternoon nap or quiet times,” while others are concerned about being photographed naked via a smartphone or affected by the way social media has influenced “the rise of the cult of the perfect body.” But as in Germany in the 1920s, “we are seeing a widespread urge for people to cleanse their bodies and souls via acts of nakedness,” Pelling writes. She reports on those who have joined a movement that combines eco-activism with elements of Wicca, Gaia worship, Tantra, naturism, wild swimming and experimentation with drugs including psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) and MDMA. “In fact, it’s now so normal for me to be told that a friend—usually female—is going on a retreat that combines two or more of these elements, often in Portugal, that I’m beginning to feel grumpy about not being included.”