If you’ve ever attended a Pagan festival, you’re familiar with post-festival letdown. You spent a weekend, or a week, at fest being fully yourself; living your ethics with every breath; being emotionally open to others; meeting amazing people who now feel like family to you; relearning to love your body and embracing your unique beauty. You feel glorious and strong and loved.
And then you go home, away from all those people you’ve grown so close to in such a short time, where you cover up your religion and you cover up your skin, to a greater or lesser degree. Insecurities creep in. The world is a bit grayer while you feel blue. You know festival has to end, but you wonder how to keep the positive feelings and lessons and people of festival all year round. Just a slice of it.
Enter #NakedCoffee. It’s exactly how it sounds. People rolling out of bed and drinking coffee while buck naked and posting a photo of it on Facebook to continue remembering how beautiful you are; to stay emotionally open; and to stay connected.
#NakedCoffee was born at Pagan Spirit Gathering. Melanie Moore and a group of friends met each morning to do makeup and chat over coffee. Since it was a particularly rainy, muddy PSG, they gave up on clothes and just hung out naked.
And then PSG ended. “The sister hood was so strong,” says Melanie Moore. “When I got home I missed it so much I wept.” So she posted a picture on fb of herself drinking coffee, naked. They reciprocated. “We started doing it more and more, even teasing each other with our cool mugs.”
Tasha Rose didn’t attend PSG, but she had already been taking her morning coffee in the nude, at festivals and at home, for a while. Then she noticed Melanie’s photo and she posted one, too. “It felt like a nice way to connect with dear ones who I don’t see often. I post the pics online for no real reason other than vanity, maybe a little bit of the feeling that we are all in the room together naked and drinking coffee.”
It’s mostly women joining in #NakedCoffee. Their ages vary. They pose Individually and in groups; no makeup; hair messy. Some gaze confidently into the camera lens. Others display exuberant joy. In groups, they stand close, touching, completely comfortable. These are women who own themselves and own their power. They’ve found a way to bring the positive, body image culture of Pagan festivals back home.
“It wasn’t a spiritual thing in that it had a religious meaning, but it did have a certain ‘baring of the soul ‘ quality to it,” says Tracie Sage Wood. She says it is very empowering, “This is me. Take me or leave me, I don’t care, but here I am.”
For Tasha it has become a necessary part of her spiritual practice. For her, it’s a conscious effort, not mindless routine. “Yesterday was really a rough start. I woke up and had a headache and felt terrible about the load of things I had to do. I yelled at my kids, it was bad.” Then she realized that she hadn’t done the two things that she usually does first thing every morning – make an offering and drink coffee in the nude. “I made offering and my coffee and the day was better from there,” said Tasha. Her husband now joins her for #NakedCoffee on Saturdays and they’ve posted the photos to prove it.
Posting the photos on social media seems integral to #NakedCoffee. It’s a way for them to connect with one another and to combat the toxic messages that mainstream culture bombards us with every day. “Body image is huge. How we see ourselves. How others see us,” says Tracie. She enjoys posting the photos and seeing others do the same, “It was very freeing. And when I see others I think how carefree and beautiful they look.”
Tasha is taking #NakedCoffee on social media to the next level. She’ll be joining friends for naked coffee on a live webcam on a Google+ Hangout. They’ve been waiting for one of their group to get her webcam set up.
Since #NakedCoffee first appeared on my FB feed, I’ve been watching it spread. First to other Pagan and now to non-Pagans. There’s a big difference in the photos between Pagans and non-Pagans. In non-Pagan photos, there is not as much playfulness, more staging, and more focus on genitals.
Will this continue to spread? Will it help Pagans sustain the positive body image festival culture? And is this something the mainstream can learn from us?
“This was originally about sisterhood,” says Melanie. She notes how powerful and needed sister time is. When asked if she’s hopeful that others feel empowered by doing something like #NakedCoffee she said,”If that’s what folks take from this, that’s awesome! Love your naked body! It’s amazing.”