What is Naturism?
The word “Naturism” is derived from the English and Latin languages. The English word “nature” and the Latin word “natura“. These words in Estonian are “loodus“, “loomus” or “loomulikkus” and “naturaalsus” which translated back to English are nature and naturalness. Naturalness means that something is innate.
“-ism” is a suffix in many English words, it means “taking sides with” or “imitation of”, and is used to describe philosophies, social movements, behaviors etc.
Naturism is an ancient native nature culture – a world awareness, a lifestyle in which one is respectful towards nature and all natural things and beings including the surrounding environment, also him/herself and others in it. The Estonians native religion, known as “maausk”, so called original religion is also naturism. Naturism is not nudism, although naturism also contains the element of being nude, because being nude is also natural.
Naturism is an ancient culture
Naturism by its very character – as a lifestyle in harmony with nature, has been around from a very distant past, when people lived in close harmony with nature and worked in synergy with each other and nature. Therefore, it can be said that naturism is an ancient world view of native peoples, a culture – no matter how it was called in its time. Words and terms are simply the result of mutual agreements between people to call existing things with certain names. Let’s take electricity, for example. Electricity already existed before it was actually discovered and named by people.
Naturism as a part of Estonia’s indigenous culture
Living in harmony with nature is nothing foreign or new to Estonians. Estonians have been known since ancient times as nature people, practicing their own religion – “maausk” or “natural religion”, “native religion” or “original religion”. This indigenous religion already existed for more than 5000 years ago, it was and still is independent of other religions. It’s interesting to know that the Estonian-English dictionary translates “maausk” literally as “natural religion”.
Principles similar to Naturism
In the Estonian native religion – “maausk”, the essence, the main point is that all living things have a spirit and that one must respect one’s ancestors. It is said that “maausk” is not so much of a religion, but rather a way of life, a consistent world view. In the lifestyle and world view of a native nature worshipper, balance also has an important role – balance between themselves and the surrounding world and the perception of it. It is important, how nature and man are perceived within it, and also how the visible and invisible natural forces are perceived.
The Estonian native religion has no scripture or dogmas, but the five main principles that characterize the Estonian native nature worshippers minds and beliefs, are similar to the principles of Naturism.
- Everything that surrounds us, has power in it – for example food, drink, dance, singing, etc.
- Nature has a soul. There is a soul in humans, the Earth, the plants and animals, the stars and weather etc.
- Ancestors’ are sacred and respected. One must value the ancestors heritage, lifestyle and mindset.
- There are consequences to everything we do. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. There is no external force that could reverse the chain of events.
- Beliefs and religion are everyone’s personal matters not to be forced on others.
Read more about the principles of Estonian native religion “maausk” from the Maavalla Koda webpage. NB! The Estonians native religion, known as “maausk”, so called original religion is the ancient native culture of Estonians.
Good relations require respect
Good relationships and communication require respect. So it is quite understandable that being in harmony with nature as well as yourself also requires respect. As you probably know from your own experience, respect for someone is not a feeling you can just create – it either is or isn’t there.
Respect usually arises as a result of a process or is accompanied by a certain sense of the world – for everything lively and inanimate.Respect can also be felt as a certain spirituality or cognition.
Theory and practice hand in hand
In order to work well with someone and do something together, you need to know yourself and others. This requires both knowledge and experience. There are lots of things you can learn and experience on your own, but, as you probably have experienced, there are things you pick up better and faster working together with other like-minded people. In fact, every person needs to analyse their thoughts and feelings and to get feedback and confirmation on them. Theories need practice to become a reality and get confirmation and be rooted. The goals also need an action plan so that they will not just stay ideas.
People are social by nature
Like many other living creatures, people are social – one reason for it is that living organisms work in synergy. Maybe the reason, why it was created like this, is so that the whole world would work like one big organism where everyone has a role to play. Surely you have experienced that when you communicate with people who have similar world views and the same interests as you, it can make you more lively, healthy and more capable. Some people just have that positive effect on you for no apparent reason – it is the synergy between you.
Surely you have heard or read from somewhere that lonely people tend to lose their minds and also likely to develop some kind of physical health problems earlier in life than those with a healthy social life. This is because our thoughts and feelings are affected by our body chemistry and vice versa.
Indigenous culture also changes in time
The knowledge about “maausk” and it’s traditions and beliefs have been past down from generations to the present day by studying the traditional folklore and religion. No one has quite written down the basics of it. When knowledge verbally passed on or when you hear folklore songs and make your own deductions based upon them, it is understandable that small changes will occur during the time. But still the really fundamental and important principles that are good and necessary will endure the test of time and are carried on.
So Naturism can help in studying Estonia’s native culture and develop it and make it better along the way and vice versa.
Essence is more important than the name
The name, “Naturism” in itself is not all that important. Whether it is a community, an adjective or characterization. The important thing is that, everyone find the thing(s) vital to them in it and with the help of the Estonian Naturism environment experience and learn new things and find kindred spirits with whom to engage in different activities.
It is even said that the Estonian’s native nature religion had no name until the coming of Christianity, because there was no need for a specific term, it was just a natural part of life. The need for a name arose when it became necessary to distinguish themselves and their beliefs from others.
For nature worshipers, being naked is common
The native people also feel comfortable being naked because none of the body parts are considered taboo or something one should hide or be ashamed of – in fact, if every part of our body has an important role, how can we and why should we?
As in other native religions, in Estonian’s native religions “maausk”- the native religion and “taarausk” – Taaraism, there is lots of contact with nature and there are also naked rituals
If nakedness gives you a better and free feeling, then one could say you have Estonian nature people’s genes in you.
Maybe that’s why being naked is no taboo in Estonia. It is likely, most people practice being naked, either alone, with family or friends in the sauna or the sports club shower etc.
Society is used to seeing the naked body in art as well as visual media. Many have had nude photos made of themselves. Being naked is normal.
The embarrassment and concealment of one’s body have come from foreign cultures and religions to Estonia. It was allegedly brought here by Christianity.
Being nude gives better connection
Being naked, contacting someone with something, creates a genuine, immediate, close contact. With bare skin there is better cognition, energy and air exchange. You can surely feel the difference when you touch something with a glove or without one. This is also one of the reasons why rituals, for example tree hugging are done without clothes.
Being naked has a therapeutic effect
- Being naked is natural and healthy;
- Unites people – naturist are more tolerant, friendly and opened;
- Gender neutral – while being naked everyone is treated as an equal with no regard to their gender role;
- Unites men and women – being nude reinforces trust, honesty and solidarity;
- Reduces stress and helps to get over false shame – better mental health and well-being;
- Better attitude towards your body – age, weight, appearance “it is what it is” – being happy with Yourself;
- Useful for youth sex education – healthier relationship and family life in the future.
Naked holiday – naturism tourism
One could say that nude holiday is one of the most fruitful areas for both naturism and nudism. Naturism tourism is a growing tourism industry in the world and for some countries it is a big part of the market share. Even people who have not classified themselves as nudists or naturists, probably enjoy nude vacation. The main thing is that you feel good while being naked. Polls show that many naturists and nudists are also engaged in nude tourism.
Until now (until 2019), in Estonia, naked tourism has not been considered as a tourism sector. Don Simon Tompel (Simpel), the leader of Estonian Naturism, lifestyle and personal marketing, is planning to launch and market such a tourism industry by launching a natural tourism cluster and various collaborative projects.
Naturism environment – also a public space
The main difference between a naturism environment and a public space is that in the naturism environment you can be naked if you like. Although people’s well-being, security, privacy are important in every environment, in naturism environment, these questions get more attention than usual. That is why there is also the Naturism etiquette.
Estonian naturism since 2019
First of all, it should be said that naturist has been a lifestyle for thousands of years, but it has not been named like that. There is no need to define a lifestyle of a wider circle of people.
At the moment (2019) there is no official naturism association in Estonia nor any unregistered public naturism community. In fact, so far naturism in Estonia has been undeveloped and unorganized. The term “naturism” was used in the Estonian Naturist Association name which grew out of the Estonian nudist association, created by some members, who unfortunately continued with ordinary nudist activities (sauna, beach, reunion).
So we have the opportunity to start with a clean slate and to create our own naturism identity. While elsewhere in the world Naturism is mainly focused on nudity – essentially nudism, naturism in Estonia is based on the principles of Estonians, national culture, “maausk”, that has evolved over 5,000 years and where, very simply said, everything revolves around nature and respect. In Estonian naturism, being naked is not the main goal, but a natural part of life.
Estonias naturism vs Estonias Naturism
Estonian naturism is not an association or a community, but a way, a Naturism methodology, same as “Swedish massage” for example.
Estonian Naturism is a trademark of naturism marketing, for naturism.ee, the naturism community, the cooperation network and the naturism events. The trademark belongs to a lifestyle marketing enterprise Lifestyles Marketing OÜ.
Estonian Naturism and the new Estonian naturism (since 2019) is created by the visionary, developer, lifestyle and personal marketer Don Simon Tompel (Simpel).
Estonian naturism vs “maausk”, “taarausk”
Why do we need to create the new Estonian naturism, when we already have a community for our native religion followers – Estonian House of Taara and Native Religions – Maavalla Koda?
It is also worth mentioning that, in addition to the “maausk” there is also a “taarausk” – Taarism a similar belief system.
The main goal of both is to study, preserve and promote Estonian culture and to maintain the cultural independence of Estonians.
The principles of the Estonians native culture are very similar to the principles of naturism and as Estonian Naturism is connected to Estonia it is only logical that we adopt principles that are characteristic of this culture and enable us to create our own naturism identity for Estonian naturism.
Since both, the ancient national cultures and naturism contain nude physical culture, Estonian naturism focuses more on those parts of the national culture where nudity is natural.
The goal of Estonian naturism:
- To Increase respect and tolerance in society;
- Promoting public health and quality of life;
- Promoting the native culture and the smart society
- Promotion of environmental protection and protection of cultural goods.
Naturism unites people and contributes to a healthier society!
In conclusion, lifestyle in line with nature is gaining popularity, and the fundamental values of naturism are also beneficial for most people.
The promotion of naturism also contributes to the promotion of tourism, public health and well-being. In the context of Estonia it also helps to introduce the ancient Estonians’ national culture to a wider circle of people and to promote the practice of their lifestyle.