A ‘habit’ is a term for the particular dress or uniform of a Monastic Order. It is considered to be both a discipline and a privilege to have an outward sign of belonging to a Community.
Garments in the Bible
Garments, or clothing are often symbolic in the Bible. Dirty, or ‘filthy’ garments represent our sinful nature, while clean white garments represent righteousness. Then there is the ‘garment of praise’ which is offered to replace the spirit of heaviness. Finally, both the Priestly Garments and the Christian’s spiritual armour are specific items of clothing which each have individual symbolism, for example the shield represents faith, the helmet, salvation and so on.
Reasons for adopting a habit include:
– Renouncing worldly fashions and luxuries. Like the Celtic tonsure (hairstyle), which was thought to have been modeled after slaves whose heads were shaven.
– To set yourself apart (see Consecration)
– As a witness (wearing unusual clothes will attract a certain amount of attention, good or bad! Are you prepared for that?)
– The discipline of Simplicity
Reasons NOT to wear a habit include:
– To be holier-than-thou (see also the discipline to Humility!)
– To distance yourself from and remove yourself from the rest of humanity.
Wearing a habit is not compulsory in the Kernow Community! However, we are developing a uniform or monastic habit for those who desire it or who would find it useful. Badges will also be available soon in our shop. We even have a ‘shlanket’ all over blanket with a hood and pockets that resembles a monastic habit in our cafe press shop (choose from the Tree of Life symbol, in large or small, or the green Tregorlann triangle symbol).
In the meantime, if it is something you feel will help you, here are some guidelines for dress to represent the Order:
Choose one plain colour, perhaps green to represent the Celtic connection, or white with a splash of blue to represent the flag of Israel, or a conservative dark colour with a spash of vibrant Temple colours (red, blue and gold) or Celtic national colours, depending on your location, allegiance or preference.
Trousers and a shirt or T-shirt
Plain long dress, or shirt / T-shirt and a long skirt or trousers if you prefer. Additionally, you may consider a headcovering (a plain scarf, Jewish tichel or even a traditional Celtic bonnet). Headcoverings are optional but highly recommended in terms of Witness.