Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 1st. 2013 ...
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
The Celtic Tree Calendar
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
September 8th. 2013 ...
Introduction to the Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage
The Druidic Concept of Nwyfre
The Holocaust Survivor (Part 1)
Giving and Helping
September 1st. 2013 ...
Use a Flyswatter for a Fly: More on the Dark Arts
How Spells Work
Is It Really 'Energy'?
August 25th. 2013 ...
Mother Nature’s Way: Forging a Distinctly American Path
Healing Moon Ritual
Unconditional Love: The Paradox of Perfect Love
Earth to Soul/Sole
August 18th. 2013 ...
How Not to Fall in the Bunny Trap
Why Are You Like That? Thoughts on Hoodoo and Appropriation
Finding the Right Coven
The Knowledge Found in Silence
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances, Hazelnuts and Magick Wands
August 11th. 2013 ...
“I Survived a Weekend with Galina Krasskova”
The Charges of the Goddess and God with Commentary
August 4th. 2013 ...
Fair Weather Witches
Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
Pagan Abbeys - A Practical Heritage for Spiritual Lay and Professional Cloistered Communities
July 28th. 2013 ...
Crystals 101: A Helpful Guide For Beginners
The More the Merrier? It’s not Only an Inaccuracy; it’s an All Out Farce!
My Pagan Manifesto
July 21st. 2013 ...
I'm a Witch, Not a Wiccan: A Brief Summary of Broad Pagan Designations
Rethinking Community for Solitaries
13 Keys: The Beauty of Tiphareth
July 14th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés We Use (Part II)
Pagan Humanism: A Tradition of Rational Religion
Moon/Planetary Musings: The Holly King and John Barleycorn
July 7th. 2013 ...
Coping With Depression: Learning to Dance with the Sacred Twins
Shamanic Healing of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Humility and Community Service
H is for Hubris
June 30th. 2013 ...
How To Feel The Energy Around You
Planning A Ritual
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
The Weight of Contemplation: When the Silent Self Grows Louder
June 23rd. 2013 ...
Magick and Play
Tarot Spell for Protection
Moon Musings and Planetary Preponderances: RE-fuse, RE-duce, RE-use, RE-pair and RE-cycle
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Carcer Via: An Inmate's Guide to the Craft
Article ID: 14296
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,110
Times Read: 5,941
RSS Views: 16,100
Posted: November 21st. 2010
Times Viewed: 5,941
Every year thousands of Bibles, Korans, and other religious materials are donated to prisons and numerous other institutions around the country. They fill boxes stacked high and overflowing from store rooms and line the hallways of prison chapels, while hundreds of Pagan inmates are huddled in small circles sharing and circulating a precious few copies of texts, with the fear that their materials may get confiscated or destroyed.
As Pagans we have no one single universal sacred text, except the Gospel of Nature. We have hundreds of books written about Wicca, Witchcraft, Magic and other popular Pagan topics. We pride ourselves on our personal book collections, often coveting the works of our favorite authors. Most of us would never dream of parting with them except as a temporary loan to a trusted friend.
Unlike most mainstream faiths, we as Pagans do not proselytize. We don’t recruit, convert or save people. Our faith is our own, and to that end there is no inherent need for outreach ministries. There is no obligation to spread our good word; there is no obligation to preach the messages of our Gods or to prepare the non-believers for their return, nature is already here.
It’s been said that Paganism is the fastest grown religion in the world; and while that point is arguable, I myself have seen an explosion of growth within the prison system. For over three years now I have served as a Minority Faith Chaplain for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. My first prison visit was with Rev. Patrick McCollum when I accompanied him to a local woman’s correctional facility where we conducted a Samhain service.
He explained about the religious needs and discrimination of Pagan inmates, and he explained how the state of California only hires Chaplains for five faiths; Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Native American.
This is where I got my title, because if you’re not one of the five majority faiths then you fall into the second tier of minority faiths. Not long after that I was contacted by another local prison asking if I would be willing to assist them with the religious accommodations of their Wiccan inmates and I’ve been volunteering there ever since. When I first started our there was only a small handful of inmates. Not just Wiccans, but Druids, Odinists and eclectic Pagans too. Since that time I have seen the Pagan population grow from under twenty to over a hundred in one prison alone. Most of them first coming to Paganism while incarcerated, and for many of them the first ritual they attended was mine.
Just like many of Pagans, when they experience it for the first time there is a feeling that can only be described as a “homecoming.” What follows is the awakening of a new hunger for knowledge and a thirst that cannot be quenched by a single book. It is the beginning of a whole new world, and a whole new path and a whole new life. The next phase is the challenge of obtaining material and every inmate experiences unique difficulties. Some have problems getting things ordered because often times the request must be approved by a chaplain, while others have not problems getting books and materials they have a hard time keeping them. I personally know several inmates who had their copy of Scott Cunningham’s Guide for the Solitary Practitioner confiscated and destroyed by a Christian guard who could not in good conscious allow devil worship or black magic on his block.
But Magic there is. I have seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen inmates representing every conceivable aspect of society; every variation and shade of religion, different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gang affiliations and criminal offense unite in one room, in one ceremony, in one circle. Despite all their conflicting interests and social identities, they still manage to share food, drink and hold hands together in celebration and fellowship. Now that’s true magic.
I see a sincere desire for spiritual growth and a sincere need for help. Every week I receive letters from inmates all over the country requesting assistance, looking for resources, donations, newsletters, or anything they can find to feed their hunger for spiritual growth. While I acknowledge that I may not be the best person to adequately feed the masses, I am trying to help.
I have written a book entitled Carcer Via: An Inmates Guide to the Craft. It starts out with an introduction to Paganism and Indigenous European Traditions, which is based on my annual lecture at Fresno state University and carries on into a variety of topics found in the first section. The second section is divided up into thirteen ritual tools, each of which symbolizes a portion of the ritual I conduct in the prisons, and is accompanied by my personal teachings, understandings and experiences. There are some pretty good stories too. The book concludes with recommend reading list and resources guide.
My book is by no means the “end all, be all, ” but was written to wet the appetite and provide some assistance to those in need. I was honored to have the foreword written by the legendary Raymond Buckland, who has always been as kind with his time and he is with his words. And I feel obligated to do the same, which is why I am away giving copies of this book to inmates for free.
Carcer Via is not just the title of my book, it’s the name of my Pagan community service project. For every single copy of my book purchased I make enough to send two copies to inmates and pay for the postage. I have started a non-profit and 100% of the revenue goes back into the program, I don’t keep a dime. So buy my book and help me help two inmates. It’s a good deal; you get a decent book of completely original Witchcraft for a few bucks and you help out two people in the process. It's a good conversation piece and just good karma.
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