Today I went to the prison where I volunteer, to celebrate the Fall Equinox with the Wiccans. As it happens, when we arrived, the men were not on the yard yet. I got there and stopped at the Chaplain’s Office and we learned after a few minutes that they had found one of the gates unlocked and had to do an emergency count. So while I had been on the grounds since 9am, I did not get the men for service until 11:45am, almost noon. Then they were going to have to have only a half hour for service. The men had planned to bring food from their cells to ‘cook’ using hot pots and such, so that they could have a feast. They took ramen, rice, beans and chips and I don’t know what else and made a sort of stew in a big plastic trash bag to eat.
The OBOD Druid group had written a service so they went in the smaller room to have Alban Elfed ceremony. This is the second time that the Druids have been able to celebrate a big holiday in that prison, ever, that I know of. I am proud of the men leading that group because they have gotten together, and they work together to make their ceremony happen. The first was on Midsummer, the Summer Solstice. After the Druids had their ceremony I then went into the larger room where they were about to have their service. This group does Egyptian ceremonial magic, and we cast circle and honored the elements and then they all charged a sigil with their energy to release the unwanted and to bring the good into their lives. I took the sigil they made home and burned it in the back yard in my cauldron since they cannot light anything on fire at the prison. Maybe someday when they have an outdoor area.. but not now. After the service they had their feast. I was able to bring them Chai Tea, honey, creamer, and soft drinks along with cookies for the service. This cost about $40 for 39 men. I had to watch the items to make sure that none of the honey or extra tea got taken away to use as currency. Most of the guys are trustworthy but it only takes one to ruin it for everyone else.
Because I got them so late, the Correctional officers said that they could stay late after the Protestant Chaplain told us that we could run into his time that day. I am hoping that some of the men will write that Chaplain a thank- you note.. I know I will. I was not able to go to the other yard today like I’d planned however. When I left the facility it was nearly 3pm and I was exhausted. Normally I’d be there from 8:30-11, then go have lunch in the cafeteria, then come back and go to the other yard to do services there. There was no break and I didn’t eat any of the inmates “mush” for a couple of reasons but mainly because I’m not supposed to share food with them unless it’s food I brought from my church. We need to find a way to get more funds to help pay for this ministry. For these guys to get to have fresh fruit or outside food at all is a big treat. Many of them are spending life in prison and have never seen an iPod, or haven’t eaten a strawberry for 10 or more years. It’s heart breaking, really. So little to make them so happy. After all natural foods from the Earth are part of the bounty of Mother Earth and part of what we worship.
Yesterday I served the Odinist/Asatruar inmates on that yard by hosting an Alfar blot. We did a teaching about the Fae, and Nan told a story about how the Fae are like the Alfs and not like them. Then we did blot, and had juice and crackers. We have gotten copies of the Poetic and Prose Eddas donated for the library- one of each. That is all they have right now. I am hoping to find more books that we can put in the library and am always looking out for deals from Amazon.com or whatever. Maybe it’s time to make a pay pal account for the non profit which supports our prison ministry (FPCAV) and put up a donation button. I suppose it could not hurt.But not until after AV Pagan Pride Day this Saturday! TOO BUSY!