(Inmates performing a Druid Ritual: Source)
The number of Prisoners who identify as Pagans is growing, and many of these prisoners need adequate spiritual services that fit their path.
According to The Wild Hunt, around 2% of all prisoners are adherents to a Pagan or Earth based Nature Religion.
It is interesting that many prisoners have found their Pagan faith while in prison.
Also, according to OldenWilde.org, prisoners who convert to Wicca have a very low re-incarceration rate.
Now, many reading this might think, who cares abut services for prisoners, they broke the law – they should be punished!
However, we must keep in mind that the U.S. has a vast and growing prison complex. There are many people who are arrested for non-violent crimes such as prostitution or drug use. Drug use is a disease that should be treated with therapy, not jail. It has also been shown that therapy is more effective for treating people who abuse drugs, rather than jail time.
Attending to the spiritual needs of Pagan prisoners is important for giving them a Spiritual Path that can help prevent future crimes, and give them a sense of hope to better their lives. So check out the resources for Pagan Prisoners on this page:
(Source: Artwork From a Prisoner)
Culture and Community: The Complexity of Pagans in Prison (The Wild Hunt)
Wiccans in Prison (OldenWilde)
Pagan Prisoner Advocate’s Guide (Download)
When many of us think about witchcraft trials today, we think of witch burnings in old Europe, or the Salem Witch trials.
Basically, we think such things are history.
Yet all over the world today, many women and children are still tortured and even killed over such accusations.
Accusations of witchcraft become a way in which people can take the land of a dead widow, or rid themselves of an extra mouth to feed.
Reasons aside, it’s a pretty barbaric and horrible practice. Glad Nepal is taking the steps to put an end to this.
Russia hasn’t been big in the news for tolerance lately. However, NeoPagans did receive a big victory in Russia recently with the legal recognition of “Aar Aiyy,” a NeoPagan revival of the Siberian shamanistic religion of Tengrism. Tengrism is the ancient religion of the Turkic-speaking population of Siberia – this includes the Turks, the Huns, Mongolians and Hungarians. “Aar Aiyy” means a “belief in a higher deity.” This belief holds that there is one supreme deity, but many spirit helpers and other divine beings.
The beliefs of Tengrism were suppressed when Russian Orthodox Christians came into the region in the 1600’s. When Siberia was under Soviet control, all religions were suppressed. Yet many of the folk traditions have survived and now the religion is beginning to develop in the open.
Adherents of Aar Aiyy had been working for 18 years to gain recognition, and have just won it this year. So, many congratulations for the practitioners of Aar Aiyy in Siberia!