Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Feast of Felons

I was blessed with a great childhood. I was raised Pagan, and what could be better? Mom was a Rosicrucian and studied under a few others like the Avatars and the 11:11 group.

This all made for a really cool childhood full of Tarot, Meditation, Creative Visualizations, and Reiki. Except way back then it was not commonly known as "Reiki" everyone just called it Energy or Aura Work. I liked to call it using the Force.

The upside was the open mindedness of my parents, Sex was a beautiful, natural thing, nothing to be ashamed of and I was taught respect and responsibility, instead of suppression, shame and guilt.

The down side was Mom planting "programmed crystals" everywhere, my friend once found one in the glove box on my car when I first got my license. She had hidden it there to "make sure I keep my eyes on the road and my hand on the wheel", she insisted it would make me a better driver. The worst part of having a Witch for a Mom is that you never get away with anything, EVER!

So I was given books through the years, that passed Mom's scrutiny and were intended to elevate my conciseness. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman was a big one that changed my life. Later when I was in the Army she mailed me another called The Four Agreements by Miguel Angel Ruiz, and this one had anther profound impact on me, still to this day. The four agreements are really pretty simple:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don't Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

Each one the Agreements are much harder than you would think. But number three has always been a bitch for me, always looking forward my assumptions grow and blossom into expectation which bare fruit that leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Assumptions and expectations are easier for me to curb, the less I know. When I went to the State Hospital for Samhain services last Friday it was easy not to assume or expect, as I didn't have anything to go on except my few introductory visits, which taught me it was nothing like Prison.

But it is so difficult not to assume of expect when I go to the Prisons because I've been going there so long, and I think I know how things will be. But I have been going on the same days during the same times for over a year steady, this time I went at night.

I assumed no one would know me, and I expected a lot of complications and resistance to what we were doing, and to my surprise I was wrong. Everyone knows about me, apparently a "Wiccan Chaplain" makes for good gossip. But most haven't seen me yet. So when I came out onto the yard I saw basically the whole shift come out to watch me. I was met at the door with a firm handshakes, genuine smiles and good eye contact.

I wear a Combat Veterans hat, and someone made the comment that "he's a Vet so he can't be all bad..." then someone else said "wait, what branch where you in? Not the Air Force I hope..." I responded with "Haha no, the Air Force aint even IN the military" (no offense airmen) And that was all she wrote, I was in like Flin.

The guards helped me out with what I needed, and were nice about it. It has taken me a year and a half to this far. It start out pretty rough, they gave me hell. But I took it, I never complained. (See rule #2.) In the Army its called "keeping it in the Ranks" it might sound primitive and dysfunctional but that's the way we roll. So I've kept in in the ranks, and earned some respect from some of the guards. I just never realized how much until tonight.

The Momentous Meal went off without a hitch, first Pagan Holiday meal in the Prison ever, but not the last, we got three more scheduled. I hope that they go as well as it did tonight. Those four agreements are incredibly simple but incredibly difficult, if your strong enough, they are incredibly powerful. Look what I did with them.

Proof that it can be done.

Blessed Be.


CrackerLilo said...

I followed your link in a comment at the Wild Hunt blog, and I'll most likely be back. I love this. I really love your accounts both of growing up Pagan and of being a chaplain for Pagan inmates. These are both experiences most of us don't have (yet). I loved the story of your mother leaving a crystal in the glovebox! How wonderful, too, that you could help give the Pagan prisoners the celebration they needed.

La Lubu said...

In the Army its called "keeping it in the Ranks" it might sound primitive and dysfunctional but that's the way we roll. So I've kept in in the ranks, and earned some respect from some of the guards.

Heh. We do that in the trades, too. Well, I don't---a little good natured teasing every now and then, for people I've already built a rapport with, but get farther, faster dealing with (sh)it in-house.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you are an amazing person and I'm so glad to know you. I hope to see you and your beautiful daughter again soon at drum circle. Blessings, Nadine