Call me Morninghawk. I am a shamanic servant of the Gods and spirits, with my ministry focusing on carrying light into dark places. I currently bear the torch as a Pagan prison chaplain to guide prisoners out of the darkness. I’ve practiced magick since 1999 and currently live in central Minnesota.
I do prison outreach as a form of service to my Gods. I serve Them by bringing light into the areas that are darkest. I see prisons the darkest of places because our society, and even within the Pagan community, thinks of prison inmates as the lowest type of person. Many Pagans are surprised when they hear about my ministry in prisons, especially the Sex Offender Program in Minnesota. They think that “those people” are “evil” (in the Abrahamic sense) and must be excluded from everything that relates to normal society and community functions.
The problem with this thinking is that the vast majority of prisoners will be released back into society at some point. Due to the rising popularity of Paganism in prisons, the percentage of ex-cons in the outside Pagan community will rise very quickly soon. What kind of members do we want in our community? People who have been helped in developing a healthy, guided, close relationship to the Gods and are dedicated to serving others upon their release? Or people who were ignored in prison and are released with many misconceptions of Paganism and the Gods? You would be surprised at the various interpretations inmates have about basic Pagan books such as those written by Cunningham, Ravenwolf, and others, when they are not allowed to communicate with others outside of the prison system. Prison life changes a person’s method of thinking and they need a light from the outside to provide clarity and reason.
Prison inmates need hope so they have a reason to improve themselves. The Gods provide this hope and faith drives them to mend their ways and reconcile themselves with their shadows. Prison inmates need a torchbearer to bring the light of the outside into their world. The light of an outside perspective, the light of hope, the light of knowing that someone really cares about them.
This is why I serve the Gods in prison institutions.