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Mother Earth Ministries ATC

Mother Earth Ministries-ATC was founded in 2000 and incorporated in Arizona in 2001. Our 501(c)(3) non-profit status was approved by the IRS in 2001. Our ministry is affiliated with the internationally recognized and respected Aquarian Tabernacle Church headquarter in Index, WA. All of the members of Mother Earth Ministries-ATC are volunteers, not employees of the Arizona prison system, although some are authorized religious volunteers within the Arizona Department Of Corrections (D.O.C.).

Our clergy are available to counsel, teach, lead ritual, provide information, and answer questions, by mail and in person. We provide assistance to inmates wishing to make Wicca their official religion. We also offer information and counseling to law enforcement, prison officials, and family members of inmates.

We donate, and facilitate others donating, brochures, booklets, books, and tapes to inmates and prison libraries in order to provide information on Wicca and other Pagan religions to prisoners and prison staff.

On 1/22/12 I was honored to be one of the presenters at an Inter-faith Service sponsored by the American Correctional Chaplains Association (ACCA) at their bi-annual winter meeting, this time being held in Phoenix. Their emphasis is upon what chaplains have in common as providers of spiritual services to incarcerated persons. I had a 5 minute window in which to address what contributions our religion, and I as Wiccan clergy, offers toward offender rehabilitation. Attendees included a few unit chaplains, but mostly were the directors of chaplaincies from various state prison systems from around the country.

Hers is a copy of my presentation.

Blessed Be!
Carol

Here is a PDF copy Wicca Behind Bars, which is no longer available in hard copy, unless you want to print it yourself.

Wicca Behind Bars

What We Offer to Inmates

Mother Earth Ministries' mission is to provide accurate information about Wicca and other Neo-Pagan religions to interested inmates and prison staff, and to facilitate Pagan prisoners' study and practice of their religion. Affiliated with the internationally recognized and respected Aquarian Tabernacle Church, MEM is very much a local group, based in Tucson, Arizona.

WICCA? PAGANISM?

Paganism is an umbrella term that covers a lot of religions, all of which are poly-theistic, but not all of which identify as "Neo-Pagan." Wicca is one - and probably the best-known -- modern form of ancient religious tradition of stone-age European cultures.

Heavily-armed monotheism conquered Europe's formal Pagan religions - but after suppression for about 600 years, the old perspectives came back, rearticulated in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Romantic Movement. The Craft was re/created and Wicca's modern structure developed in the middle of the 20th century. It has continued to grow since then.

Wicca is joyous and life-affirming. Our Goddess is all that is eternal and generative; that which is mortal, dying and reborn, we call God. The Goddess and God are partners, not opponents - so Wicca doesn't see the world as full of opposites, either. We see life as deeply interconnected and complementary, not adversarial.

Wicca is one of several Neo-Pagan religions. These include (but aren't limited to) Afro-Caribbean faiths, Norse Paganism, Native North and South American religions, and Polynesian traditions.

All Earth-reverencing religions are growing now; like many other people, prisoners are getting interested too. For many who can't accept mainstream beliefs, Nature-based spirituality is appealing and MEM helps make some of it accessible behind bars.

HOW DO WE PROVIDE ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT WICCA AND OTHER NEO-PAGAN RELIGIONS?

We offer two brochures about Wicca: An Introduction to Wicca and The Wheel of the Year. We also offer introductory brochures about Asatru and Druidry. In addition, we have a single-page flyer of the current year's Sabbats and Esbats, and a variety of other flyers and brochures about various aspects of Neo-Paganism. These are available free to any inmate or prison official who requests them.

Enchantment Encumbered: the Study and Practice of Wicca in Restricted Environments, written by two of MEM's priestesses, is available through Amazon.com, through the publisher via our website (www.MotherEarthMinistries.org); and by "snail-mail" for $17 plus $2 shipping from The Blue Eyed Witch, Post Office Box 475, Tombstone, Arizona, 85638. We hope to make it available through additional vendors soon.

Our writing priestess answers questions and discusses various aspects of Wicca in greater depth than our brochures. Scheduling sometimes keeps us from answering letters immediately, but we do respond to everyone who writes to MEM.

HOW DO WE FACILITATE PAGAN PRISONERS' STUDY AND PRACTICE OF THEIR RELIGIONS?

Our brochures can start inmates on their studies. Our visiting priestess (currently available only to some Tucson units of Arizona's state prisons and some local federal facilities) can answer many questions in person. Our writing priestess is not a pen-pal, but she can go into considerable depth on a variety of subjects.

We help inmates modify conventional rites to accommodate prison rules. We help inmates hear and revere their goddesses and gods right through the prison walls, and in spite of any ignorance, prejudice and/or discrimination they may encounter.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
(Photo by Canyondancer, February 2011)

Left to Right: Lady O'Gaea, Lord Campion and Lady Garr

Lady Garr founded MEM in the year 2000, and is our President; she visits Tucson units of Arizona state prisons as requested. Lady O'Gaea (say it oh-jee-uh) is our Board Secretary and senior Writing Priestess. Lord Campion is our Treasurer.

All of our Board members are fully ordained Wiccan clergy, and all have been active in Tucson's Neo-Pagan community for many years. Lady O'Gaea is the author of several books about Wicca; she and Lady Garr wrote Enchantment Encumbered.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Tradition of Wicca does MEM teach?
The exercises, spells, and rituals that appear in MEM literature are eclectic and designed to work in the restricted environment of prison. They do not represent a distinct or specific Tradition. MEM's volunteers follow a variety of Neo-Pagan paths.

How can an inmate join MEM?
S/he can't! MEM is not a coven or Tradition. MEM is a small group of Pagan clergy who volunteer to minister, in person and by mail, to inmates who want practical guidance and/or spiritual advice.

Does MEM . . .

  • influence DOC policy? No! Lady Garr's a member of the AZ DOC's Religious Advisory Committee, and we are available to answer questions about Neo-Pagan practices, but neither the RAC nor any of us are policy-makers.
  • have a catalog? No. MEM does not sell or provide religious items or books - not even our own!
  • have a newsletter? We used to, but we don't now.
  • advocate for inmates? No; we are not allowed to do so. We don't do Internet research or contact third parties for inmates, either.
  • offer a correspondence course? No. We don't have the staff for it.
  • match inmates with pen-pals? No. Our writing priestess is not a pen-pal, either, nor can she contact other people for inmates.
  • have info about all Pagan religions? Unfortunately, no. We offer information about Asatru, Druidry, and - mainly -- Wicca.
  • offer spiritual counseling? Yes: in person in some Tucson facilities and by mail across the country.

BROCHURES AS OF THE SPRING OF 2011

An Introduction to Wicca glosses the basics of the faith: ethics, theology, fundamental energy skills, the liturgical calendar, casting a Circle, altar gear, and correspondences.

The Wheel of the Year begins to explore the meaning of each Wiccan Sabbat.

An Introduction to Druidry takes a quick look at ancient and modern Druidry, its ethics, deities, and relationship to Wicca.

An Introduction to Asatru looks at ethics, deities, holy days, practice, altar gear, the Runes, and history.

We have flyers to provide brief overviews about a variety of other topics:

We are always working on more brochures, and we are happy to send one or two pamphlets at a time to inmates who request them. We do not charge for our literature, but we appreciate return envelopes and/or donations of stamps when they can be included.

Chaplains may request full sets of our literature if they are willing to make copies - of each brochure in its entirety, without changes, additions or deletions - for individual inmates upon request.

MEM is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible. Please let us know if you want a receipt for donations beyond those to cover the cost of sending brochures.

MEM 2011



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