10.19.2005

Courtesy of the Queen's Dungeons, Everything You Need To Know About Witches But Were [Literally] Afraid To Ask



Wands & Wine for Imprisoned Pagans

from TimesOnline

BRITIAN - Pagan priests will be allowed to use wine and wands during ceremonies in jails under instructions issued to every prison governor. The formal guidance on paganism is the latest faith guidance sent to governors to deal with an increasingly diverse prison population in England and Wales. Under sections ranging from the use of wine, dress, and hygiene to festivals, marriage, and death, governors are given a complete guide to paganism, based on information supplied by the Pagan Federation.

Inmates practicing paganism will be allowed a hoodless robe, incense, and a piece of religious jewelery among their personal possessions; hoodless robe can be used only during worship. In addition, prisoners can keep a flexible twig as a wand, a chalice, and rune stones. They will also be allowed to have Tarot cards but are forbidden from using them to tell the fortunes of other prisoners.

Prisoners will be permitted books of pagan writings, and the guidance specifies what staff should do in the event of a pagan marriage and a pagan death. Prisoners will be allowed to practice paganism in their cells, including prayer, chanting, and the reading of religious texts and rituals.

The guidance highlights the part that wine plays in pagan rituals: "Some...will use water while other groups will use red wine. It is important that both variations be treated equally." But wine must be ordered through the prison chaplaincy, stored securely, and used only under supervision. "Individual consumption will be one sip only," the instruction says.

Governors are told that the main pagan festivals are at the time of a full moon, and seasonal celebrations such as the spring and autumn equinox, midsummer, and Samhain, on October 31, the Celtic new year.

"Some Pagans like to celebrate Samhain with cider for the celebration of the apple harvest. In prison an apple can substitute for cider," the guidance says.

The guidance adds: "Washing prior to ritual is considered very important in some traditions. Where possible, prisoners should be permitted to shower prior to group worship."

The guidance makes it clear that Skyclad (naked pagan worship) will not be permitted.

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