Field Report: Doing Ritual, Doing Time
Keywords:Pagan, Prison, Goddess, Women, Ethnography
AbstractAccording to Susan Van Baalen, former Director of the Federal Prison Chaplaincy Program, most women in prison have never seen a “free” Pagan, one who is not and has never been incarcerated. Yet, she states that Pagan Spirituality, in particular Wicca, is a growing phenomenon in women’s prisons in the United States. This paper explores the spiritual needs of Pagan women prisoners and is based on interviews with Pagan prison chaplains and the author’s self-reflective, ethnographic field notes from a visit inside a medium security federal penitentiary where Pagan women have created “sacred space” and perform rituals invoking the Goddess.
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