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  • Rob Will

Today Is Winter Solstice

In the middle of the morning, they finally cleaned the recreation yards, and the officers working the pod actually let me and Tony go to the outside recreation cages at the same time, and I finally got my shoes back today. A good start for Yule!

Today is Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day of the year and the start of the 12 nights of Yule, which is also called the Festival of Lights.  Yule is the ancient Asatru/ Norse Paganism holiday in celebration of the rise of the sun. After today, the days begin getting longer until the Summer Solstice, then they start to shorten once again. Yule is also the holiest feast of the Teutonic year. Many other religions celebrate the Winter Solstice and this time of year as well.

Of course, in modern Christianity, we have the 12 days of Christmas. This Christian celebration was borrowed from paganism, as was many other Christian traditions. This seems to have gradually happened from the time that the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD up until Iceland was officially “converted” in 1000 AD. In 313, Rome was a city of various faiths. I’ve thought quite a bit about why Constantine converted to Christianity (in 312 AD), and it seems he did so to unify his empire under one faith. I mean he was indeed a murderous Imperialist, after all. Shortly after he converted, Christianity was made the official religion of Rome. That’s when the merging of faiths in Europe really began. This happened in countries farther to the East as well. For example, today’s Iraq is home to one of the earliest sects of Christianity, and their doctrine would seem “occultist” to most modern Christians.

People were reluctant to give up their old religious traditions so they merged them with the new religion of Christianity. The Christmas tree is the World Ash of Asatru and some say that the cross is the sign of Thor’s Hammer. Though it seems likely that the sign of the cross comes from the Egyptian Ankh which symbolizes Life and Resurrection. Jesus did, after all, spend most of his life in Egypt.

Of course, the symbol of the Celtic Cross pre-dates Christianity by thousands of years. And the chief Norse God, Odin, did sacrifice himself on the Yggdrasil, the Great World Ash, much like Jesus. We even get the names of the days of the week from Odinism. Monday comes from the Old English “Monandaeg,” which means “day of the moon.” Tuesday is “Tiwesday,” the day in honor of the Norse God, Tyr (pronounced Tiw). ”Wdensdaeg,” or Wednesday as we know it, is the day of the High God Odin, or “Woden” in Old English. Thursday, or “Thrsdaeg,” is the day named in honor of the Asatru God of thunder, weather, and agriculture, Thor. Friday, or “Frigedaeg,” is the Norse Goddess Frigga’s day.  Saturday, or “Saeternsdaeg,” is in honor of Saturn – which is a Roman God actually (thank you Mr. Constantine!) – and Sunday, or “Sunnandaeg,” is of course in honor of the sun.

It’s really interesting how Christianity has spread so vastly across this world and how people in ancient Rome accepted the new religion in place of the old Gods. Most were converted by force so perhaps they simply created a dual faith. It seems extremely hard for North Americans (yes, there are two other “Americas!”) to talk about things like that. I don’t know why, recognizing history as truth doesn’t take anything away from Christianity. Christmas trees and all other pagan observances that modern Christians hold as tradition are just that, merely tradition. 

Anyway, the idea of a suffering and dying God was nothing new: there was Tammuz of Sumer, Dionysus of Greece, and Osiris of Egypt, as well as others – and I said all that to say, “Happy Yule!”

They took my shoes on November 1st when I got gassed and they just gave them back today, over a month and a half later. I tried to scrub the crowd-control gas off of them for like an house, but it didn’t work.

Me and Tony (Ford) went to recreation earlier and saw that they did indeed clean the outside recreation yards. We heard the officers and SSI’s (Staff Support Inmates from General Population) out there at like 2 a.m. One of the main issues we’ve been addressing is the fact that the outside recreation cages get covered with bird droppings. They used to clean them every night until the new administration arrived on the unit about 6 months ago. Since then, they’ve rarely cleaned the recreation yards. Now, when I say covered in bird droppings, I do mean covered.  It’s disgusting and surely unhealthy. When it rains, the stench is overwhelming. They hosed down the yard yesterday, so hopefully they’ll continue to do so.

The Struggle continues:  We’re still all on disciplinary status and we’re working on tactics and strategies for the next wave of direct actions.

I deeply appreciate all of the inspiring cards and letters everyone has sent and I’ve been writing every waking hour and I’m going to answer every one. Once we get everyone on the inside and outside moving in the same direction and bound closer together, we’ll be able to protest harder and accomplish more.

I love the holiday season. It’s a good time for self-reflection. Here are some questions I ask myself sometimes, in order to keep focused:

What do you stand for?

What are your goals and ambitions?

Are your everyday actions directed towards achieving those ambitions and goals?Is the path you are on a path of love and peace?Are you bettering the state of humanity by the things you do?

In closing, I wish each and every person reading this a Happy Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year, and everything else!

One Love, One Struggle: Rob Will

Robert G. Will, #999402

Polunsky Unit, Death Row

3872 F. M. 350 South

Livingston, TX  77351

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