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I often call out to pagan gods for guidance because good direction and advice is hard to find in prison. Recently, I have been trying to make sense of America’s hate problem. The other day I met with a shaman concerning bigotry. I was in meditation when I suddenly found myself in conversation with the pagan god Odin.

Before I describe my vision, I want to tell you I am a White prisoner serving time in Pennsylvania. On television, I have seen a lot of protests of violence. I have witnessed the faucet of tears from mothers and fathers. I have observed their mourning. As I get older, my White privileged life cannot fathom true racial oppression.

What I do understand is it’s time for our country to grow up. From the confines of my cell I have been watching the recent news about all the protests. I have seen lots of White people holding signs that read, “End White Silence.” Supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is the right thing to do. The only way I can make some noise is to tell you about my conversation I had with the father of the god of thunder.

My astral journey started with a climb up a cord to a castle in the sky. Once I got to the peak of the cordage, a man carrying fresh bread said, “Odin has been expecting you. Come with me.”

I took after him and wasted no time. In an instant we arrived at a large door. Through the entrance door was a thick layer of mist. A young girl was pointing at something. The bread-carrying man went to the girl. Across from them was an adult woman pouring a refreshment of sorts. The haze began to wane. A massive throne appeared. Seated upon it was Odin. A crow was perched on each one of his shoulders. On the wall behind him were beautiful painted images of Norse symbolism.

The god in front of me pierced my being with the look of his one eye.

“My name is Odin. I know your heart and wish to solidify it. Why you have come is by your own calling. To self you must turn. My guidance is a reflection of your own knowledge and wisdom. Inward must your questions flow.”

My opportunity to speak with my shamanistic muse was before me. I did not hesitate.

“What is hate, my lord?” I blurted out from the edge of my throat.

Odin responded with authority, “It is intense hostility — extreme enmity, animosity and prejudice. Hate is the fall of mankind.”

As I asked my next question, a crow on Odin’s shoulder cawed.

“What’s the point of hate regarding race for mankind?”

“Mankind comes from the dirt. All will return to the dirt from which they came. Segregated race is of the flesh. There is only one race. The human race. Silly is mankind who has animosity toward one another because of pigmentation of skin, creed, or religion. Listen to me little one! The world has an uncontrollable itch to segregate itself. One should heed the concept of dividing and conquering. Unification with diversification would be a force to be reckoned with. Without unity, people who oppose you will dominate you. Acceptance and tolerance yields much more power than bigotry.”

A black cat cuddled the god’s shield and began to meow. I gathered my courage and asked my final question.

“What do you think about the Black Lives Matter movement?”

“I say unto you. Hail to the advocates of equality. The womb of parity is amongst mankind but not without haste. If the human race must divide itself. Black lives do matter. As do the lives of all. However, the lives of all cannot matter until Black lives matter.”

And there it is. My vision was over. Still, I have much work to do. Being a voice of equality is no easy task. This is especially true in the razor-wire jungle. Nonetheless, it is my contribution to end the silence of bigotry.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Harold Sanford Carter III is a musician and activist whose poetry has been published in the Journal of Progressive Health and Human Services as well as the American Prison Writing Archive. He was formerly incarcerated in Pennsylvania.