Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Solstice Vigil: A Song for the Earth Mother and the Return of the Sun

As the darkness descends upon the land
and all is blanketed in night
As the silence consumes the passing year
and all that was is left behind

Feel the Earth beneath your feet
(Though she sleeps, though she sleeps)
Feel her breath upon your cheeks
(Though she sleeps beneath your feet)

On this night we keep the fires burning bright
The longest night of all the year
We give our thanks for all the blessings we have known
And pray the sun will reappear
The Mother sleeps and all is cold
(The Mother sleeps and all is cold)
The darkness yields and there behold!

Behold, Behold! The Return of the Light!
Behold, Behold! The triumph o’er the night!
Behold, Behold! The darkness fades away!
Behold, a brand new day!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blessings Upon a Mendicant

Quiet, my soul,
Beneath the pale Autumn moon.
Still the night,
The breeze alone stirs in the wild.
Darkness and cold descend.
Quiet, my soul, in a quiet world.
As my mind’s eye is turned skyward,
Toward the myriad stars shining,
Shimmering like moonlight
On the inky pool of the sky
Beyond which lies the heavens,
Below which lies my love in his slumber,
My heart stirs and swells,
Riding the waves of the night
In cascades of devotion.
Shining Stars above,
Hear how my heart beats for him,
See the love blaze in my eyes as I gaze up, up, up
And onward to beseech you.
See my desire for his health and joy,
See how I long for his triumph and glory,
See my dedication to the desires of his heart
That they be manifest in his waking life.
See them, take them up as a mantle of strength and healing
And encompass him, enshroud him, blanket him
With my unending desire for his happiness and success.
And thusly cloaked in love and luck,
May he rise to greet the sun with pride and virility
To carry his works into the world,
To serve the folk,
To love the land,
To honor the Gods, the Ancestors, and the Spirits of the Earth
In perfect love and graceful humility.
So be it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nine Offerings for Those who Exemplify the Nine Noble Virtues

  1. We begin by calling to Lady Idunna of the Golden Apples, she who tends the tree of immortality with loving care, maintaining its health and well-being that she may give those blessings to the Aesir and Vanir of Asgard. Idunna, who embodies generosity through her careful tending, and hospitality through her willingness to share.  Idunna, we honor you.
  2. Next, we call once more to Heimdalr, lays order to the world and keeps watch over the realms, he who takes not more than his fill nor more than his hosts are able to give without complaint, He of Stilled Mind that hears the wool and grass grow, he who sees all. Disciplined, sharp, ruler of his own destiny that he may serve others. Heimdalr, we honor you.
  3. We call to Lady Freyja, Mistress of the Honored, Chosen dead; Brising-Magic Maiden of Seidhr and Foresight, She who loves without fear, She who makes no apologies for following her heart, Valkyrie, Mardoll, Strongest of Women, Lady of the Vanir, She who had the courage to fill Hrungnir’s Horn when no one would approach him. For courage and boldness, Freyja, we honor you.
  4. We call also to Fertile Freyr of the fields of Alfheim, God of Bountiful Harvest, Rain and Sun, Bestower of Peace and Prosperity, Defeater of Beli with Antler for Sword. Teaches us to remember not to battle, to lay down our weapons, and to put our energy instead into cultivating the land and our relationships with one another through determination and hard-work, for the best rewards we receive are those we reap from what we have sown.  Freyr, we honor you.
  5. We hail Skadhi, who lives alone in her mountain home, the Woman who Runs with the Wolves; She who marched upon Asgard to demand recompense for her Father’s death, to demand respect be paid to her--and received it in Odin’s Hall. For teaching us responsibility and the art of respect, Skadhi, we honor you.
  6. We give hail toAsa-Thor, Son of Odin, Ruler of Mjollnir, Jotun’s Bane, Slayer of Hrungnir, Geirrod, and Thrivaldi, enemy of the Midgard Serpent, Drinker of the Sea who runs against thought and challenges Fire to a feast. For your strength, endurance, and steadfastness, Asa-Thor, we honor you.
  7. We pay homage to Frigga, Goddess of the Spindle Hearth, She who sees all and yet does not wag her tongue with idle gossip, Goddess of Hearth and Home, Keeper of the Fallen Children, Queen of Asgard. For fidelity and Frith, for loyalty and honor, Frigga, we honor you.
  8. We give great tribute to Odin, Alfather. Lord of Wisdom, Keeper of Thought and Memory, He who outwits and outthinks even Loki, Lord of Wit and Trickery. Sacrificer who gives way to knowledge and vision, taking them up screaming! That he may be bathed in truth and wisdom. Odin, we honor you.
  9. And we call to Lord Tyr, Leavings of the Wolf, He who sacrifices of himself for the good of the tribe at great cost to maintain order. Fenris-Binder, Gloved-Spear, North Star, Granter of Direction, and Keeper of Oaths. As the eye is sacrificed for vision, so, too, must the right hand be sacrificed for justice. Tyr, we honor you.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Surrender it All

Surrender It All
By: Rev. Melissa S Burchfield, ADF Master Bard
Tune: E A B E B E
(Tune: D A D G A D)

E5  Bsus4   A9   A9
(D   A/E       G1   G1)
I call to you softly in my hour of need
And I make my offerings to the flame
In times in life like these when I am driven to my knees
I bring my fears to you through the flame

A9/C#         E5    A9            A9
(Gsus2/F#   D    Gsus2/B  Gsus2/B)
In a world that leaves me cold and alone
I hear you through the flames as you call me your own

E5  Bsus4   A9   A9
(D   A/E       G1   G1)
As the darkness falls and the shadows descend
And the silence greets me like an old friend
The light upon my shrine is my beacon of hope
And the silence fills with the voices of my Gods

A9/C#         E5    A9            A9
(Gsus2/F#   D    Gsus2/B  Gsus2/B)
“Through your good deeds and your offerings
You have given of yourself completely
Let us come to you in your hour of need
Give us all that you are suffering”

C#m7   Bsus4    A9   A9
(Bm7   A/E    G1   G1)
So I surrender myself
I relinquish control
I surrender it all and
Let the Kindreds make me whole

A9/C#         E5     A9             A9
(Gsus2/F#   D    Gsus2/B  Gsus2/B)
Make me whole, make me whole, make me whole (2X)

E5  Bsus4   A9   A9
(D   A/E       G1   G1)
When our voices resound in the Well
When our roots run deep with our branches overhead
When our fires of piety
Light up the sky and we
Pour out our offerings
Unto the Kindreds Three
We give our gifts and in *ghosti they receive

A9/C#         E5    A9           A9
(Gsus2/F#   D    Gsus2/B  Gsus2/B)
When we call forth the Blessing
The Kindreds have for you and for me
We must open up our hearts to receive
What they wish to give so freely

C#m7   Bsus4    A9   A9
(Bm7    A/E         G1   G1)
So we surrender ourselves
We relinquish control
We surrender it all and
Let the Kindreds Bless us all

A9/C#         E5    A9             A9
(Gsus2/F#   D    Gsus2/B  Gsus2/B)
Bless us all, bless us all, bless us all (twice)
C#m7   Bsus4    A9   A9 (Four times/Vamp)
(Bm7     A/E       G1   G1)

E5  Bsus4   A9   A9
(D   A/E       G1   G1)
I call to you softly in my hour of need

And I make my offerings to the flame

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Invitation to Saga

By the stream of memory, she dwells,
Saga of the Sinking Beach,
Of the Land of Flowing Waterfalls,
Seeress of Frigga’s Court,
She who drinks from the Golden Chalice
Holding audience with Alfather,
Lady of Memory and History.
Saga, we call to you.
Saga, we give you this gift
And beseech you to allow us a draught
From the Cup of Inspiration.Grant us a sip from your Chalice
That our words may be inspired,Guided by truth and wisdom,
And be pleasing to the folk and the Gods.
Saga! Accept our offering!

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Heart is Racing

My heart is racing
beating as to the cadence of a far-off drum
to the rhythm of a distant tribe
a distant time
a distant place
a distance—where you and I become we

Yet time passes slowly
each beat of my heart
seemingly stretches on for an hour
for an eternity
for eons
when I am without you

I hear your voice in my thoughts
softening the countenance of my days
I see your smile in the trees
Hear your laughter on the wind
Feel your arms in every imagined embrace
Your breath upon my cheek
and I long for you in the silence of my room
Mine own thoughts are plotting
to steal moments of our time-touched love
and hide them away
keeping them safe and sacred
until I cannot stand the distance
that separates us across the miles
Only then do I bring them forth as conduits
as I call out to you with all that I am
and open the way between us
to allow the flood of you to wash over me
The way is not shut
The way is full of light and promise
The way is full of hope
The way is full of you

And in this moment between heart beats
When the silence is louder because of your absence
I hold onto the hope of holding onto you

Friday, June 20, 2014

Remembering a Starry Night

I stand in Fairy, staring at the stars.
Ebony softness blankets the fields
Where the dew has already fallen,
Sparkling in the moonlight--
Or perhaps it is the light of his eyes,
Gleaming with honor and truth
As he shares his wisdom of the sky?

Steamy breath in the cold spring air
drifts around us as mist in the night,
Belying cool demeanors as skin touches skin.
Hearts outside of time’s embrace flirt
With the lingering possibilities
at the edges of our minds,
Lingering, lurking, and waiting for a chance
To be seen, to be heard, to be spoken.

As he stands before me and our eyes meet,
I see visions of stolen moments of music and prayer,
Moments of omens and magic and braided hair,
Moments when I carefully watched him from across the fire
With the cadence of the drums and the chanting of Ancient ways
Driving words further and further into oblivion
Until there is nothing, nothing, nothing
But his eyes and the firelight between us,
Stirring desires once dormant,
Awakening and beckoning as the siren to the sea.

Does he know that I watch him?
Does he see how my gaze marks his path as he walks?
Does he feel my eyes upon his lips when he speaks?
Upon the downy hair on his chin where my fingers long to tarry?
Upon the bend of his neck where his shoulders unfold,
Strong and handsome
and oh, so inviting?

Does he know that I listen to him?
To his words of jest and joy?
To his words of passion and piety?
Does he know I hear him?
The voice behind his words,
Echoing with the tales yet untold of a life,
Of love, of loss, of courage, of overcoming?
Does he know? Dare I tell him?

The crisp air drives us closer.
I wrap the cloak of my heart round his shoulders
in the hope that he may find warmth and shelter there.
The scent of me reaches him once more on the breeze,
His sharp inhale sending shivers down my spine and into my soul,
Shivers banished by the embers at my center.
Were I, but for a moment, the wind,
Dancing round his face,
So softly and tenderly caressing his skin,
Leaving tiny kisses, echoes of my touch, behind me as I go.

But we haven’t eaten here in Fairy,
And all too soon our time-touched moment leads us back to the world
where the sun rises once more like a phoenix
Rising from the ashes to be born anew,
bearing forever the mark of this place,
Of this time,
And of the hope of new beginnings.

Now, so far away from him,
As I sit with my pen and paper
Collecting my thoughts
Before I drift off to sleep
With his name on my breath
And his voice resounding in my soul,
I can’t help but wonder
If he thinks of me in the shadow of the night
As my heart calls out to him across the miles?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Vocational Statement

When did you hear the call to the path of ADF Priesthood? What did it sound like?
Looking back, I think I can pinpoint the Ordination rite at Summerland of Revs. Carrion and Raven Mann when the folk were introduced to the Ancient Wise. I felt the rush of power as they entered the space, and ever since then, I have felt compelled to follow them. The call to serve wasn’t so much heard as felt, in all the things I did at my shrine, in my meditations and trance journeys, in the desire to write, in everything. I have long been a leader, whether deserving or no, and as such, I have always believed it is my duty to earn such respect and honor it when it is given through study and right action whenever possible. I am not perfect, but working with the Ancient Wise has taught me to be confident and to learn from my shortcomings. The call of the Ancient Wise sings through my blood, and I can think of no better way to honor that call than to serve in the Priesthood of Ár nDraíocht Féin.

What form do you expect your vocation to take?
I am not entirely sure what shape my vocation will take, and honestly, I think this is a good thing. The road ahead of me is brush-covered and full of mist and wonder, and I am excited to walk this path. I know that the skillset I bring to the Clergy Council is not entirely unique, but I do feel that I have gifts to offer and aid us in better serving the folk, particularly in terms of counsel and bardic arts. From here, I plan to listen and watch those who have gone before me, and when I see clearly where my input will sing the harmony to their work, I will join in…eventually being able to add melody lines and complete the song of Our Druidry. I am interested in the traveling clergy program, bringing Our Druidry to those who do not have access to the services provided by a grove or other Clergy folk.

Do you feel prepared to become an ADF Priest now? Do you see further work that you will need to do to prepare yourself for the work ahead?

I feel prepared to begin the work of the Clergy in ADF, absolutely. Is there further work for me to do? Always. The path of Clergy is not one that ever gets “completed.” I do believe there is much ahead of me that I have yet to engage, and I am excited about where the path will lead. Ordination will draw me into the inner workings of our Clergy Order where I am sure my path will change and evolve. I am confident that I can handle the work, especially knowing the peers I will be joining along the way. With the support of these Priests, the Folk, and the Kindreds, I am confident the path leads to a successful journey.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayer to the Need-Fire

Naudhiz, Need-fire,
Spark of momentum,
Flame of Motivation
Kindled from need.
Provide us with the energy,
Provide us with the drive, and
Provide us with the inspiration we need
When need surrounds us.
Make us strong in compassion,
Make us burn with conviction, and
Make us wise in decision
As we strive to right the wrongs
And make the necessary changes
Brought to light by your Fire.
Naudhiz, burn within us!

Friday, March 21, 2014


In silence I sit
watching the lengthening shadows
as the stillness of darkness
descends to cloak the day
keeping the chill left in the sun's sudden absence
from seeping through skin to bone

Exhalations stream in steamy mists
that sparkle and shimmer in the moonlight
like stars visiting from the far away sky
And night falls

Sweet night, wrapping the memory the day has become
in heavenly paper tied with bows of possibilities
only visible in this liminal space
between what just was and what is about to be

Gentle night, softening the edges of day into curves
as the light gives way to shadows
that unfold from a day spent hiding
into the midnight symphony
rocking and singing our souls to sleep

As dawn approaches, the possibilities unravel once more
kissed by the last rays of the starry, moonlit sky
and blessed by the first rays of the sun
worthy now to come fully into being
Into a new beginning.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can't Sleep

It’s late, and I’m awake
Can’t sleep; no lack of trying
I stare into the darkness
Deep and moving with my heartbeat
Thinking of my lots and strife
Thinking of my bills and life

I light the candles on my shrine
To break the darkness
And call to the Kindreds
To break the silence
And I know the Kindreds hear me
‘Cause there is food in my belly
And gas enough in my car
Though it won’t get me far
And the kids have hot water
‘cause the gas is on again
And the electric’s still running
Though I owe them money
But for now, the lights will go on
Shining at night
Like a beacon of hope
Like the sun
Like the moon
Like the stars
Like your name
Like you.

I can’t sleep in here
It’s empty
It’s empty
I’m lonely
And my thoughts are of money
Because money can’t hurt me
Though without it
My home is less homey than
Hospitality demands

I call out to the Kindreds
And I know that they hear me
It’s warm at my shrine
Where the candles are burning
And Freyja can’t hold me
But she can teach me that lonely
Is only temporary
Until the kids are beside me
At dawn

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Choose to write.

I present to you a quote:
"A virtue must be deliberately and rationally chosen. But the emotional and passionate dimension of each person's being has a place in the process as well. A virtue is a habit of one's whole self, not just one's intellect."-Brendan Myers, The Other Side of Virtue
A virtue, then, is not simply an absent-minded character trait, an inborn part of the personality. A virtue is a chosen idea about the proper way in which one should behave, and this can become second-nature over time by choosing to continue to exhibit this behavior whenever relevant. A virtue is chosen. There are many reasons why we choose the virtues we as individuals hold most dear, but the ones that stick are the ones that we believe with our whole being to be the right manner in which to behave.

I won't say that writing is a virtue, but this vein of thinking has me thinking. Writing is something that we choose to do, but unless we choose to do it with our whole selves, allowing our emotional and passionate dimensions to have a place in our work, it will never be what we hope it will be. If we want writing that is alive, we must first breathe into it all the emotions and passions, desires, hopes, fears, and dreams that live inside of us. Writing should be an extension of the self.

We all have our own dictates regarding right and wrong, correct and incorrect, and many of those dictates are variations of the same themes: courage, prudence, honor. These are noble notions for us to uphold, and if we apply the same rules of engagement to our writing that we do to our lives, there is no limit to the ways in which we can connect and touch other people through our writing.

When you have done something well, when you dream your dreams, when you feel your fears take hold of you, and when you find the honor and glory of triumph for facing down the odds, choose to write. It is these moments, full of your emotions and passions, that truly make your work a work of art.