Saturday, May 14, 2016

Devotional Polytheism and Alone Time with the Kindreds

Devotional Polytheism and Alone Time with the Kindreds

There have been many articles written about devotional practices among polytheists. Folks who have listened to my music already know I am most definitely counted among those with devotional-type practices. 

Before I left Christianity, I was a musician in that realm, too. I played and sang with the worship bands in several churches, and I even led some of the worship music in the college Christian Fellowship group I was in. It was actually the music that kept me from leaving the church, even when I knew it wasn’t the right path for me. I knew I was a polytheist long before I knew anything about Wicca or Druidry or even neopaganism. I didn’t have names for these things. All I knew was singing brought me to a place where I communed with several different beings with distinct energy patterns (I am energy sensitive. Not all people are).

My Wiccan years weren’t full of much music. All the music I produced then was fairly secular and heavy with emotionality. It wasn’t until I joined ADF that I began to blend music with my religious path once more.

I have over a dozen devotional-type songs that I’ve written, but I haven’t written anything in over a year—until this evening. My reflection on this evening’s creation centered on why I have been so lacking in creativity. I mean, I’m a Master Bard, and music has always been such a significant piece of who I am. 

A month ago, we attended the Ad Astra retreat in Kansas where Rev. Badger and I sat on a panel discussing family paganism. One of the statements I made was, “I don’t pray well with others.” This is very, very true, and I know there are others like me. 

As I was reflecting on these two pieces of information, it dawned on me. I don’t pray well with others. I think I actually need to be alone to pray. My personal prayers are private and intimate. In this place alone can I find the stillness and quiet my spirit needs to hear the songs the Kindreds are singing that I so desperately try to catch with my pen and guitar. I need alone time to be a devotional polytheist. Otherwise, I’m just going through the motions.

Fortunately, we are an orthopraxic, right action, religion. Going through the motions is the part that is required. It’s not that I don’t get anything out of these motions, because I do. I love the gift of witnessing others pray. It is a joy that I am blessed with as a Priest. It is renewing to pray with others, and it definitely helps to build good, solid relationships. What I don’t get is anything new.

Devotional polytheism is a way of praying. It’s a way of connecting. And some of us, extroverted or not, need to express our devotional polytheism in private. Much like a seed in the ground, songs and poems and prayers come to me in this solitude, and when I emerge, I have a beautiful blossom to share. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

At the Center: A Song for the World Tree

At the Center: A Song for the World Tree
by: Rev. Melissa Burchfield, ADF Master Bard

Intro: C  F  G  C

Am             Dm              G                  C
      Sing to the Waters, the ever-flowing Sea
F                  C              G
     Sing to the Fire in the Sky
Am                  Dm              G                               C
     Sing to the Waters that flow through you and me
F                     Dm                     Esus               E(maj)
     Sing to the Fire on high that crackles merrily

C             F             G                        Am
     At the center, a spark falls to the sea
F              C                            G
     Boiling Seas and Roaring Waves
C             F                     G                       Am
     At the Center, grows forth the Sacred Tree
               F                                    C 
From the misty depths where the Fire meets Sea
G                         Am
Reaching for the sky
       F                   C             G  C       F   G   C  
Oh, Sacred Tree, grow within me

Sing to the Waters, surrounding all the Land
Sing the Land on which we stand
Sing to the Waters, sing to the Sky above
Sing to the Land, The Earth, The Mother of All
in fullness, joy, and love

At the Center, where Ocean meets the Land
Where misty shapes dance on the breeze
At the Center, the place where life began
By Holy Well, by Fire on High,
By Earth beneath our feet
       F                   C                  G           Am 
Oh, Sacred Tree, hold fast the ways between
       F                   C      G        C          F    G    C      

Oh, Sacred Tree, grow within me