3CG Bardic Performances

I’m part of Three Cranes Grove Bardic Group. I was the Grove Bard, until the position was passed over to the very talented Mike Bierschenk in 2017. We are a collaborative group that writes and performs songs (outside of any solo work), both liturgically in ritual, as well as in concerts organized for livestreams or festivals. So, while I’ve tried to post some of my songs separately, I would be remiss to exclude the contributions to my creativity and my work. Besides, I like to promote the good stuff that others are doing.

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Second Annual Prayer-A-Day

picture of a candle in a lantern against a dark background with words that say "Light the Way, Draw others to the Flame: Write a Prayer a Day in November. #prayeraday #adfdruidry"

It’s time for the Second Annual Prayer-A-Day Challenge!

November tends to be a month when people work on doing something each day of the month, whether it’s moments of gratitude or writing for National Novel Writing Month. Last year, I decided that I would try my own variation on this trend and began a #PrayerADay Challenge. The idea was to write one prayer each day, to whatever spirit or on whatever topic called to you at that particular moment. After deciding that I was was going to take this on for myself, I thought “wouldn’t it be awesome if we were able to have a whole collection prayers compiled from clergy and other ADF members?” So, I issued the challenge to other members of ADF clergy, and the whole experiment kind of exploded from there. Many people across ADF joined in to write one or more prayers, and it has been absolutely fantastic.

So, it’s time to do this again, and this year I challenge all of you. Yes. All of you! I don’t care if you’ve never written a prayer, or if you’ve written lots and lots. The idea here is to write a new prayer each day. It’s okay if you don’t like it, but write _something_ every day in November.

The hash tags we’ll be using for this across social media are #PrayerADay and #adfdruidry. When you post it to social media, make sure you use both of those tags so we can all find it!

How Jack-o’-Lanterns Keep the Tricksy Spirits Away

Interactive Kids Story Parts:

  • When the child comes to the door, you pretend to knock on a door
  • When Jack opens the door, you shout “Trick or Treat!”
  • When Jack raises his lantern, you pretend to raise a lantern and look in their eyes

Story Script

This is the story of Jack of the Lanterns. He lived a long time ago and was able to tell the difference between good little children and tricksy little fairies.

Continue reading “How Jack-o’-Lanterns Keep the Tricksy Spirits Away”

Seeking Peace

This sonnet was written as an interpretation of a divinatory reading. I asked “How might [person] find peace in their current situation?” I received Epsilon, Rho, and Tau. The first quatrain interprets Epsilon, the second quatrain interprets Rho, and the third quatrain interprets Tau. The final couplet is the three taken together. I would like to experiment with this style of reading more. I’m drawn to the idea of “prophecy in verse” and enjoy working with Euterpe in this way. It requires a certain amount of time to write the sonnet after taking and interpreting the omen, but I found it worthwhile, and it allowed me to delve deeper into meanings and explore more poetic language as a Seer.

“Seeking Peace”

Come together now and tell of your dreams:
Of desire and the fire within,
Of cool waters, the deep and flowing streams
Shining with blessings as they swirl and spin.

Know sweet Nature’s song is quiet and strong:
A patient voice that nurtures. It carries
on the wind, whispering that you belong.
Walk this path slowly, as the way varies.

Companions by your side, they come and go
as they must, each teaching you a lesson.
Be not afraid, for as they leave, you grow.
A tree: reaching the dawning sun again.

Join with a patience, the long view showing
Peace in acceptance, even when going.

Immortality Through Bardry

Many of us hope to live in such a way that we will leave the world a better place that we found it. But even if this is the case, even if you manage to leave some lasting, positive impact, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be remembered for it. It doesn’t mean you’ll be remembered at all.

One of the things that I find the most comforting about Our Druidry is the concept of Ancestor veneration. When we die, we don’t have to lose touch with those who are still alive. And when we’re alive, we don’t have to lose touch with those who have died. We may lose touch for awhile, especially close to the time of transition, but transition is a confusing time, and we often lose touch with people when one of us is at a transition point in our live.

We maintain contact with our Ancestors by remembering them, honoring them, and sharing their stories. This is one of the reasons I think Bardry is so essential to My Druidry, to my practice as a pagan. This importance is two fold. As a bard, it is important for me to be able to learn and share the tales of those ancestors. They are remembered and honored when I tell their stories and share the works they have done. When I continue to participate in and pursue their Vision, I honor them. As a bard, I also hope that my own works will be remembered after I have died. The songs and stories and essays that I sing and tell and share. They are a part of me and a part of my practice and a part of my Vision. I hope that I can be remembered through them.

Last weekend I and four other ADF bards spent a large chunk of our time at the Trillium Festival learning a song by Bess Closs, the daughter of Anna Gail. She died a couple of weeks ago in a car wreck, just shy of her 19th birthday. This song, “A Kindred Prayer,” she wrote when she was 12. It starts out with a fairly simple melody line, and then adds in harmonies and counter-melodies as the song progresses. We learned all the parts and sang it at the memorial for Bess, as well as recorded it.

The five of us have already decided that we are going to again rehearse it and sing it at Wellspring this year. We’ve added it to our repertoire to be sung when we are together. And through that continued sharing, Bess will be remembered and honored, and share in our continued honoring of the Kindreds.

“I sing of your virtues, I sing of your flaws.
I sing of your life so that you may live on.
Live through my words and live on through my line.
Love will circle ‘round and keep your soul alive.”
~ from “A Song for Your Passing” by Rev. Jan Avende

The Waters of Your Soul

As a follow-up to my post earlier this week, I’m sharing a song that I wrote.  I jokingly call it the “Pastoral Counseling Song” sometimes, but it is about finding a place of hope and knowing that everything will be okay when you feel lost, alone, and empty.  I wrote this after following a conversation about holding space for someone, and how oftentimes they cry.  I have a hard time dealing with crying in front of other people.  It makes me feel vulnerable and silly.  But, on further reflection and discussion, tears are the most beautiful thing that someone can give you when you’re holding space with them.  We all hold sacred waters within us, and we are children of the earth.  If our eyes are windows to the soul, then our tears are the Waters of our Soul bubbling up and over as we process through our emotions.  When you cry, you are giving the best of yourself up to the Kindreds.  Even though you feel empty, you are giving what you have left.  And knowing that you’ve given the best of yourself in that moment and you will feel fulfilled again.
“All Things Are Sacred”
~Rev. Jan Avende
When you feel like your soul is empty:
When you feel like you can’t go on:
When you feel like this life is over:
Call on me.
Call on.
When you’ve let go all you can let go:
When you’ve let go all of your tears:
When you’ve let go your everything:
Call on me.
Call on
You should know that all things can be offered.
You should know that all things are sacred.
You should know that you’ve given the best
Of yourself
And it’s enough.
Even when the best of you is broken,
Even when you’re feeling small
Even when there’s nothing left inside you,
I am here.
I am here.
So take heart and know that you have given.
So take heart and know that I have heard.
So take heart and give me all your sorrow.
(I’ll) Fill you up.
I’ll fill you up.
I see the Waters of your soul are streaming
They spring forth and overflow.
I will hold this space for you
In the palm of my hand.
So remember, it’s okay to be empty.
So remember that you’ve given your best
So remember that at the end of the day
I’ll fill you up.
And you’re enough
You should know that all things can be offered.
You should know that all things are sacred.
You should know that you’ve given the best
Of yourself
And it’s enough.
It’s enough.
It’s enough.
It’s enough.
It’s enough
You’re enough.