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Prayer a Day – Week 1

Every year, ADF priests and others get together to celebrate the month of November by writing a prayer a day. Started by Rev. Jan Avende, this year marks the third year of this prayer-writing festival, and is something I look forward to doing each year.

Things are a little tough for me right now, so I expect a lot of my prayers will reflect that, and also this year I was out of town from Nov 1- Nov 4, so I’m one prayer behind still (today’s the 8th and I’ve published 7 prayers).

But here are the first week of prayer images for this year’s Prayer A Day. I hope you enjoy them. Feel free to share, but please leave the attributions on the images, or attribute the written text to Rev. Lauren Mart, ADF.

Enjoy!

*****

An Airport Prayer –

Liminal spirits of the airport, hear this prayer of mine. I make you this offering that my flight may be on time, my seatmates pleasant, and my phone battery not run out. And should I be delayed, I pray for patience and calm, that I may make it home today.

11-04 Airport Prayer

A Daylight Saving Time Prayer

I say this prayer to ease the transition from one time to the next. The clocks have fallen back and the streetlights come on early. May we all ease into this time of transition and find respite in the ever shortening days.

11-04 Daylight Saving

A Day of Rest Prayer

For the beauty of a day of rest, away from the chaos and noise of the wider world, I thank you today, oh spirits. May I care for myself today, that in the coming days I may rejoin the world with a fighting spirit and a hunger for what is just and true and right.

11-05 Self Care

A Prayer for Election Day

To the three sisters whose spirits guide our country, today we pray. Hail Liberty; Hail Columbia; Hail Justice. May we each make our voices heard. May our votes ring out like the sound of many beating wings; the sound of freedom, lifting us to fulfill the dreams we have for our country and our fellow citizens. May we, today, speak truth to power – truth that does not need to yell for it to resound through the halls of government like the strike of a bell. May we always seek to lift up what is true. what is just, what is right, and what is honorable. To you we pray, Liberty, Columbia, Justice, for the future of our nation and all nations.

11-06 Election

A Prayer for Election Night

Tonight, as the world rages around us, spun up into a froth about so many (important) things, let me remember to breathe. Let me make tea and drink it, allowing only space for myself and the tea, that I may find my center. And then tomorrow, let me go back to work, no matter the outcome of tonight. Let there be stillness. Let there be peace. And then, from the stillness, let us move in the direction of justice.

11-06 Make Tea

A Cold Front Prayer

Oh Winter Winds, whose arrival is heralded this day by the sounds of far away thunder, come to visit my city. Bring your chill that we may know the blessings of warmth, bring your rain that we may be renewed, bring your darkness that we may appreciate the light. As you blow cold through my city, turning leaves to amber and gold, I welcome you, first winds of winter. May you renew us over these next months, that we may appreciate the spring.

11-07 Cold Front

A Prayer for Loneliness

May my loneliness be transformed to solitude
May my suffering be transformed to compassion
May the experiences which have changed me help me to become whole
May I know peace, and wisdom, and clarity of mind
Oh spirits, I place all these things as offerings

11-08 Loneliness

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In light of the many, horrific, recent events (Trump administration looking to erase transgender people, bombs sent to prominent Democrats and CNN, shooting more unarmed black people, shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue) I feel that I need to make my stances perfectly clear.

I stand with the minorities, be they racial, religious, or sexual orientation and gender identity.  I fight with them where I can, and when I can’t, I try to raise awareness.  I stand against all who do not, and denounce those that attack any of them.

Unfortunately this past week is not anything new, and it has only happened more often and on larger scale over the past few years.  We have an administration that won on xenophobia and white nationalism, or in plainer terms, by imitating the Nazis.  Unfortunately this is not a uniquely American problem.  I really wish it was.  This kind of thing is showing its face throughout the world.  In Germany, we had a far right “Nazi” party win seats in their parliament last year.  We had the conservatives push for Brexit in the United Kingdom.  Just this week we had the far right win the presidency of Brazil.

America as a nation is stronger for its immigrant history.  We will only get stronger when we open ourselves up to the ideas and culture that future immigrants will bring.  Our problems are not because of immigrants, they are in large part due to greed by wealthy people and corporations along with the policies to support that greed.  For that reason alone, everyone should vote, and vote against those that support this greed.

Our racial minorities are continuously under attack.  I support Black Lives Matter wholeheartedly.  They are not saying that non-black lives don’t matter, but they are bringing into focus that there is a significant bias against them, especially from the police.  What is worse, when it is the police they are dealing with, they have good cause to fear for their lives. This is not limited to blacks though as most racial minorities have similar fears.  We need to embrace this movement and work towards more equitable policing, especially in predominately minority areas.

I firmly denounce any and all bigotry to any religion. The antisemitism of the synagogue shooting is horrific.  In this day and age there should be no reason to hate a person because they are Jewish.  For that matter, nobody should hate someone because of their religion at all.  We need to realize that if someone is truly following the teachings of their religion, and not a perversion of it that is meant to control others or perverted for political purposes, there is much more in common than different, especially when you are talking about the values the religions teach.

For anyone that is transgender.  I support you too.  There is no reason to not believe that you are not the gender you identify with.  I fully support you living as the gender that you identify with, and to be yourself and to be comfortable with yourself.  I find it abhorrent that anyone would think otherwise, and I will continue to do what I can to make sure you can be who you are.  I will do what I can in the fight that is currently going on, and I am more than willing to listen and learn from you.

With all of that, I will again make this offer to anyone that is reading this.  I live in a state that is likely to be minimally screwed by the current administration.  I offer you refuge here, and will help you transition to a more liberal area of the country if you feel the need.  My home is always open to everyone that does not hold a xenophobic, white nationalist, or similar belief.  I can always get a cup of tea, coffee, alcohol, and/or food here.  I pledge to help however I can and however you want, be it just sit here and let you vent or a shared brainstorm on what to do next.

In closing, I hear you, I support you, and I am here for you.

*Originally posted by Rev. Robb Lewis, who gave me permission to post it here, and to say that I agree with and stand behind his words. I’m sorry to not have the eloquence to be able to give my own words to this situation, but I offer these instead. 

I’ve long thought about writing up the holidays that I celebrate, as an Anglo-Saxon pagan druid with a strong English folk bent. So here you go – the wheel of the year, with the names I call each holiday and what I do primarily to celebrate each one.

  • Yule – greenery, lights, candles, and 12 days of preparation to begin the new year
  • Candlemas – the celebration of the returning light. Buying and preparing candles, cleaning oil lamps, blessing the home with light.
  • Eostara – the celebration of the dawn, the radiant dawn maiden Eostre, and the balancing towards the growing light of the year. Sometimes just “Spring Equinox”
  • May Day – For summer is a comin’ in and winter’s gone away-oh. Celebration of summer, and also of the first harvests of vegetables in Texas, planted back in February.
  • Midsummer – bonfires, grilling, burned herbs for protection, and protection against hurricanes and tropical storms. Purification by fire, dawn and sunset rituals.
  • Lammas – John Barleycorn, the sacrifice of Ing, the first grain harvest. Loaves baked and sacrificed for the blessings of the harvest for the whole season. Sacrifice – personal and as a group – made to ensure the prosperity of the group.
  • Harvest Home – very much a mini-Thanksgiving, this is the height of the harvest, and the middle of the second growing season in Texas. Naming a harvest queen, drawing her around in a wagon to bless the town. The “holy month” of the harvest.
  • Hallows – Ancestor’s night, the welcoming in of winter, the blood harvest and final sacrifice. Celebration of prosperity (hopefully) and of a year well spent. Entering into a liminal time between Hallows and Yule in preparation for beginning the cycle again.

I should note that a lot of this calendar is UPG and modern Neopaganism derived, just with an English-folk flavor to it. It works for me, and makes me feel connected to the ancestors of spirit from whom I draw my practice.

I also observe the Anglo-Saxon Lunar Months, which begin on the new moon – the true new moon, not the dark moon (so 2-3 days after the actual “dark moon”, when the first crescent is visible in the sky). You can find out when those dates are here.

This lunar calendar is given to us by Bede, so your mileage may vary as to how accurate it is, but I find it meshes well with the 8 holidays I celebrate above:

January, Bede explained, corresponds to an Anglo-Saxon month known as Æftera Geola, or “After Yule”—the month, quite literally, after Christmas.

February was Sōlmōnath, a name that apparently derived from an Old English word for wet sand or mud, sōl; according to Bede, it meant “the month of cakes,” when ritual offerings of savory cakes and loaves of bread would be made to ensure a good year’s harvest. The connection between Old English mud and Bede’s “month of cakes” has long confused scholars of Old English, with some claiming that Bede could even have gotten the name wrong—but it’s plausible that the name Sōlmōnath might have referred to the cakes’ sandy, gritty texture.

March was Hrēðmonath to the ancient Anglo-Saxons, and was named in honor of a little-known pagan fertility goddess named Hreða, or Rheda. Her name eventually became Lide in some southern dialects of English, and the name Lide or Lide-month was still being used locally in parts of southwest England until as recently as the 19th century.

April corresponds to the Anglo-Saxon Eostremonath, which took its name from another mysterious pagan deity named Eostre. She is thought to have been a goddess of the dawn who was honored with a festival around the time of the spring equinox, which, according to some accounts, eventually morphed into our festival of Easter. Oddly, no account of Eostre is recorded anywhere else outside of Bede’s writings, casting some doubt on the reliability of his account—but as the Oxford English Dictionary explains, “it seems unlikely that Bede would have invented a fictitious pagan festival in order to account for a Christian one.”

May was Thrimilce, or “the month of three milkings,” when livestock were often so well fed on fresh spring grass that they could be milked three times a day.

June and July were together known as Liða, an Old English word meaning “mild” or “gentle,” which referred to the period of warm, seasonable weather either side of Midsummer. To differentiate between the two, June was sometimes known as Ærraliða, or “before-mild,” and July was Æfteraliða, or “after-mild;” in some years a “leap month” was added to the calendar at the height of the summer, which was Thriliða, or the “third-mild.”

August was Weodmonath or the “plant month.”

After that came September, or Hāligmonath, meaning “holy month,” when celebrations and religious festivals would be held to celebrate a successful summer’s crop.
October was Winterfylleth, or the “winter full moon,” because, as Bede explained, winter was said to begin on the first full moon in October.

November was Blōtmonath, or “the month of blood sacrifices.” No one is quite sure what the purpose of this late autumnal sacrifice would have been, but it’s likely that any older or infirm livestock that seemed unlikely to see out bad weather ahead would be killed both as a stockpile of food, and as an offering for a safe and mild winter.

And December, finally, was Ærra Geola or the month “before Yule,” after which Æftera Geola would come round again.

An excerpt from the lovely pre-ordination rite that Rev. Jan Avende wrote for me, performed by a small circle of close friends and mentors, in preparation that my ordination and my priesthood would be blessed and strengthened:

Blessing and Spirit Gifts

Blessing – one person speaks while another purifies with incense and water

May your feet be washed clean and purified,
as you stand ready to embark on your new path.

May your legs be washed clean and purified,
As you draw strength from the earth in this work.

May your hands be washed clean and purified,
as you prepare to do the work of serving the Folk.

May your heart be washed clean and purified,
as you open yourself to the love of the Land

May your lips be washed clean and purified,
as you sing praises to honor the Gods.

May your eyes be washed clean and purified,
as you see the way open before you.

May your head be washed clean and purified,
As your judgments be just and sure.

Individual gifts:

Each individual places their hand on their heart and reaches a hand toward the individual and states the gift that they give. You may speak these words as written, or use your own that better reflect the intent of your gift.

The work of a priest, while challenging, is fulfilling in many ways. May you find beauty and contentment in your vocation.

You will be challenged in many ways, and by many people in this work. May you be blessed with the confidence to hold your ground and be firm in your beliefs and your work.

Some things have no easy answer, especially in the work of a Priest. May you be blessed with the knowledge that you have a fair heart and strong will. They will serve you well.

You are a Priest, soon to have the blessing and burden of responsibility to the Folk. May you be filled with strength and courage to be surefooted along the path you set out to walk, knowing that we support you in your work, and that we trust in your vision.

Though the road may be uncertain at times, know that the path will reveal itself in time. May you be blessed with patience as you find your way, and may you never stagnate in your growth.

Priesthood can be lonely, and requires sacrifice. May you know that you’ve got allies in this world, as well as in the Otherworld to support you in your work.

As you find yourself changed after this rite of passage, know that your words carry weight. May you be filled with the deep voice that speaks to the spirits and invites them into your work.

Let it be so!

I have done the thing. My hand guides the heaven-bound boat. My feet walk the paths of the earth mother. I am a priest of the people of ADF, and I have sworn my oath before them and all of my spirit allies.

May I always remember how it feels to be this blessed.

New Priest - Jan's photo

2018 Election Results

It is with great pleasure and humility that I announce I have been elected to serve in the position of Non-Officer Director to ADF’s Mother Grove, the international Board of Directors of our organization. I look forward to serving ADF and all its members for the next two years, and to whatever hopefully beautiful things are coming for this organization.

ADF Members, you can see the results here at this link – the results are also being posted to the Announce list, but must have moderator approval first.

Reverend Lauren Mart

It is with a great amount of celebration that I am able to announce, as of this evening, that I am officially Reverend Lauren Mart, ADF.

I will take my oath in front of the Gods, the Folk, and the Land at a ritual with Nine Waves Grove on April 28.