© 2016 by Seed (Calla Unsworth)
Let the fire rise in me, and let it move me
Spark, Blaze, Ember, Ash
Whoa, Whoa, the welcome flame
Spark, Blaze, Ember, Ash
Whole song in Em (or any minor key that works for you) – to sing as a round, don’t change chords
History & Lore
The Welcome Flame, also known as Spark, Blaze, Ember, Ash, was written in the mid-2000s. It was first sung in a Reclaiming Elements of Magic class, on Fire night.
I was partly inspired by a circle many years ago in which the group chanted the words “spark, flame, blaze, ember, ash”. I don’t remember who the priestess was, but I would like to acknowledge them here.
As a community, we co-create many classes and rituals exploring the elements; earth, air, fire, water and spirit. There are many wonderful songs honoring the other elements, but fewer about fire. So, for me, this song arose out of a need.
Fire can be destructive, purifying, fearsome. Here, I wanted to invoke fire in its “welcome” aspect. The comfort of the hearth fire, the joy of the bonfire, the fire of our creativity and of our sensuality.
Our lives and emotions, as well as the cycles of nature, seem to flow in a pattern of arising, fullness and release. I hope this song will allow people to embody and celebrate this cycle, and to honor the quieter states of ember and ash as well as the excitement of the spark and blaze.
How often do I write chants? Every once in a while, a song will come to me out of a strong feeling or an intriguing thread of meaning. At other times, a song will arise in response to a specific need, as did this one. After the initial inspiration comes the harder work of finishing them. I’m always glad to receive them. It feels like I’ve been visited by the “song fairy.”
When we think of fire magic, it’s often the blazing, passionate energy we have in mind. But as Seed captures here, fire has a life-cycle of its own. Ash is just as much part of fire as flame.
Kids like this song a lot, and we wove our Campfire Kids Chorus in at the end when we needed a third set of voices. We’ll add a kids’ version on the bonus disk (visit our website for info).
Welcome Flame is fun to sing as a round. Learn the tune carefully so the harmonies work. To end, start singing Spark Blaze Ember Ash over and over, and others will join in. You might raise a blazing cone of power, or you can let it settle into the glowing embers as we do here.
When we recorded the song, we did the drum and vocals first, then played around with guitar parts, eventually landing on a John Lee Hooker motif inspired by his signature song Boogie Chillun – a trancey blues rhythm if ever there was one!
Alison added the fiddle in her final session. We didn’t have anything planned, but we had some extra time after recording other songs. We did two takes and wound up using both. You’ll hear a low part enter at the top of the second stanza, and a higher part mid-way through the third.
The canon vocal arrangement is so dense that the fiddle was getting buried. When we got to the end, we rewound the instrumental tracks to the point the second fiddle enters and let it roll again.