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A Final Full Moon



In the midst of seed catalogs from the mail box and fresh vegetables from the plastic-covered rows of the little kitchen garden, the agricultural year has turned another notch on the great Wheel of the Year.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The mess of the winter holidays in our consumer society is slowly fading, though the lingering bad joke of the "fiscal cliff" remains with us a few more days.  In the face of a new planting season, the stand-off amongst the wealthy plutocrats in DC seems incomprehensible.  What land will they plant with their combined brinksmanship? How can all this tinkering around the edges avert the looming crises of not-enough-water and toxins throughout the food chain?

And yet we open our seed catalogs and we circle that heirloom variety of kale.  We turn down the bright pages and sketch garden plots on the backs of envelopes, dreaming of planting, of watching the black rich Earth for the first sharp greens of germination.

There is much to do in my corner of the southern Highlands besides my efforts at subsistence farming--events to organize, rituals to schedule, trips to plan. I sit here in this place between time and stick to my daily practice and pray to the Divines for clearness and simplicity.

The news is seldom inspiring and often brings such a sense of dread that it is hardly worth keeping up with it. But I have been following the fate of the young medical student who was brutalized in Delhi and who died earlier today.  I have been watching the protests in the city and have seen the world's most populous democracy using water cannons and batons on them.

As we sit under this last Full Moon of this calendar year, my reaction has been one of grief surmounted by raw fury. It probably doesn't help that I made my dedication so many years ago to great Inanna--She who never suffers fools with gladness. It may not help that I have Moon in Scorpio and that same sign rising.

Fury, grief, vengeance.  The old familiar pattern that most often ends in frustration and anxiety. How does one take a shillelagh to an entire culture?  And hadn't I ought to start here in the Motherland, where women are also treated with derision and scorn, always the first group under the proverbial bus when expediency demands that we wait calmly while others who are more needful or more worthy are tended?

Yes, probably I should. There is a kind of satisfaction in thinking of whacking miscreants upside the head with a stick though what I have decided to do is simpler and will not require a court case or jail time.

I have decided to put my money where my outrage is.  I went to our local rape crisis center and thanked them for what they do and gave them a wee check.  And in January I'll ask to volunteer a little, to help where I can. After all the years of clinic escort work, surely I can stuff envelopes without resorting to my Scorpionic tendencies. I can lend some cheer where it is welcome and I can dream my dark dreams of a world in which I and my trusty shillelagh have some agency. 


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H. Byron Ballard is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has taught at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts“ (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence“ (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press.) Her book Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press) debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet. Contact her at,


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