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The Village Witch at paganSquare - PaganSquare - Page 6

Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, West Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival, and other gatherings.

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Byron Ballard

Byron Ballard

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 info@myvillagewitch.com,

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Hard Work as Sacrament

It is harvest-time here in the southern Highlands of the Appalachian mountains. The green beans have been blanched and frozen. The blessed elderberry harvest has been frozen and juiced and tinctured for winter healings. The apples are in now and I have spent many and many an hour cutting off the bruised parts and cutting out the wormy bits and chopping them up. Some have gone into bags to be future pies and apple cake. Others have become applesauce and many of them have been crushed for their juice and amended with yeast and honey to be hard cider in the cold months to come.

If I sound like the busy Ant from the fable that is appropriate. There are "fun" things that I have declined attending because the harvest is in and there is food to process. Not so much fun now but imagine pesto from my own basil, thawed in the depths of January. And I hold fast the notion of a crisp cold hard cider as the perfect celebration of the the Midwinter Solstice.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I love that poem--thank you for posting it. Marge Piercy certainly gets it, doesn't she? green beans...
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Your lovely post made me think of this, one of my very favorite poems. The poem, and the fact that I still have that bag of beans

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Home is Where the Harvest is

As you know, I have been travelling. I was in Britain for three weeks, returned home for five days and then set off for New York for almost a week.

All of this at harvest time. Sadness. The grapes were neglected and went to feed the possums and raccoons. There was a huge elderberry harvest but I did very little of it. Because we have two apple trees that bear fruit at different times, the apple harvest has been prolonged.  We filled our little freezer with apples destined for the cider fermenter and there are more in the refrigerator in the vegetable drawers.

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There is Something About Fire

Many of us divide the agricultural year into quarters (Solstices and Equinoxes) and then again into eighths (the Cross-quarter days). Eight convenient notches that mark the movement of the year from resting and fallow times to planting, then on to tending and finally harvest.

We think these cross-quarters are based on old Irish celebrations that we have come to call "Celtic Fire Festivals." We're in one now--Lughnasadh.

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By the Waters of Avalon

As you may remember from an earlier post, I have come to the Glastonbury Goddess Conference to present my workshop on Deep Grounding. It's a fun workshop and has all that stuff that modern Pagans seem to love--some learning, some technique, some meditation, some toning and some dance. Frosted with a short ritual.

Bazinga, as they say.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    You're welcome.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Extraordinary Creeping Paganism...we need more creep in the Old North State

Bless you, Ms. Trotta. It is such a lovely usable phrase.

Thought I'd check in and let you all know we're grounding, centering, focusing our wills down here in the sinking ship that is North Carolina. We know the country is watching us, wondering how much farther we can fall.

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instead of writing.

Obviously.

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  • Beth Wodandis
    Beth Wodandis says #
    It's like the proverbial barrel of crabs; no community will get anywhere if all they do is pull down anyone who dares to try to cl
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    Like members of any large, extended family, we can't help sometimes but look askance at one another and mutter "am I really relate
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Funny lady.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    It does, indeed, feel like labor sometimes. And that comes from my perspective as a three-times homebirthing mother of three sons.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    We are basing our proposal on the patterns of other successful, civilized online communities. (I'd be happy to share our sources w

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"Because There is No Veil..."

Several weeks ago, I was honored to help a team of folks create funerary rites for a recently-deceased member of our community. The primary facilitator lives several states away and we spoke over the phone a few days before he was scheduled to arrive for the memorial.

He and I are in different traditions and it was helpful to hear how they do things and to figure out the best way for me to contribute, to help. He told me early in the conversation that the intention for the ritual was to dance the deceased through the Veil--something that might be tricky so far from Samhain. It was to be a joyous celebration with song and poetry and drumming. I offered to help with the drumming (I play a big frame drum) and we chatted a bit longer about the general shape of the rite.

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  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    "But the Ancestors haven't been apart from us here in years. You have only to sit in a quiet place and you begin to hear their mur

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