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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All's Well that Ends

We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant today. We had a fun waiter with whom I conversed about chopsticks (we had brought our own, as we usually do). When we left the table, he wished us a happy New Year and we responded in kind.

And then I laughed.  Because it's likely that neither of us actually celebrate tonight as the start of a new year. O, yes, culturally-speaking, everyone celebrates today as "New Year's Eve."  But the reality is that I celebrate the new year at the beginning of November and again at the Winter Solstice.  And he will celebrate the lunar new year in several weeks.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    If you are going to start from scratch, do so with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, 2005.) Completely yummy, that one, and
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Thanks for that, Anne. I watched Dr. Who once or twice long, long ago, and remember thinking it was dreadful, though I've always b
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Dr. Who is an acquired taste, if you aren't a natural nerd you probably won't enjoy it. I'm an on-again off-again fan myself. But
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Anne, you are absolutely right. I have managed to avoid Dr. Who for many years now. I suppose I'll have to break down and watch it
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Diotima, you need to bone up on your nerd credentials. That's Doctor Who's conveyance, the Tardis. (Just ribbin' ya!)

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I Sit Exhausted on This Longest Night

My big plan was to finish up some loose ends so that I could truly enjoy my first winter holiday season in town, not working retail. Daughter was coming home, holiday cards were mailed away...even the weather was nice.

Did your December deviate from the plan, too?  There have been unexpected rituals, several funerals, more than one friend or circle mate whose life took a turn for the...challenging.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for that. Blessings to you!
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I don't have any big words, just silent support from across the pond. You're in my thoughts and prayers, as is everyone else who h

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    It has been unseasonably warm here, too -- but we are getting monsoons of hard rain which I can't really object to, since we had a

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I am elsewhere than my old mountain home and am revelling in walks within these piney woods. Pine stands smell and sound odd to my ears. There is a deep bed of old needles under my feet and the smell is close but clear.

The birds behave differently here, too, as do the squirrels. There doesn't seem to be much gathering going on--except for me gathering pine cones. These are large and perfect, suitable for all sorts of projects.

And the spirit of the land--or should I say the spirits of the land?--are different, too. Different Ancestors, different Cousins. We do an interesting dance of getting-to-know-you and it delights my senses.

A brief note tonight, friends, on the importance of touching base with the land, wherever you may be. It honors the place you are visiting and it honors your home place, too. If you are a person who leaves small offerings to your own Silent Kindred, you might consider doing the same when you visit.

Think of it as a special kind of "hostess gift".

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the south altar, dressed for the wake

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    And bless you, my dear, for always being there to do what needs to be done for your tribe. "The owl flew low tonight. The hare kne
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Priestessing really is a service industry. :>) Thanks, dear one. Your kind words--and beautiful quote--brought a few tears.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks, dear sister. May she be well remembered.
  • Hec
    Hec says #
    May the Goddess guard her. May she find her way to the Summerlands. May her friends and family know peace. http://www.youtube.c

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the Brigid altar at the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology conference, 2010

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  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    So very sad to hear this.

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