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,

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Margot Adler is Dead

And all I could do was pick elderberries.

Like most of the Pagan community, I knew Margot was ill, had been ill for a while. And now she is dead, gone to Tir Nan Og, passed into the West. She was best known, I suppose, for her terribly important book "Drawing Down the Moon," and for her love of vampires and for her smart reporting from NY on NPR.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks to you both.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Beautiful words, my friend.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thanks for this post. She will be missed, but her spirit will live on in the communities she inspired.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Waiting For Freedom To Ring

Though we know the First Amendment by heart and have the Establishment Clause tattooed on our wee Pagan hearts, it's pretty tricky to belong to a minority religion in some parts of this country. Like gender, race and class, following a spiritual tradition that marks you as "Other" isn't always comfortable in the Land of the Free.

The recent Supreme Court decision about employers freedom to impose their religious views on their employees has been another blow in women's on-going quest for something approaching autonomy in this country.  We've been talking about the "glass ceiling" for decades and every few months, someone trots out the pay inequity that seems to be endemic in the American economic system. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
I and The Village  (h/t Chagall)

or...I was a PSG virgin.

Got back on Monday from my first sojourn to the Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the largest and oldest Pagan festivals in the country. I've worked with Selena Fox, Dianne Duggan and Lady Liberty League for many years but this festival was simply too far away. Selena is very persuasive and my friend Oriana volunteered to drive, so off we went.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why I'm a Pagan

My local indie bookshop had one of these left in stock and they kindly held it for me. I ran up there in my garden clothes and damp do-rag because I was so excited to have this book in my hands. 

As soon as it was rung up and handed across the counter to me, I opened the cover, turned to the opening lines and saw---Lo! "Lo," I said aloud. "Interesting choice." I asked them if they needed any copies of my book ("Staubs and Ditchwater") and we agreed the 3 they have in stock will do until I get back from PSG. I declined a bag but got a bright bookmark.  Holding the book to my chest, I tip-tapped out the door and across the street to the car. I sat there for a moment, looking at the cover, then smelling the top of the book, as one does.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    It does seem ironic that a good Catholic man led so many folks to a Pagan world-view. But the Beowulf poet was much the same. The
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for this, Byron - I must order a copy immediately! Much of my Paganism, too, derives from long nights of steeping my bra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
1914

I've written--earlier, here and elsewhere--about my father's experiences in North Africa and Europe during World War Two. If you've read Rick Atkinson's excellent books (beginning with "An Army at Dawn"), you have an idea of how hard and frightening and wild that whole campaign was. My dad almost died a couple of times but still came home from war full of tales of adventure--a country boy in the ancient homelands. My mother would leave the room when he geared up for another story about Italy and German soldiers and stolen champagne.

I never knew either of my biological grandfathers but my grandmother's second husband was, in every sense, my grandfather.  His war story is different.

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Nashville isn't only country music, you know

We're in town--and soon out into the country--for Pagan Unity Festival. I'll be teaching, vending and doing ritual out in a beautiful old state park. I'll to report throughout, depending on connections.

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I Couldn't Find my Black Lace Corset

...so I made a bright green underdress to go with my green ruanna and I constructed a fat new flower crown, too.  I'm the elder priestess at Mother Grove and the younger ones have given me a couple of public rituals with only a little bit to do and that has been a wonderful gift to me as my schedule gets complicated.

I was a smudger and Sabra anointed the revellers. We were in a new park this time--a really pretty one. The altar was set inside a ring of old trees, mostly oaks.  We had a good turnout with lots of familiar faces and several new ones, too.

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