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Daily Practice as Samhain Approaches

(I'm going to double up for a week or so, and post these notes on Samhain prep at my home site and here.  Those of you who are kind enough to read both may feel you're seeing double for a bit. )

As I'm readying myself for this hard and sacred time, I'm reviewing my daily practice and wondering if it is optimum for keeping me focused and open.

Do you have a personal daily practice? Or perhaps I should say a personal spiritual practice--many modern Pagans find it difficult to fit a daily practice into their busy lives.

There are many ways to ground yourself spiritually and face the day with a pocketful of deep connection. When I'm working with students and other seekers, I like to start out pretty simply and let the student layer on parts as it feels right.

I suppose the first step is to set up your home altar. Do you have one? In a few days, I'm going to talk about building an Ancestor altar in your home space. But for now, let's focus on a table and chair, and creating a quiet place.

You can do a stealth altar, of course, and sometimes you need to do that if you are a renter and closeted. Or if you live with your parents and, again, are in the broom closet. A stealth altar is a table display with a candle, a pretty stone, an incense holder and a vase with water and a flower.

Simple, elegant, elemental.

And you can go all out and create an elemental altar with images of the Divines on it and glorious vases of roses.

You decide what you'd like.

Put a chair nearby. Plan to spend some time in that chair, looking at your personal altar. Will you pray? Maybe you will. Will you sing or write some poetry? You might. But the first thing I'd like you to do--to begin a spiritual practice--is to make a cup of tea or coffee and go sit in your chair.

Drink your drink. Look at the candle. Breathe deeply.

That's all. Tomorrow we'll talk about grounding and breathing.

Wasn't that easy?



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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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