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Dining With Divines

I am a hard polytheist. I believe "the gods" are really real, that They are discarnate beings with whom we can interact. They may be fractured pieces of one extraordinary energy form and so may we. That knowledge is unimportant to me so we needn't argue about it.

If you believe something other than that, that's cool with me. Ah, let me add the tiny caveat---that's cool with me... as long as you are not all up in my face telling me how to be a polytheist.

I've been doing this for decades. Literally. And I know what the word "literally" means so accept that as a fact. Decades. I am sometimes very devout in my attentions and veneration, and then there are other times when I am a less-than-perfect devotee. They seem to be mostly forgiving about my absences because They know I'm doing the work of being Their priestess in a human community, that I serve a ragged and imperfect tribe.  I serve Them imperfectly because I am largely making it up as I go along.

The Divines I serve seem to be mostly unaware of each other so there are no pitched divine battles over whether I wear the Rosette, the Wheel or the Raven.  When They have my attention and focused adoration, I function as a serial monogamist/monotheast--loving the One I'm with.

Let me repeat--this is how I've been doing this for decades. Decades.  It seems to be working well for all of Us. There have even been occasions of my own dire need in which I have appealed to Them serially for help and They have each done as They can, given Their own gifts and interests.

So when social media explodes with a bunch of polytheists who seem to be more interested in scoring points with each other against other polytheists, I grind my teeth a little.  No, I grind my teeth a lot.

I go to my altar. I sing the songs. I make the triple offerings. I walk barefooted to the vineyard and pour the sweet libation. I fling myself before the altars and I offer myself again to these Beings that I adore and whom I have served for, literally, decades.

We are in deeply challenging times as a larger community, as a religious movement or set of religious movements. Honor and love That Which You Love. It is simple and it is difficult and it can be all-consuming. What you think about the way I love is of no importance to me.  That our tribe continue to thrive and learn and weave together this new world--that is important to me. That we have clean air and potable water and healthy food--those are important to me. That the biosphere be able to continue to support life, yeah, important.

But how you worship Those You Love?  Share your techniques and altar photos, share your songs and prayers if you choose. But never assume that you are right in your love and I am wrong and need your correction.

Those who know me best will instruct me best.


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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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