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

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Turning to the East

I've been wearing a little necklace since sometime in October--a pendant that looks like the cover of the Chalice Well in Glastonbury. A charm really, and each time I caught my reflection in the mirror and saw it, I'd tap it with my forefinger in the same way as you'd set a glamour. "Pick me," I'd say to myself. "Pick me."

I got word today that they did indeed pick me and I'll be at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference in late July and will do a workshop of deep grounding techniques.  It's an honor, of course, but it also means I get to be in Glastonbury again, this time in the summer.

We first went there in September, I think, and the weather was wet and cold. We stayed in a b&b at the foot of the Tor where they fed badgers in the evening. I spent time at the Chalice Well and its gardens but fell in love with the Somerset Rural Life Museum, which has one of the most beautiful barns I've ever seen.

My second trip was a day trip out from Stratford in April. The weather, unsurprisingly, was wet and cold. 

You may be seeing a pattern here.  I haven't been to Britain in the summer since forever and am wondering if the weather pattern will hold.

The conference is the end of the trip, though.  Before climbing the ragged cow trail to the top of the Tor, I will be cavorting about England and Scotland (and possibly Ulster) talking to people who do what I do--old folk magic. I'm setting up interviews now and working on an itinerary.  Friends keep suggesting places I "must" visit but I have an agenda.

I'm tracking my Appalachian practice back to its roots in the British Isles. Like the songcatchers of the older days--when musicologists tracked those sweet and sad mountain ballads back to their roots--I am tracking backwards through the diasporas that sent Scots-Irish, Irish and immigrants from the northern stretches of England into these old mountains, so many centuries ago.

I'll be a spellcatcher, I suppose.  Looking backwards over my shoulder, towards the sunrise. Looking eastward. Looking home.

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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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