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

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Unpacking. Unsearching. Home from the Hill.

When I return from travelling, I like to unpack everything, start the laundry, put away the toiletries--even if I'm too tired to think about very much.  We took the red-eye from San Jose on Monday night, stopping in Atlanta, arriving at Greenville/Spartanburg airport on Tuesday morning, bleary, weary.

Pantheacon is very big. There are many people. It's a decent hotel. There's some shopping, and a sushi bar.

I unpacked my suitcase when I got back and did some laundry. I ate some steamed vegetables and marveled at how much sodium I must have ingested in those five days. I drank the filtered water of home, took a nap, uploaded my camera. My altar called to me and I pressed my palms onto those lapis rams' heads and bowed my head.

Bowed my head with gratitude, in humility, in offering. There was the briefest breath of warm desert air and the taste of honey on my tongue. As I raised my head, the chickens made their comfort noises outside the window. The rams' heads were still cool to the touch when I raised my hands into the prayer position and sang the song of homecoming and let the land settle my heart again.

There are so many people and names, so many sharp pangs of memory and power. I was so apprehensive about this Big Conference and about the reputation for drama that precedes Pantheacon. But I knew a few friends would be there and that I was travelling with Star and Oriana, so there would be Guinness and fun, and a nice hotel room to hide away in, if need be.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, leaving the cold Southland for the sun and blossoms of California. We checked in, unpacked, marveled at the food we'd brought for snacks.  Then we wandered around, checking the place out, wondering how the weekend would go.

It went very well indeed.


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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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