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

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I was away from home for the month of April.



The plans had taken months to come to fruition and it took longer than that to put the funding together. One of the gifts of age is the ability to yield to the seduction of making travel easier and taking the time to afford that ease. I had spent three weeks doing similar field work in Britain in 2013 and this time I added the luxury of taking the occasional taxi. That, my friends, was rather glorious for a working class woman who has taken pride in toughing it out.

Taxi rides--calloo callay!

This was a month-long adventure in Scotland, Cornwall and England--a research trip, field work in my current area of study in Appalachian folk magic. There were train journeys and bus journeys and many, many miles by foot into an ancient landscape that holds the keys to so many of the magics practiced in the US.

There were ancient stones, ruined castles, meeting friends in pubs, making new friends who lived in cottages older than our nation. It was good this travel. Good for my brain and my heart and my ragged spirit.

I spent important time with members of Scotland's Pagan community and compared notes about the ways in which we are different. I was delighted to attend the Scottish Pagan Federation's conference in Edinburgh and terribly honored to be able to speak there, in a debating hall in a building so beautiful it made my eyes hurt.

My plans are to write more here about the experiences I had and what I learned about myself, my community and the modern Pagan movement. Because this trip wasn't just taxi rides and wandering amongst the stones. It was a long-time Pagan and witch dealing with the ongoing dissolution of the American Pagan scene and needing some space away in which to do that.


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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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