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Widening the Village, Expanding the Tribe

Introductory Post

Several years ago, the local Gannett paper in Asheville, NC asked me to be one of its community bloggers. When I asked what they'd like me to blog about, they were very clear—they wanted their readers to know more about Earth religions, about events and personalities in the local Pagan community and something about the sort of Appalachian rootwork that many mountain folks practice—myself included.

They were looking for a consistent explanation of which Witch was which.

I blogged for them most days, accruing a sizeable number of words that covered the original intention and also threw in some politics, organic gardening, beekeeping and photos, for good measure. It was my first stint as a blogger and I found I liked it. It was a format that allowed me complete freedom and no interference. Periodically, the web master would send me some stats and thank me for my work.


A few weeks ago, that same web master explained to me that I was the last community blogger still writing for them and they were doing away with the platform that held my lone blog. I announced the change via social media and Anne Newkirk Niven called me one afternoon, when I was planting onions in my garden. She asked if I'd be interested in writing on the Witches and Pagans site.

Obviously, I said "yes."

I'm joining a group of sharp, insightful writers, several of whom are friends. You can expect to read about my personal work as both Witch and priestess with Mother Grove Goddess Temple, about NC Pagan prison ministries and battles in support of separation of church and state.

You will also, no doubt, read something about gardening, permaculture and sustainability.

My plan is to take on issues in our national and global communities with an eye toward the histories of this fast-moving religious movement. I hope to bring some humor to bear on tricky issues and to weave through the layers of smoke and glitter to explore what everyday magic is all about.

I hope you'll join me for the journey.

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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,


  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter Thursday, 14 June 2012

    Welcome aboard Byron. I'm also a new blogger here at W&P, and I'm also Pagan prison chaplain so I'm very much looking forward to reading about the NC Pagan prison ministry.

  • Kenaz Filan
    Kenaz Filan Sunday, 17 June 2012

    Welcome aboard, Byron! Looking forward to reading your blog.

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Sunday, 17 June 2012

    Thanks for the welcome! Hope I can keep up.

  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson Tuesday, 19 June 2012

    Hi Byron, good to see you here.

  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity Wednesday, 20 June 2012

    Awesome to see you here!

  • Ken
    Ken Sunday, 24 June 2012

    As a new pagan whose been wandering in the dark since I came to this state, I'm glad I have someone nearby to seek guidance from.

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Sunday, 24 June 2012

    Ken, where in the state are you? And...thanks for your kind words.

  • Ken
    Ken Tuesday, 26 June 2012

    I live in the Goldsboro area. I sort of just discovered this website, as well as other blogsites like it. I didn't know such a large online community existed until recently.

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