Culture Blogs

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

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

A Cold Night and a New Dawn

Dramatic weather here and elsewhere--yesterday I watched an enormous weather front come up from the South in the form of a dark gray shelf cloud. It was a scene out of Hollywood: surely a mothership of some sort was lurking there or it was the precursor, the warning of some King novel.  I got back into my car and drove home to my old house that was under the edge of that shelf of doom.

And by the time I'd parked the car and looked up, the front had moved backwards, retreated back the way it had so ominously come, ragged now, undramatic, ordinary.

That's how life feels right now for so many people. Ominous, oppressive, heavy. All those Happy New Year greetings felt a bit strained and the emotional bubbly didn't last. There's a sense that we're in for drama--whether weather or spirituality or political. Drama and more drama.

Aren't you tired of the drama?  The sturm and drang that leads to a jolty adrenaline ride that is neither effective nor very satisfying?

I suggest we spend some time in the early part of this newish year learning a kind of alchemy. If we really want to change the way life rolls over us, if we want to truly create the lives we imagine for ourselves, we need to develop and practice some tools for simple transformation.

I go on and on about grounding--so much so that my friends can see me in their minds' eye, looking over the tops of my specs and reminding them to get grounded. So here it is again.  This roller coaster we choose in our lives can be dismounted sometimes with a concerted effort to ground and focus. No, I'm not suggesting that everything can be created or set right by the sheer power of your will but I am saying you can stop sometimes in the midst of the drama and you can slow it down through grounding and focusing. You can set wards and put up your personal shields and allow yourself a bit of breathing space to think, to not react.

You can't do this if you have no natural ability in it or training to do it, and you probably can't do it to any sort of real advantage if you don't practice it-- the grounding, the focusing, the shielding.  What I'm suggesting is terribly undramatic and requires no special tools or hard-to-get herbs and a particular color candle. It does require us to commit to regular daily practice and to test our skills rather a lot, so that those tools are shiny and sharp when we need them.

My best guess is that 2014 is going to be challenging, very challenging. So sharpen your tools and practice your skills. You--and your community--are going to need them.

Last modified on
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,


Additional information