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 Flood Story, with a priestess

We had three inches of rain overnight earlier this week.  I know because I have a new rain gauge and the weather was warm enough for me to linger at the gate of  the kitchen garden.  A couple of days later I went by the temple to pick up a box of food from the food pantry, a box that was being delivered along with baby clothes to a young couple in the neighboring county. When I opened the door, the carpet was squishy as I stepped in.

Our chapel and offices are in an old hospital building and we've been flooded before. Something about the old French drains and the site of the building at the downhill end of a parking lot. The landlords were called and they sent in a crew with vacuums and heaters and dehumidifiers.  We moved everything into the tiny chapel and left both the heat and the AC on.

Fast forward to today when there was time enough to tackle the rearranging of the rearrangements. We have a ritual tomorrow morning, too, so it needed to be useable. Also, Imbolc is coming and the South altar was a hot mess.

So I moved the sitting room around a bit, took the garbage out and moved the chairs around in the chapel.  I stripped the altar and took the cloths out and gave them a good shake. I reset the altar, removing a bunch of extraneous bits that have accrued over the months since it was last changed out. Then I swept the place out, lit the candles and sat down.

I sat down and looked at the South altar.

I've written about this before here but I don't think it hurts to repeat it.  Many of us are "priestesses." Sometimes it means that we have attended workshops and training courses that give us a finely-honed sense of self. Sometimes it means we've claimed the title as part of our service to a particular Divine Being. And sometimes we are lucky enough--blessed enough--to serve a community as well as a Divine Being and we are fortunate enough to tend a temple.

We may have grand ideas of sweeping down marbled passageways and stepping into the incense-drenched, echoing cavern of a classical temple. But for those of us who are lucky enough, the temple we tend is human-sized and manageable, and we can tend it with a handful of grateful others.

There are always candle holders to scrape out and floors to sweep and de-wax. There are altar cloths to clean and endless tealights to replace. The funk of standing water in an old carpet in a cranky old building fades finally and you are left there, sitting in a wooden folding chair, looking at the altar.

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,


  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Sunday, 03 January 2016

    Ah, blessings on your walls and halls, floors and doors, old carpets and well used drains -

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information