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

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Byron Ballard

Byron Ballard

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 info@myvillagewitch.com,

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I am a hard polytheist. I believe "the gods" are really real, that They are discarnate beings with whom we can interact. They may be fractured pieces of one extraordinary energy form and so may we. That knowledge is unimportant to me so we needn't argue about it.

If you believe something other than that, that's cool with me. Ah, let me add the tiny caveat---that's cool with me... as long as you are not all up in my face telling me how to be a polytheist.

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I was at Pagan Spirit Gathering until last Sunday. My dear sisters, Star and Gl/oriana, made a perfect encampment, one that became filled with love and laughter. The smell of good coffee drew our kindred from Tuatha Dea most every day, beginning the days with so much kindness and fun.

It was very hot. Southern Illinois in June was dusty and humid. The field where all my classes were held was soon dubbed the Serengeti. Shuttles were our chariots to the stage or the barn where I had my meals or the shower truck where I had infrequent doses of water over my too-pale body.

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My bag is packed--minus the Tevas that need a good scrubbing first--and I am mostly ready for pilgrimage. It surprises me when I think back on the times I've been in Britain during the month of April--when folks long to go on pilgrimages, according to Chaucer.

It's field research really, though most of my traveling these days is one form of quest or another. There is a deep longing in me for new lands and vistas, new smells and tastes. But my travel always brings me to Britain and Ireland, when I leave these lands of home. I think of them collectively as the ancient motherlands. My DNA test showed that to be true--so much whiteness here, so many blood-links to those places that know my soul.

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a bold Moon in the season of Imbolc

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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.

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