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...for we are crunchy and good with catsup

As the Green Solstice blew past us with threats of rain and humidity like a sauna, we began to contemplate the Long Dying of the Year.  Yes, I do feel a bit like Marvin in Hitchhiker's Guide as I realize that the next holy day around these parts is in fact the first harvest festival.

What has been remarkable in those days since the Solstice is the fact that nothing seems easy, everything seems to require more effort than it ever did before.  But there are also moments of such delight, of such brightness and joy.

Three interfaith adventures this week--all survived with varying degrees of success.  The school superintendent's Faith-Based Leadership Advisory Council meeting was very long and I suspect we are coming close to the place where we will not get along and be forced to talk about what happens when my religion requires you to follow it. (Not that mine does, of course.  I'm Wiccan.)


The Thursday night assembly for peace was quiet and refined. Most of the attendees and presenters were either middle-aged or downright elderly, so no one proposed occupying the building until the world can live in harmony.

But the sweetest this week was today.  I dropped off a couple of pizzas and some soda at the gardens of the Interfaith Teen Alliance.  They were starting to gather and looking forward to planting and weeding and possibly spraying each other with the hose.  They have big plans for the gardens and for the group and my heart leaps to hear them talking about the potential of it all.  As I was leaving, a local Pagan mom was dropping off one of her teens to participate.

Because we can, in this village.  Pagans are an important part of the interfaith scene here.

When things seem bleak, sometimes they are. But sometimes they are only bleak because we have lost our hearts for the work.  Yesterday was the hottest day on record here in the village and I wished for Chagall to be here to paint us as we sweated, and reddened, and melted.  In the midst of this hot and humid weather, I am following the stories of Mid-Atlantic friends who are still without power in this heat wave.

And I'm following the situation in Arlington County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this heat, I am shaking my fists and recalling how we gathered allies in our battle with the school system over distribution of Gideon bibles.

That seems to be what it's about around here--gathering allies, knowing your truth and worth, and standing your ground. It doesn't go your way all the time, even if you are a Witch. Some days, we ride the dragon.

And sometimes the dragon eats us.

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Tagged in: Paganism
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,


  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven Sunday, 01 July 2012

    I appreciate the way you put a positive spin on the world; I could see the kids with the water hose in my mind. I'm praying for your heat wave to break; I'd be happy to exchange a wee bit of your heat for our extremely cool and damp summer so far. (Today it got all the way to 68 degrees!)

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