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I and The Village (h/t Chagall)

or...I was a PSG virgin.

Got back on Monday from my first sojourn to the Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the largest and oldest Pagan festivals in the country. I've worked with Selena Fox, Dianne Duggan and Lady Liberty League for many years but this festival was simply too far away. Selena is very persuasive and my friend Oriana volunteered to drive, so off we went.

PSG has now settled at a lovely camp called Stonehouse Farm, owned by some yoga folks. Because I was a presenter, I was housed in a brand-new yurt that came complete with a firm bed and a powerstrip for charging the electricals.


Here's the thing about PSG--it goes on for a week, a full week. Most festivals begin on a Thursday and folks go home on Sunday afternoon but PSG is built on the notion that hundreds of Pagan folk come together in this spot and they stay together for a week--creating a Pagan village.  There are food vendors as well as other vendors, so lots of opportunities to buy things and to stay fed. Classes, workshops, rituals and each day begins with a morning meeting where there's chanting and music and announcements.

The weather was a bit of a challenge--hot and humid one day, then a couple of days of rain and then some more sun and heat. I'm a pasty Brit heat-and-sun wimp, so I found myself wandering through the village with a parasol on a couple of days, strolling the grounds like a ragged Jane Austen character.

I taught three classes over the course of the festival and helped with a couple of rituals. I did a volunteer stint in the counseling tent and spent a couple of cool evenings sitting on the yurt-porch, sipping Irish whiskey and listening to the frogs in the pond.

Summer Solstice was big old fun.  I woke early to chant up the Sun, participated in a morning ritual in which I taught the Irish Stomp Dance and then called the quarters at the Main ritual in the evening. I wore a bright yellow dress with an orange over-robe and flaunted a flower crown for most of the day.

It was grand.

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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,


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