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

Tidying Up and Baking Cornbread for Themselves

Readying for Samhain is a long and delightful process around here. Last week, I tidied the Ancestor Altar at Mother Grove Goddess Temple and poured some wine into the silver chalice on the third shelf.  This morning--in spite of the distinct possibility that we have some temple mice--I added some bread to the little feast.

It's the alarm clock that we usually use to wake them up. That isn't necessary now--as I've written here before, the Veil is so thin these days as to be non-existent. It is a loving, albeit symbolic, gesture.

My home Ancestor altar stays up year-round, too.  I gave it a good cleaning just after Harvest Home and added some corn liquor, and a fresh piece of chocolate.  My morning meditations include a nod and a shout-out to my great-grandmother whose dinner bell sets there, near her daughter's (my grandmother's) clip-on sunglasses.  It brings them all so close, as the world and the days grow darker.

We've organized venues for our annual Ancestor Vigil (this may be the 20th year for that one) and our public Samhain ritual.  (If you're in our area, you can get more information on those at our Facebook page or soon on our At our clergy meeting this week, we've added an Ancestor Veneration workshop to help our community prepare for these days of brightness and rooted delight.

I will make some cornbread tomorrow for my dear Ones. It's a personal tradition, I suppose.

And in the midst of all this long Dying and preparation, the world around us seems so fragile and imperiled. I posted this advice to my Facebook page and thought I'd share it here--

Though it is very difficult, I invite you to think on this: every time we read more horrible news about environmental destruction, government incompetence or human-on-human cruelty, remember that in these times, we are bearing witness to the stumbling and ultimate fall of major systems that are in need of replacement. Listen to your Ancestral voices and your intuition. Let us work together to create this new world, learning from the folly of the old one. Let us practice kindness, resilience and reasoned fury. It is time.

So much to think on, to prepare for, to experience in this deep and holy time.


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