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Fog, During Mercury Retrograde


It has been a doozy so far, at least in my part of the great world. I'm generally a cock-eyed optimist during Mercury retrograde, using the time to catch up on already-begun projects, getting extra sleep and the like.  This one, however, has kept me on my toes.

This week has been a dizzying swing from Joy! All Joy! to What the Heck Just Happened? Today began with some sweet, funny dreams then transitioned into a confusing Facebook mess, and a trip through the cold rain to run necessary errands before the workshop I was to teach in the evening. There was lovely news about the hotel for Pantheacon and lovelier news about teaching at PSG this summer.  There was a so-so loaf of soda bread and a workshop that was fine and fun, but didn't quite have the energetic connection that I've come to expect.

Just now, having washed the dishes for the evening and gotten myself ready for bed, I looked out the window and was surprised to see how swiftly and thickly fog has descended out there in the darkness.  Surprising but so rich, like velvet. Dense. Drifting.

And it's gotten me thinking about the beautiful uses of this astronomical and astrological strangeness where we often warn each other to be careful when driving, to not sign contracts or make unbreakable plans.  There is a sense that the clarity of the new year is occluded by a shadow, possibly of our own imaginative making. The fog rolls in and everything is unfamiliar but not unknown.

Like the fog out there under the streetlight, it moves and shifts, keeping us on our toes, reminding us to dance with it, to not believe our own "press," to pay a little extra attention to make up for those who have run mad in the strangeness of the world.

When I wake, the fog will likely be gone, leaving rich moisture behind it, spattering the winter yard with diamonds in the morning sun.  Let us treat Mercury the same, looking forward to the small brightnesses that will be revealed when the shadow time is over.

Oy. Mercury retrograde.




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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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