Natural Magic and Folkways from Those Who Call the Blue Ridge Mountains Home
The southern Appalachians are rich in folk magic and witchery. This book explores the region's customs and traditions for magical healing, luck, prosperity, scrying, and more. Author H. Byron Ballard—known as the village witch of Asheville—teaches you about the old ways and why they work, from dowsing to communicating with spirits.
Learn the deeper meaning of haint blue doors, magic hands for finding, and medicinal herbs and plants. Discover tips for creating tinctures and salves, attuning to the phases of the moon, interpreting omens, and other folkways passed down through the generations. Part cultural journey and part magical guide, this book uncovers the authentic traditions of one of North America's most spiritually vibrant regions
"Leave your preconceived notions about Appalachia and its people at the door and let Byron Ballard take you on a journey from Scotland to Ulster to the mountains of the southern United States. Roots, Branches, and Spirits presents a magic born of necessity and skillfully adapted to the place where it was—and still is—practiced."—John Beckett, author of The Path of Paganism
"Be prepared to be transported as Byron Ballard expertly weaves stories and practice, blending tradition, and modern magical innovation all at once."—Laura Tempest Zakroff, author of Weave the Liminal
"Part history, part folklore, and part spellwork and ritual, Byron Ballard shares with us the rich customs of her forebears, from women's kitchen magic to burial practices to the use of herbs and stones."—Patti Wigington, author of Herb Magic and Badass Ancestors
"H. Byron Ballard takes us on another engaging journey into the mountainous rural United States where the worlds of magic, phantoms, and old traditions continue to flourish well into the twenty-first century."—Christopher Orapello, coauthor of Besom, Stang & Sword, artist, and cohost of the Down at the Crossroads podcast.
"A delightful breath of fresh mountain air in which H. Byron Ballard invites us to explore a magical practice that's ingrained in the land, flourishes in the rivers and creeks, and whispers secrets on the breeze. A world where sprite and spirit, fact and legend merge seamlessly with herb and remedy and receipt to create a magic all its own."—Dorothy Morrison, author of Everyday Magic and Utterly Wicked
"A lovingly constructed quilt of culture and magic, land and spirit, written by a woman whose roots go as deep as an oak's into the mountains where she was born and raised, while her branches dance in the sun and wind of our shared humanity."—Diotima Mantineia, author of Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky
"A wonderfully detailed walk down the winding mountain paths of witchery found in [Ballard's] Appalachia. From word one, she takes you firmly by the hand and guides you through the rich history of the region—unveiling her collected folklore, ancestral remedies, and practical workings as she goes along, exploring rabbit trails at every crossing and turn."—Tara-Love Maguire, coauthor of Besom, Stang, and Sword
"Roots, Branches, and Spirits bursts forth with magic on every page."—Lilith Dorsey, author Orishas, Goddesses and Voodoo Queens
"This is not a book—it's a portal to a place. ... The pages open up and transport the reader to the forests, the river, the haunted places, or granny's kitchen table, where you feel welcome, and maybe learn a remedy or two."—Angie Buchanan, cofounder and senior minister of Earth Traditions and founder of the Death Midwife
"Byron Ballard effortlessly blends her knowledge of the history of her home region, her insightful analysis of the impacts of the past, and her practical witchcraft. Reading this book feels like sitting at a big table having a conversation with this expert of both folkways and witchery."—Cyndi Brannen, author of Keeping Her Keys
"Byron Ballard's deep Appalachian roots, and her genuine love for her homeland, its people, and their ways, is a bright beacon that illuminates the path through this book."—Sara Mastros, author of Orphic Hymns Grimoire
"Filled with personal musings, historical details, and magical suggestions for both the novice and the knowledgeable, this is a book for those who love their land-base and those who are new to the practice of that ancient art."—Hecate Demetersdatter
H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA (Asheville, NC) is a western NC native, teacher, folklorist, and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at several festivals and conferences, including the Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Starwood, Hexfest and many others. She serves as senior priestess and co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple and the Coalition of Earth Religions/CERES, both in Asheville, NC. She podcasts about Appalachian folkways on "Wyrd Mountain Gals." Her essays are featured in several anthologies and she writes a regular column for SageWoman Magazine. Find her online at www.myvillagewitch.com.
Alex Bledsoe is the author of The Hum and the Shiver and the Tufa novels.