Byron Ballard lives and breathes Appalachian culture and magic. Her roots in this region run very deep with many generations of her ancestors calling this land home. She pours her depth of knowledge and experience into what may well be her finest book to date. Seasons of a Magical Life takes us on a journey through the Wheel of the Year. Byron expertly weaves stories, history, magic,herbalism, gardening, seasonal activities and humor into a rich stew that you will want to savor slowly and enjoy every bite.
The first part of the book is a series of essays that set the stage for what comes next. Then Byron takes us through the Wheel of the Year starting with Samhain and ending with Mabon (the fall equinox). The framework which holds it all together is not only the Wheel of the Year but also her journaling which occurred over the span of a year as she spent time in her garden which is located at a remote cabin she calls her “small forest farm.” It is, indeed, a magical and mystic location that is full of awe and wonder (and a lot of hard work). Her enthusiasm for it is contagious, and it’s the perfect literary device for exploring all the themes attached to each spoke on the Wheel of the Year.
The other thing Byron does really well is reference Christian history and spiritual practice throughout the book. This, of course, is of particular interest to me and to the readers of this blog. She does this with great ease and challenges us to look at the ways we’re tied together rather than focusing on the things that make us different. This definitely sets her apart from other authors. It’s also the reason why she and this Christo-Pagan have forged such a deep friendship. We need more people like Byron in both the Pagan and Christian communities!
I don’t want to spoil the joy of discovery that awaits the reader of this book so I’ll end my review here. If you are not familiar with Byron’s writings, what are you waiting for? She’s the real deal and walks a spiritual path that many of us who know her personally love and admire. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to earth based spirituality or you’ve walked a Pagan path for decades. Everyone will find something in Seasons of a Magical Life that will make their spiritual practice sparkle. I highly recommend it!
Copyright ©2021 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com