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Staubs and DItchcwater: An Intro to Hillsfolk Hoodoo


RavenFlyer

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My friend and colleague Byron Ballard has her first book published. she has received her books for the preorders and is having a launch party next week at the local bookstore. The book focuses on the magical traditions of the southern appalachian mountains. here is a link to her blog about the book:

 

 

http://staubsandditchwater.blogspot.com/

 

 

here is my wonderful friend introducing her book on youtube:

 

she has a couple more videos talking about chrams and talismans, the power of rue, and voodoo, hoodoo and santeria!

 

as soon as I get my copy and get to read the entire book I will give a full review.

 

here is a bit more information on the book taken from Byron's blog:

 

The book—part memoir and part instructional primer—is an entertaining introduction to southern Appalachian folk magic.

Ballard leads local and regional workshops on these traditional practices and techniques. After much thought and conversations with a wide range of people, she decided to share some of this information from, in her words, the fading traditional cultures of the southern Highlands. She found that there is a hunger in both the dominant culture and in her spiritual community for authentic information on this subject. She did some research, talked to some home-folks and created a series of workshops based on what she’s learned and practiced over the years. This little book—drawn from the workshop series-- gives the student a good over-view of techniques, history and a glimpse into the culture from which they all flow.

 

if you are interested in ordering the book it can be done through here:

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Whoops sorry. I meant to add the link haha. Senility is setting in early:

 

www.myvillagewitch.com

 

You can also email Byron directly if you can't find the info on that site. Her email address I don't know off the top of my head but it's listed on the blog and the website.

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hee hee, that Aloe..... thank you for returning to post the " Where to's " ...Raven, your collegue sounds facinating, I may have to snag her book, just to see about the ditchwater, I've never thought of collecting water from a ditch. Thanks for posting a video also, that was awesome.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Ok so upon speaking with Byron if you would like to order a copy of the book you need I email her personally. She doesn't have her website set up for orders at the moment.

 

Here is her email

byronotthepoet@gmail.com

 

 

And tell her Ian introduced you to her book! Won't get you a discount, but she'll figure out how people all over the country and world have found out about her book lol.

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Ok so upon speaking with Byron if you would like to order a copy of the book you need I email her personally. She doesn't have her website set up for orders at the moment.

 

Here is her email

byronotthepoet@gmail.com

 

 

And tell her Ian introduced you to her book! Won't get you a discount, but she'll figure out how people all over the country and world have found out about her book lol.

 

dear RavenFlyer,

I will do that then, as I am very interested in getting this book! I shall tell her you told us about it!

many thanks,

kind regs,

Heks

 

edited to say that for some reason this email did not work, but I messaged her on facebook!

Edited by Heks
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Ahhh! So many small problems with trying to contact her lol.

 

Ok try this email or her Facebook since the other address doesn't work fr some reason (frustrating!)

 

Info@myvillagewitch.com

 

Thanks for letting me know about the email not working Heks!

 

 

Edited to add: Byron said if you've messages or emailed her she will respond as soon as possible. It my take a day or two as she is trying to get all the preorders out, launch party posters made, etc...

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Ahhh! So many small problems with trying to contact her lol.

 

Ok try this email or her Facebook since the other address doesn't work fr some reason (frustrating!)

 

Info@myvillagewitch.com

 

Thanks for letting me know about the email not working Heks!

 

You're welcome, RavenFlyer! I just messaged her on Facebook, and told her you recommended her book to us here on this forum! Last night, she asked me how I found out about her book, but I did not want to write that I saw it on here because all my friends are on my facebook, but I told her now, via facebook messaging. She is really a very nice lady.

 

Kind regs

Heks

smile.gif

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Her book launch/signing was tonight. I am loving this book so far. It's a small book just over 100 pages, but already crammed full of good stuff. I am getting in bed now, but will post more of a review tomorrow.

 

Her first printing is already sold out, but the second printing will be finished soon!

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Staubs and Ditchwater: A friendly and useful introduction to Hillsfolks' Hoodoo

By; Byron Ballard

 

 

It's been a little over a month since I updated this blog, and for that I apologize. This posting is a review about a friend and colleague's book.

 

First, I have to say, as a native of the Southern Highlands of the Appalachian Mountains I appreciate any time an author sets out to write about the area's beliefs and practices without looking down his or her nose at the area. Byron Ballard does just that with her book. Yes, she too is a native of the appalachian mountains, and works hard to showcase the Appalachian culture in its best light.

 

She set up the book in this order:

Introduction

Chapter one: An Old Dirt Road: Seeking a Craft with No Name

Essay One: A Season of Lights: How we Celebrated a Hillbilly Yule

Chapter Two: A little Bit Farther Down the Road: Tools You Carry in a Work Basket

Essay Two: A Road to Somewhere

Chapter Three: At the Crossroads: Materials

Essay Three: Baba Yaga and the Sacred Landscape

Chapter Four: Standing on the Knoll: Divination and Omen-Reading

Essay Four: My City Mother Has Risen From the Dead

Chapter Five: A Peck of Helpful Recipes: Traditional or of my Own Devising

Essay Five: Fire on the Mountain

Chapter Six: On the Porch: Some Friendly Advice, a Couple of Stories, and a Glass of Sweet Tea

 

In the Introduction she discusses this area and how its been disintegrated down to its stereotypes, and how how we as a culture have to make the choice of either preserving and sharing our heritage warts and all; or by holding on to it and squeezing it until it is lost to time. What's the best choice? She leaves that up to the reader and the people of the area to make their own decision. Included in the Introduction is the paper Hillfolk Hoodoo and the Question of Cultural Strip-mning she presented to Harvard at a colloquium, "Forging Folklore: Witches, Pagans, and Neo-Tribal Cultures."

 

The first chapter is a bit more of an introduction into what the book will present to the reader in that Byron sets the stage. She gives the reader the most important information right up front here. I won't spoil it, but I will say if you aren't looking deeply into the first chapter you will miss it. Especially if what you are really wanting is chapter Five, and aren't ready to put in the work and understanding then all the work in chapter Five will be for nothing because the recipes simply won't work the way you want or at all.

 

Chapter Two is a breath of fresh air. Comparing her chapter of tools needed for the Hillfolks' Hoodoo basket to any other current book in a similar vein shows that Byron outshines the others by mentioning the spirit allies. So many current books on the shelves of Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, etc ignore the use of land spirits, and ancestors. Their aid in magical arts and practices can not be stressed enough. I am very glad Byron included them.

 

The materials presented in Chapter Three are fantastic. Many items I already use, but some of them I didn't even think about. She discusses the use of greases, oils, waters, herbs and roots, dusts and dirts, staubs, steel, iron, and eggs. I appreciate Byron's honesty in discussing her misspelling of the word staub, and the humor in how she will continue to spell stob as S T A U B.

If you want to know what a staub is and how to use it as well as how to use ditchwater then you must get this book!

 

Chapter Four covers different forms of divination and omen-reading. She makes a clear distinction between omens and divination which is very helpful for the new comer to this type of practice. I appreciated her advice on learning whats common for your area amongst the animals, plant life, etc when it comes to looking for omens and understanding what the movements of the aforementioned life forms indicates. There is no one concrete be all end all meaning for a crows flying pattern. It is all subjective to the reader, and once the reader understands what it means for him or her then the omen reading will be more accurate.

 

In chapter Five Byron shares some traditional recipes both magical and mundane. She also includes some of her own workings.

 

I haven't described the Essays here because I really don't want to give away too much of this book. The essays are worth the cost of the book alone. They were my favorite part, and great transitions between the chapters. There is great emotion within the essays.

 

The book is a great addition to preserving Appalachian culture, and exposing the truth about the stereotypes that have plagued this area. The only con I can say about the book is its too short. There are a few areas that I wish were expanded such as the divination chapter, and the tools chapter. However, the book is titled as an introduction to hillsfolks' hoodoo and as such it is an excellent introduction.

I look forward to any and all future publications by Byron Ballard concerning the appalachian magical art.

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Here is an update from Byron concerning the next printing:

 

We're compiling a list for the next batch of books. If you want to order through PayPal, you can put $23 per book (which includes shipping) into my account byronb (at) buncombe (dot)main(dot)nc(dot)us. And if you don't Pay Pal, let me know! And thanks so much!

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  • 3 months later...

I just finished this - what a gem of a book! It's sort of like a "Witchcraft 101 for those that don't like marching to the beat of the populist drummer".

 

As RF said, the essays alone are worth the price of the book. But the rest of it is down-to-earth, no-nonsense advice.

 

What I was amazed/amused at: 1) I'm basically self-taught. My own intuition & the help of spirit guides is all I had/have. 2) I now live in an area similar to what Byron describes in the book. I may not be native but I feel more at home here than anywhere else I've lived. My way of practicing is sooo close to what she describes I found myself laughing at the similarities. See? Some things are universal in magic!

 

Get it. You won't be disappointed.

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.

 

Since my interest in the Hoodoo has grown I will be ordering this book too

 

 

So I can just go straight to the PayPal and order it there ?

 

 

The following is correct?

 

 

Byronnotthepoet@gmail. (Byron not the poet @ gmail.com)

 

If you want to order through PayPal, you can put $23 per book (which includes shipping) into my account byronb (at) buncombe (dot)main(dot)nc(dot)us.

 

.

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  • 3 months later...

Oooo this sounds interesting! I'm glad this post got bumped, I hadn't seen it before. She still have any copies available? ;) Would you advise for me to go to her website now since it has been a few months since you posted this RavenFlyer? Or follow the advice you wrote in the posting? Thanks!

 

I was raised in Central PA, in the West Valley of the Susquehanna River, but unfortunately did not encounter any folk magic except for the occasional apple-head person in a kitchen. Even if I had, I don;t know how I would have reacted. Not back then. I do wonder if there is much of a tradition up that way? All I have ever heard connected with it is the Southern Appalachians, tho we have tons of Pa Dutch(I'm one meself).

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I would say she has more copies. I know it was recent when se posted in Facebook about getting another couple of boxes from the publisher. I would say send her an email and ask if she has any available.

 

 

:smile: Thank you much!!

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