[I wanted to share this nice article about a lady which many of us in the Pagan community here in Asheville have been aware of for some time. While many of the comments on the article were the usual redneck Christian variety (not surprising), the article itself is definitely a keeper. I encourage visitors to this site to get acquainted with one of Asheville’s treasures.
Over the years, Byron Ballard has been a bookseller, writer, actor, PTA mom, pastry cook, theater manager, winemaker, community volunteer, administrative assistant, scenery painter and maker of jellies and jams to give as Christmas gifts.
She’s also a witch. And not just an ordinary witch, but a Wiccan high priestess.
You’ll find no warts on her nose, and the only use she has for a broom is to sweep the sidewalk of her home in the West End/Clingman Avenue neighborhood, where she’s a community leader and the neighborhood historian.
Ballard says her Pagan beliefs are not at war with her role as civic volunteer, and that she is enriched by her friendships with leaders of Catholic, Jewish, Episcopal, Baptist and other mainline protestant faiths.
But she has learned to cheerfully endure the suspicious glances, spoken and unspoken disapproval of those who learn of her Wiccan belief system. She prefers to smile and offer to educate rather than dismiss her detractors. To turn the other cheek, as it were.
“There’s the Satan thing,” she said matter-of-factly. “We don’t worship Satan, and it is the rare Pagan who even has Satan as part of their pantheon of deities.