A small group of us, all women except for Becky Beyer's apprentice, sit rapt as she talks about the pagan wheel of the year and its European roots. We look out onto a field of pampas grass, its fronds glow gently in the fall sunlight. Before us is an altar with various pagan symbols. We are in a gorgeous and spacious barn on the property where Beyer lives. For her living is about connecting with the land through foraging, growing and rearing food and honoring the heritage of Appalachian withcraft that has been influenced a great deal by European ancient paganism.
Beyer became a witch at the age of 12. She discovered this path through her Wiccan Sunday school teacher at her local Unitarian Universalist church. Since then she has researched the heritage of witchcraft with inexhaustible enthusiasm, and she is currently studying for her masters in ethnobotany. These studious roots have led to her work as a teacher if the old ways as well as a tour guide for the local foraging organization "No Taste Like Home".
Through her work she has discovered that the traditions of paganism and witchcraft go much further than the wiccan rituals that were first promulgated by Gerald Gardner in Britain in the 1940s.