My first go with this book was with its 2006 release and I will be endlessly thankful that Margot Adler has kept this book alive & evolving through the years, as paganism and Wicca have certainly not stood still since its original release in 1979.
The title of this book feels is like a secret message to those in the know, a magickal nod to witchy folks familiar with the four words. The name Drawing Down the Moon is a reference to an important ritual that, in essence, is the invocation and incarnation of the goddess.
Brimming with information and key players in Wicca’s western history, DDTM is a reference for anyone looking to go beyond the basics of the craft. This book is really the best answer (I’ve found) to the question of why as pagans do we do what we do? And where did those traditions start?
Sometimes it can seem that there is only Wicca. A single word with a single meaning. Especially for the solitary practitioner, which has arguably become the majority of modern craft participants. DDTM explores the different types of Wicca (Dianic, Alexandrian, Gardnerian, etc.) and their timelines. It also details how our environmental, ecological, social, political, and feminist influences have gone on to nourish our spiritual landscape; going into detail on the lesser known – and very new – pagan traditions. Some of the most interesting aspects of this book come from these niche developments that manifested in western paganism, specifically in chapters nine, “Religions from the Past – The Pagan Reconstructionist” and ten, “A Religion from the Future – The Church of All Worlds.”
DDTM is a wonderful lesson in confidence & creativity in your own modern practice, and significant reference for what others have brought to the table. I do think it is required reading (if you can have such a thing) for anyone who might feel uncertain or insecure of what their role in today’s Wicca might be. If anything, this book will confirm that you DO have one, and that it is okay to make that process your own! In fact, Adler prefaces this in the book when she writes, “The message of Drawing Down the Moon has always been that the spiritual world is like the natural world – only diversity will save it.”
DDTM is packed with nearly 30 years of information, appendices of rituals and resources, not to mention valuable insights from some of the most renowned voices in western paganism.
There was a particular image I could not get out of my head as I travelled through DDTM. A dense, rich, magickal forest with a wide, inviting path. This book really does the job of walking you down that academic path, while allowing you to notice and explore all the unique detours, and less travelled, winding pathways connected to it. It gives welcoming direction to all of the niche spiritual facets within Wicca itself, and gives permission (should you feel like you need it) to leave your own footprints along the way.
I had a million little aha moments reading this book. (Or 51, if you go by my post-it note annotations.) The essence of this book can really be summed up in the final sentence of its 460 pages (not including appendices). Although, I won’t ruin that for you here because *spoilers*.