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Drawing Down the Moon www.gazhoo.com

Drawing Down the Moon www.gazhoo.com

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Published by sanamkapoor01
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler
Download at www.gazhoo.com
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler
Download at www.gazhoo.com

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Published by: sanamkapoor01 on May 28, 2009
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IntroductionI chose to read the book Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, GoddessWorshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler, because I myself am a practicingWiccan.I began following this religion the summer before I entered high school. I have read manybooks on my religion, and I thought that this one would compliment the knowledge that Ihave on the subject.I was raised a Roman Catholic, but I never felt truly comfortable with the teachings of theCatholic church. It always seemed a little off to me and I never felt like I belonged there.After I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, my parents stopped enforcing that Iattend mass every Sunday. It made the transition a lot easier for me. Although, they didnot and still do not approve of my religion, they understand that Catholicism is not forme.When people hear that I am a “witch,” they automatically assume that I am either crazy,or a “devil worshipper.” Books such as Alder’s Drawing Down the Moon, are the onlyway to allow other people to realize that there are many facets to the term “Pagan.” Theyalso make people realize that not all Pagan religions revolve around curses, crystal ballsand sacrifices.Although, I did not agree with everything that Margot Adler had to say, or with some of the interviews she chose to include in Drawing Down the Moon, I am happy that I choseto read it for my final paper. I do not feel that we cover enough about Pagan religions inour class, and this assignment gave me the opportunity to learn more about Paganreligions other than my own.Brief SummaryIn America today, there are a myriad of “occult” or “magickal” groups. Some of thesegroups are small with maybe only 5 or 6 members, some have hundreds. The groups thatI am referring to call themselves Pagans or Neo-Pagans. There are a wide variety of Pagans and Neo-Pagans. They can be animists, polytheists, pantheists, monotheists, or acombination of any of these. There are also many different classifications of Witches,such as: Gothic, Classical, Familial, Immigrant, Ethnic and Feminist. Each group is verydistinct and different from the next. They do however share a common set of values.Pagan religions are said to be a culmination of the creator’s own mind and a bit of oldtradition such as rituals an scriptures from other Pagan religions in the past. In MargotAlder’s book, I was able to learn about a few types of Pagans, and some of the problemsthat face them. One of the main problems is that people do not understand certain termsused when referring to Pagan religions, and therefore make assumptions and associatenegative things with anything “Pagan.” Adler clears up some of these bad connotations
with definitions throughout her book. One of the most important definitions that I cameacross while reading it, was that of Magick. She defines it in a couple of different waysdepending on which religion she is describing. But no matter if it were Wiccans or Druidsbeing discussed, all descriptions of Magick stated that it has nothing to do with thesupernatural. Instead it was defined as any technique which uses the mind to alter orchange something.The term “witch,” is also usually associated with being bad or worse yet, evil. The actualdefinition of “witch,” is one who practices or follows the Craft. It is also associated withany practitioner or initiate of Wicca.Another set of terms that Adler explains for the reader, is that of God/Goddess. InWitchcraft today, there is a wide array of Gods or Goddesses that are believed in or for abetter choice or words followed. It all depends on the sect of witches you are concernedwith. Some groups believe that there is only one Goddess mother, while others invoke thepowers of many Gods, and/or Goddesses during rites and rituals. For the most part, thereis a stronger concentration on Goddess rather than God, when dealing with Paganreligions. It is thought that some of the reasoning behind this is that there is a multitude of Feminine orders in the Craft today. Other explanations are that since these are naturebased religions they are concerned with “mother earth,” or the “deity mother.” TheGoddess can be found in every coven and “her” name will vary from group to group.Prejudice has created many problems for Pagans. This prejudice is also based onmisunderstandings. Most of this bias is from misunderstandings or lack of understandingof certain Pagan rituals and rites. Paganism and Neo-Paganism has a lot of emphasis onthe forces of nature. Many rituals and ceremonies require nudity and sex. People look down on this without knowing how these two things play a role in certain religions.Being naked according to any Pagan, allows you to be closer to the earth. After all, youare in you natural state, therefore you are pure and fully devoted to whatever activity youare partaking in without any boundaries from the outside world. Ritualistic sex acts thatare incorporated into ceremonies are ways for the practitioner to “take the place of” theGod or Goddess they are petitioning to for help or guidance. It is a very spiritual practiceamong Pagans, especially in many sects of Wicca. It represents fertility, birth, death andrebirth in the realm of the God or Goddess.Many of the ceremonies are planned around the phases of the moon, and earth, and othernatural cycles. This is why Pagan religions are classified as “Natural Religion.” Ritualssuch as the “drawing down of the moon,” are an integral part of Pagan life. In this case,The Priestess of a coven (or the solitary practitioner if that is the case) enters the center if the circle naked and is said to take in the essence or spirit of the Goddess. This isfollowed by an incantation of sorts whereas the Goddess speaks through the priestess tothe other members of the coven (if present). At times it is just the words of the Priestess
being spoken as ritual, but there have been documented cases where the Priestess has norecollection of anything that she had said while in the circle (which is a spiritual realmthat is both literally and metaphoricaly a circle. When in the circle, a person is supposedto be in a state of meditation and at peace with the earth. It is a sort of “Nirvana.”). Someof these rituals have been dated farther back than the times of Christ. This is one reasonwhy Pagans tend to believe that their religions are the originals.In Drawing Down the Moon, Adler also tells us that there is no required ceremony toallow people into the majority of the Crafts. This is true to the effect that anyone can joinif they are willing, but in most sects, a proper initiation in which the practitionerdedicates themselves and becomes charged with the power of a God or Goddess isrequired. Aside from these rites, the validity of the religion lies solely in the practitioner.A few of the sects that Adler cites in her book, are: School of Wicca, New ReformedOrthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (or NROOGD), Coven of Gwynvyd, theAlexandrian sect and the Gardenerian rite.Critical Personal ReflectionAs I said before, I did not agree with all of the things that Adler had stated in her book. Ihad found some sections to be quite appalling. Her choices in interviews seemed at somepoints to give backing to those who look down on Pagan religions. One such instancetook place in chapter six’s “Interview with a Modern Witch.” In this interview, subjectSharon Devlin states that she believes that drugs should be incorporated in rituals. Sheactually states “I want people to start getting off. Drugs and sex are an essential part of magical rites. Some of the heaviest power is obtained that way.” (Adler, p. 143) In thesect of Wicca that I practice, this is looked down upon because when performing a ritualyou are supposed to be in the most natural state. Being on a drug is most certainly notbeing in a pure state. This statement makes the Craft look bad and justifies some of theconnotations that are associated with Pagan religions.Aside from this, I would have to say that Drawing Down The Moon is a definitive work on the Neo-paganism movement, it is definitely among the most informative of the booksI have read on the subject as well as the millions of web-sites maintained by pagans of diverse backgrounds. I like the fact that Adler, unlike many Wiccan authors in her field,did not give this book a Wiccan slant, but gave non-Wiccan pagans equal billing.Another great aspect of Drawing Down the Moon, is that she didn\'t just research thesevarious movements, either, but participated in ritual, talked to people who were there,took her time to really investigate all over the globe. I was a bit standoffish when I firstsaw how thick the book was, but once I started reading, it was well worth it.I consider myself to be pretty well versed in this religious tradition and consider myself apart of this movement . Even if you are not spiritually inclined, I would recommend this

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