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Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, And Other Pagans In America (2006)

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America (2006)
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4.01 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0143038192 (ISBN13: 9780143038191)
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English
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penguin books
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Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druid...
Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, And Other Pagans In America (2006)

About book: I really enjoyed this book and became inspired by some solid arguments for a case against monotheism, which I hope to use to help produce a sound theory around. One thing I found interesting was that Margo Adler supports the idea that monotheism, as a minority practice, has been with humanity since the inception of religion.I was really surprised how much of the Wiccan myth I didn’t know about. Authors like Margaret Murray and works like Aradia were unknown to me before I read this book. I didn’t realize that the seeds of Wicca were planted in the Late Modern Era at the beginning of the twentieth century.I found it so true that notion of ‘finding your home,’ in spirituality that margaret talks about in the section, “A religion without converts.” At least this was so in my experience. I also enjoyed the section iterating through the various Traditions and learned of more pagan traditions such as the 1734 trad, various Dianic cults, & NROOGD.I share some of the sentiments expressed by the various people discussed in this book, that our ecological problems are mainly the result of an unhealthy religious worldview, relating back to my thoughts on monotheism and dualistic thought introduced by the Zoroastrians.I was kind of shocked that OBOD and other forms of Druidism weren’t mentioned anywhere. I read attentively all the parts that related to Isaac because I’m a bonewits fan-boy.Edward Fitch was mentioned throughout the entire book which is kind of cool because he is active in our local pagan community. I kept teasing him about being famous and quoting the words from the book to others at gatherings and meetups.That little was mentioned of ADF disappointed me, though Isaac was a member of RDNA, it doesn’t mean that the parts about ADF belonged in the section discussing religions of play.I highly enjoyed the part about Heathens and Asatruars, however, I think the few people quoted from the Asatru Folk Assembly were indeed racist and she could have sought out others to talk to.No mention of Celtic Reconstructionism upset me quite a bit more than little mention of ADF. The reconstructionist religions she did mention were either dead or worthless in my opinion. She didn’t mention Hellenismos either.Overall this 2006 editon was way better than the 2 previous versions and is a good read/rearead for everyone.

Let me start with the pros - the first chapter of this book was informative and captivating. It covered the background history of Paganism and its reformation as Neo-Paganism aka Wicca. Also the chapter on feminism and Wicca was my second favorite bit. Overall Wicca holds onto traditional male/female roles and it was refreshing to hear a different perspective on it. As far as the cons - this book was written in the late 1970's and as interesting as it was to understand the supposed "resurgence" of Neo-Paganism in the states - I couldn't help but feel that this fact was inaccurate today. Wicca appears to be a fad religion made up by people who believed that being connected to the "goddess" would suddenly enlighten them. The various account stories by people in this book sound completely insane. The chapter on "magic" lacked any real evidence that it actually evoked any power and seemed completely made up in order to draw new Wicca recruits in. This in itself lead me to believe Wicca is a cult religion and it would be helpful to read a more current account of how this religion is evolving now. The author I assumed to be Wicca herself which bothered me because the whole book was a biased account overall. How can you write rationally about Wicca if your a Wicca yourself?
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Reviews
Aaron Meyer
Hmmm what to say about this book. Well it's pretty much an essential book to have on ones bookshelf if you are into the history of Neo-pagan resurgence in the UK and USA. Yes it is dated, including the updated and revised edition, but that shouldn't count much against it because it is impossible to have a constant updated work in print. The work goes into detail of early wicca and a number of the other alternative religious viewpoints. The chapter on the Feminists I pretty much skipped after reading a few bits of it because it really doesn't hold my interest and the radical faeries chapter lost my interest as well. I only wished it had a better section on Asatru despite the difficulties it presented to her. Definitely would be nice if someone would come along and record the last thirty years of the resurgence to compliment this work, but that is probably wishful thinking!
Eli
One of the grandmamma books on modern Paganism. There's a lot of fascinating history in this book, but it's much more of a snapshot of 1979 Pagan America and England, plus a tiny bit of updating for the new edition. But the new stuff felt less like the reconsidering the subject deserves and more like "where are they now?" tack-ons to the original material. Many of the groups Adler profiled originally have dwindled or died entirely, and several groups and movements I know were active in '86 are ignored completely. Adler's psychological bias comes through strongly, as well. She gives primacy to the archetypal/metaphorical interpretation of deity, where the majority of Pagans I know are adamant that their gods are real. Might Adler have leaned toward the psychological interpretation even when her interviewees didn't espouse it? Or might she have been looking for people who had that interpretation from the beginning? This is an important book in the history of modern Western Paganism, and I respect it for that, but I don't consider it the indespensible read it might have been when it was first published in 1979. Maybe if I'd had the 2006 edition instead of the 1986 edition, I would've been more impressed.
Tim
I am sure there are far better reviews out there for this book than I could write but I'll say that you can believe the hype about this book. I had heard about this for many years but never actually took the time to read it and boy do I feel silly now after completing it. This is probably one of the best resources for Pagans and non-Pagans alike in terms of accurately representing the cultural resurgence of Goddess and Nature oriented religions. After reading this I truly feel proud to call myself Neo-Pagan as I feel a great deal of what I believe in was examined and put into real context in some shape or form throughout the text, most surprisingly that despite what I previously believed a very large group Neo-Pagans share the same views of technology (pro opposed to con) as I do and simply seek to strike a balance between the natural and artificial. I would highly insist that anyone serious about studying Pagan topics take the time to read this. It may be large at over 600 pages but Margot Adler kept her chapters succinct and to the point and I feel little of this book was "filler" content.
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