Book of the Week: Drawing Down the Moon

In addition to the Good Book List, I’ve decided to add my own book reviews.  I’ll be adding one book per week so as not to overburden myself.  I should be able to keep up for the next few months at least as some of my reviews will be re-prints from my old website.

Once the post is up, I’ll add the link to the Book Reviews page to keep them easily accessible.  If you’d like me to review a specific book, please feel free to add a comment to that page.

First up – Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler was one of the very first Pagan books I owned (actually, my fiancé owned it when we met; my collection then was nothing compared to what it is now). However, it wasn’t until years later that I sat down to read the whole thing. 2005 marked the 20 year anniversary of the revised edition of DDM.

When I was first starting out in the late 90’s, this book was on almost everyone’s ‘Beginner Books’ list. Many folks will still recommend it today.

Adding this book to your library will give you a great insight into the history of the Craft in America and the vastly varying traditions and religions within the Pagan Community. Drawing Down the Moon is also a great read for those of us who have been around a while and for whatever reason, haven’t gotten to it yet. I know that it gave me a great insight into paths and people I had only heard mentioned in passing.

One of the most interesting things for me was to see how much the face of the Craft has changed in the last 30+ years. When DDM was written in the late seventies, the most visible and vocal of our community were only slightly it at all involved in witchcraft. Wicca was still very much in the shadows.

It is amazing to think of all of the leaps and bounds forward we have made in terms of garnering awareness and tolerance of our religions. It is also troubling to see that so many of the issues that Pagans worried about then are still plaguing our community today. The advance of the Religious Right, the destruction of the environment, the public image of the Craft, etc, all seem to be timeless problems that we face.

Margot Adler is a Gardnarian priestess and eco-feminist, and some of her views of the Pagan community are slanted as such (which she freely admits). Even so, her interviews with prominent Pagans of the day are unbiased and even-handed. In the expanded and revised edition, she touches on topics left out of the original printing (such as the Asatru community) and clarifies many others.

Drawing Down the Moon provides a great contrast to Ronald Hutton’s work on the history and development of British Pagan Witchcraft, Triumph of the Moon. Without a doubt, this volume belongs on every Pagan’s bookshelf.

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