Book: Drawing Down The Moon Witches Druids Goddess Worshippers And Other Pagans In America by Margot AdlerPopular demand for this clear-sighted compendium of information about the rebirth of Pagan religions hasn't waned since its initial publication in 1979. Distinguished by the journalism of National Public Radio columnist Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon explains this diverse and burgeoning religion's philosophies and activities while dispelling stereotypes that have long been associated with it. Most people don't realize that pagan simply refers to pre-Christian polytheistic nature religions, such as the various Native American creeds, Japanese Shinto, Celtic Druid, and Western European Wicca. Originally, the word pagan meant "country dweller" and was a derogatory term in Rome in the third century A.D., not unlike calling someone a hick today. If you find yourself feeling queasy when you hear the words witch or pagan, a healthy dose of reeducation via Drawing Down the Moon could be the cure.
I read this book when it was first published and recommned it to anyone who wants to become more enlightened about the topic. I have a social science background, and thus a general understanding of the various world views of traditional societies who are in my opinion closer to old Mother Earth than most of us "moderns" who spend far too much time caught up in our technology. Margot Adler (granddaughter of the famous psychologist) went exploring (ethnographic field work) and this book is the result.
She does not promote any of the world views she describes, she plays the good ethnographer and records what she finds. She participates on several occasions, and thus becomes the "participant observer" recorder. I didn't know much about the revival of "paganism" and had never heard of Wicca before I read Adler's book. I learned that in spite of the professed enlightenment of our modern age, many fear the practices described. Why? Basically, the practice of Wicca seems to be a female oriented way of life--focusing on nature, life, a spiritual path. I for one am continuing to read about Wicca and explore what others are doing.
I figure some of the so-called witches etc. are not what they purport to be, just as some of the agressive so-called Christians driving with bumper stickers that advertise their "faith" are not what they purport to be. I recommend Adler's book if you are interested in comparative religion, are looking for a new way of living or just curious about a somewhat maligned and often persecuted group of mostly women.
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