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Drawing down the Moon (also known as drawing down the Goddess) is a ritual central to many contemporary Wiccan traditions. During the ritual, a coven's High Priestess enters a trance and requests that the Goddess or Triple Goddess, symbolized by the moon, enter her body and speak through her. The High Priestess may be aided by the High Priest, who invokes the spirit of the Goddess.

During her trance, the High Priestess speaks and acts as the Goddess.


The ritual through history

In contemporary traditions, some solitary Wiccans also perform the ritual, usually within a circle and performed under the light of a full Moon. The solitary will stand in the Goddess Pose (both arms held high, palms up, body and arms forming a 'Y') and recite a charge, or chant.

The name most likely comes from a depiction of two women and the moon on an ancient Greek vase, believed to date from the second century B.C.E.[1]

In classical times, ancient Thessalian witches[1][2] were believed to control the moon, according to the tract: "If I command the moon, it will come down; and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head; and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight."[2]

Though a number of Wiccan traditions may practice a variation of the ritual, the modern form likely originated in Gardnerian Wicca, and is considered a central element of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan ceremonies. During the modern rite, the High Priestess may recite the Charge of the Goddess, a poem written by Doreen Valiente, High Priestess in the Gardnerian tradition.

The ritual in print

"Drawing Down the Moon" is also the title of a book by National Public Radio reporter, Margot AdlerDrawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today—originally published in 1979. Adler writes:

"... in this ritual, one of the most serious and beautiful in the modern Craft, the priest invokes into the priestess (or, depending on your point of view, she evokes from within herself) the Goddess or Triple Goddess, symbolized by the phases of the moon. She is known by a thousand names, and among them were those I had used as a child. In some Craft rituals the priestess goes into a trance and speaks; in other traditions the ritual is a more formal dramatic dialogue, often of intense beauty, in which, again, the priestess speaks, taking the role of the Goddess. In both instances, the priestess functions as the Goddess incarnate, within the circle."


  1. ^ Rhododaphne, or, The Thessalian spell: a poem By Thomas Love Peacock
  2. ^ Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook By Daniel Ogden Page 238 ISBN 0195151232
  1. ^  - Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, Margot Adler, Viking Press 1979; revised ed. Beacon Press 1987, and Penguin Books 1997 ISBN 0-14-019536-X. Plate #1.
  2. ^  - Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, Second Edition, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Checkmark Books, 1999, ISBN 0-8160-3849-X (pbk.)
  3. ^  - Drawing Down the Moon, Revised and Expanded ed., Margot Adler, Viking Press, 1997, ISBN 014019536X

Further reading

  • Magical Rites From the Crystal Well, Fitch, Ed and Janine Renee, Llewellyn Publications, 1984, ISBN 0875422306
  • The Spiral Dance, 20th Anniversary Edition, Starhawk, HarperSanFransisco, 1999, ISBN 0062516329

External links



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