Pagans Abound

Book Card  -  Volume 31  -  Book Review Number 2  -  Wed, Mar 2, 1994 8:24 PM

TITLE: Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Pagans and Goddess - Worshippers in America Today (I might be a little off on the title)
AUTHOR: Margot Adler
PUBLISHER: Don't know (I've already lent the book out!)
COPYRIGHT: 1978 (or so, with a 10th anniversary revision)

Since reading The Mists of Avalon, I have become increasingly intrigued with Wicca (modern witchcraft or The Craft) and Paganism. I came across this book on my shelves, one of the Quality Paperback Bookclub automatic orders I never sent back. I'm glad I didn't return it!

Margot Adler is herself a Pagan, yet the book is very unbiased. She explores the myriad of beliefs which fall under the general category of paganism. She clearly defines the differences between Goddess-worshippers and other monotheists, polytheists, and pantheists (those who see a god/dess in everything). Interestingly, she doesn't go into Satanism at all - she sees it as not pagan, merely the negative or opposite side of Christianity.

An interesting point she makes is that a society creates its religion to reflect its ideals. In this way, western monotheism perfectly reflects our sociopolitical structure: one God (male, of course), one President, one CEO; many angels, senators, managers (this is a LOOSE comparison, mind you!); masses of mortals, voters, workers. In many pagan religions, there is no hierarchy, no initiation, no rigorous field of study - just a common belief.

The book is easy to read and very well researched. It has photographs and an extensive resource guide. If you're at all intrigued by alternative spiritual practices, this book is one of the two most highly recommended*. It's a great introduction.

*The other book is Starhawk's The Spiral Dance, which I also enjoyed. It is more or less about Starhawk's version of Wicca.