DRAWING DOWN THE MOON
An important ritual in some Traditions of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft in which a Coven's high priestess enters a Trance state and 'becomes' the Goddess, who is symbolized by the Moon.
The transformation is accomplished with the help of the high priest, who invokes, or draws down, the spirit of the Goddess into the high priestess.
The origins of Drawing Down the Moon can be found in classical times. Ancient Thessalian witches were believed to control the moon, according to an old 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 of my weight."
In the modern rite, the high priestess may recite the Charge of the Goddess, a poetic address written by Doreen Valiente, high priestess in the Gardnerian tradition, or she may deliver a spontaneous address.
Drawing Down the Moon is one of the most serious and some claim the most beautiful of all rituals in Neo-Pagan Witchcraft. Depending upon the high priestess's Altered State of Consciousness and the energy raised, the words that come forth can be profoundly moving, poetic and inspiring. Through Drawing Down the Moon, many women claim to connect with the power of the Goddess and therefore with the power within themselves.
A similar rite for invoking the Horned God into the high priest is called Drawing Down the Sun or Drawing Down of the Horned God. A similar Neo-Pagan ritual is called Calling Down the Moon.
see also: GERALD B. GARDNER; ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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