An excellent look at alternative spiritual paths in contemporary America that are inspired by ancient pagan practices. This book is a classic, written in the 1980 s and has had several editions put out later Due to the age of the book there may have been many developments in the Pagan arena , so some of the information might still seem dated The authoress herself passed away on July 28, 2014 Since Gerald Gardner birth the modern witchcraft revival, the Witch Craft Pagan community has grown by leaps and bounds The most popular facet of the Pagan movement is the growth of Wicca, Gerald s child The face of the craft has changed a lot since it s inception, especially here in America Using interviews and research Margot Adler gave us an accurate picture of the Pagan movements growth In the beginning Wicca centered around the God and Goddess and one had to be initiated into a coven in order to practice Once the craft moved over to the United States of America things began top change radically The first change as marked by the Susan B Anthony Coven founded by Z Budapest represented the feminine version of the craft which is wholly Goddess centered This is called Dianic Wicca In terms of participation Wicca and Paganism have become les coven centered andfestival and group oriented There was also a movement away from tradition towards being eclectic but now that is reversing The book not only covers the current trends in Wicca but also covers the history of witches and how people perceive them The most noted controversy regards the birth of the craft Some people say that Gerald made it all up and that there were no witches stretching back to the beginning of time Some like Margerite Murray feel that it was around In ancient sources there are mentions of Witches working Hekate and ISIS Practitioners like Isaac Bonewits feel that there may have been pocket of groups that worshipped the Goddess, but not certainly all of them The medieval witches may have been a figment of the inquisitors imagination In any case there are three types of witches The first type of witch is the Family Traditional Witch Many of these are non coven based and very individualistic Their practice is not entirely pure as it has been contaminated with modern ideas The second type is the gothic witch who model themselves after the Inquisition witch The third is the modern Wiccan In terms of Wiccans there are many branches or schools The first is obviously the Gardnerians and then the Alexandrians But there have cropped up other types like the Algards which combine the first two There are also Georgians and they have their own way of doing rituals Other orders that are new creations have popped up in San Francisco like the New Order of the Reformed Golden Dawn One of it s founder Aidan Kelley has since moved back to Catholocism He believes the Goddess most pof the Pagans are worshipping is actually the Virgin Mary She has the compassion In addition to covering witchcraft there is also coverage of Druidic and Egyptian orders in the Pagan Sphere Some have found their own path to the Gods like the Church of Aphrodite and Ferfaria The Church of All Worlds was creted with inspiration from Stranger in a Strange Land By and large Pagan if they wish to call themselves tend to be rather well educated city dwellers who have a strong ecological bent Many will want to use the term witch due to negative connotations while other s wish to reclaim the word Some believe in secrecy to avaoid trouble while others are out in the open about things A great book for those just getting started into paganism Now Fully Revised The Classic Study Of Neo Paganism Almost Thirty Years Since Its Original Publication, Drawing Down The Moon Continues To Be The Only Detailed History Of The Burgeoning But Still Widely Misunderstood Neo Pagan Subculture Margot Adler Attended Ritual Gatherings And Interviewed A Diverse, Colorful Gallery Of People Across The United States, People Who Find Inspiration In Ancient Deities, Nature, Myth, Even Science Fiction In This New Edition Featuring An Updated Resource Guide Of Newsletters, Journals, Books, Groups, And Festivals, Margot Adler Takes A Fascinating And Honest Look At The Religious Experiences, Beliefs, And Lifestyles Of Modern America S Pagan Groups It s important to get the most currently updated version I found the references section to be one of the most useful It s not a how to book, or a B.O.S, it sof a social study of paganism, the culture, history, beliefs, etc It s definitely a worthwhile read, but it can be a difficult read There is a lot of useful information to be found in it As I said before, definitely get the most updated version you can find. This gets 5 stars for influence.A couple of years prior to this read I had a spontaneous spiritual emergency as I came out of a meditation sitting in the sand at Alki Beach in Seattle.I was familiar by this time with Starhawk and Reclaiming and had met people at the pagan bookstores and had taken a class or two with some pagans.This book was a matter of fact reading about who s who in the pagan subculture, some history and an introduction to paganism in general I liked that it was a survey of a number of paths I started to get the sense of pagan life as a normative place space For some reason this was important to me at the time The info is dated by now but it was a great intro to the evolution of neo pagan community.In that same I met the pagans at the Unitarian Universalist Church north of the UW in Seattle and I joined their pagan group CUUPs and would support that venue for the next 10 years.Mike This is the 2006 revision of a book I first read in 1984 It s a book that stayed with me in the back of my head through thirty odd years of spiritual dabbling and wandering and, given where I am now, has an additional fascination What strikes me most is how the tone of the book feels so muchpersonal than it did when I was 22 It s not an academic tome though the research is thorough, the biases are clearly and reflexively pointed out and Adler goes to great trouble to present alternative points of view Today, I d say it s a useful counterpoint to Ronald Hutton s The Triumph of the Moon, offering the US version of neo pagan history but with an insider s access It s also full of common sense and good humour Adler values the absurd and no time for power trips If I feel she s sometimes a little kinder than she needs to be, that s probably my own bias showing through Sadly, Margot Adler died in 2014 The table I ll need for my Great Heavenly Dinner Party of people I wish I d met when they were alive keeps getting bigger and bigger. Adler s Drawing Down the Moon is a fantastic anthropological overview of Neo pagan religions in the United States since the 1970s Written in a very engaging and approachable fashion, the prose is simple yet sufficient Adler is able to remain objective whilst analyzing various aspects of the Craft and other pagan traditions despite being involved with them herself She also frequently acknowledges where the study, conclusions, or data may be lacking finesse Overall, a monumental piece of work in Pagan Studies and a fascinating read, highly recommend to anyone with any interest in the subject of Neo paganism and earth based religions. This kinda felt like reading an NPR episode, which is fitting because Adler was a host Sometimes the book dragged, but there were some really intriguing parts of the book, I particularly liked Adler s reflections, and the reflections and opinions of Devlin I read the most recent edition of Drawing Down the Moon, and I m glad I did, as it would have been really out dated had I read a second hand edition This edition allows the reader to see where Adler views the craft in 2006, compared to where it was in earlier editions I would say this is required reading, as it s a good reflection of the craft and where it was at a certain point in time. I am sure there are far better reviews out there for this book than I could write but I ll say that you can believe the hype about this book I had heard about this for many years but never actually took the time to read it and boy do I feel silly now after completing it This is probably one of the best resources for Pagans and non Pagans alike in terms of accurately representing the cultural resurgence of Goddess and Nature oriented religions After reading this I truly feel proud to call myself Neo Pagan as I feel a great deal of what I believe in was examined and put into real context in some shape or form throughout the text, most surprisingly that despite what I previously believed a very large group Neo Pagans share the same views of technology pro opposed to con as I do and simply seek to strike a balance between the natural and artificial I would highly insist that anyone serious about studying Pagan topics take the time to read this It may be large at over 600 pages but Margot Adler kept her chapters succinct and to the point and I feel little of this book was filler content. A clearly written history of paganism in America, including witches, druids, heathens and the whole ungainly lot of us The book was first published in 1979, and has undergone a couple major updates I could wish that the revisions were better incorporated, but it would be almost impossible to keep up with the rate of change in the pagan community She s made a fair attempt to keep current still, half the internet links I looked up are now defunct Some of the groups she covers in depth sound pretty obscure and eccentric to me Feraferia Never heard of it before She s made an attempt in this edition to catch up on bigger trends, like internet groups and the growing number of solitaries, but I m hoping that some day she does a real rewrite, to bring this ambitious work truly up to date.The style here is journalistic and business like There s a little personal history as well.This isn t a book that s likely to help you find your path, and really there are enough books attempting that already This will simply tell you where it all came from And it does so, better than any book or other reference I ve yet found.