In more recent centuries writers made a point of explaining the connection with predictive astronomy and the occasion of eclipses. Thus in A New Pantheon written by Samuel Boyse in 1753 we find footnoted:
"Aglonice, a Thessalian, being acquainted with the cause and time of eclipses, gave out, upon their approach, that she was going by her enchantments to draw down the Moon to the Earth, at the same time directing the Thessalian Women to join her in making a hideous noise, to cause her to reascend. Taking the hint from this, they no sooner perceived the beginning of an eclipse, than they made a clattering noise with pans and kettles, and such like instruments to prevent her (the Moon) hearing the incantations of the Thessalian sorceress."
Another interesting reference to the practice of drawing down the moon can be found in the Mythology and Fables of the Ancients, by Antoine Banier, in 1739:
"The Priests instituted for that purpose, invented Stories, and published Apparitions of their pretended Deities, to keep up thereby a gainful Worship. They made People believe, for example, that Diana had fallen in love with Endymion, and that the cause of her Eclipses, was owing to the Interviews she had with her Gallant on the Mountains of Caria; but as ill luck would have it, these Amours could not last for ever, and this put them upon the hard shift of accounting for her Eclipses another way. They gave out that Sorceresses, especially those of Thessaly, (where poisonous Plants were more common, by reason of the foam of Cerberus had dropt there, when he was brought from Hell, according to another Fable) had power by their Enchantments to draw down the Moon to Earth.”
The association with the act of drawing down the moon and lunar eclipses is further emphasised in the book The British Poets published in 1822. Here we find a note saying:
"It was related in an ancient legend, and believed by popular superstition, that enchantresses used to draw down the moon by their sorceries. The witches of Thessaly, in particular, were said to have possessed extraordinary powers of this kind; and among others, Aglonice, the daughter of Hegemon. The true meaning of the story is, that she, being skilful in astrology, was enabled to foretell when the eclipses of the moon were to happen; on which account she was supposed, by the ignorant people among whom she lived, to bring to pass the alarming phenomenon which, in fact, she only predicted. This woman was involved in misfortunes; for killing one of her domestics, and being prosecuted for her crime, she gave rise to the saying, 'They draw down the moon:’ to denote unfortunate persons. The ancients believed implicitly in the extraordinary powers of sorcery. We find in the classics innumerable passages that refer to the force of magickal incantation, to draw down the moon from her sphere. This was done to favour those rites which were supposed to require an hour of solemn darkness, or the ascent of departed shades and demons, who were thought to have strong objections to the glare of light."
George Granville Lansdowne has his character Arcabon in The British Enchanters or No Magic Like Love a dramatic poem published in 1732 speak saying:
"Ah there's the fatal wound,
Which tears my heart-strings - but he shall be
Yes, ye infernals, if there's power in art (found)
These arms shall hold him, as he grasps my heart,
Shall I, who can draw down the Moon, and keep
The stars confin'd, enchant the boist'rous deep,
Bid Boreas halt, make hills and forest move,
Shall I be made a whining fool to love?"
This is an intriguing piece, especially in that he specifically mentions Boreas, who is also uniquely mentioned at times in the early Wiccan tradition as part of the invocation of the guardians of the watchtowers.
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.