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Ch.10 Drawing Down the Moon (WMB 10.c)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @


In the early nineteenth century the German writer Goethe also referred to the practice of bringing down the moon in association with the Thessalian witches in his masterpiece Faust. His reference though was more negative in its nuances, and indicative of the anti-magick theme which runs through the whole work, when he said:

“by praying the moon to remain with her calm light in heaven and not to be jerked down by magic of Thessalian witch.”

However there was a practice which involved reflecting the full moon into a bowl or jug of water, and this may well have been what was referred to as drawing down the moon. The Greek poet Petronius has the character of a witch describe this in his play Satyricon, where she says:

“The image of the moon descending, brought down by my incantations.”

Aristophanes may also have been hinting at a form of reflection when he linked a mirror to the drawing down of the moon, when his character in the play The Clouds says of the drawing down the moon that he would:

“Then shut it up, as if it were a mirror, in a round bonnet box, and kept it there”

Whether the ancient drawing down the moon was cunning use of eclipses or a reflective technique, the manner in which Drawing Down the Moon is used in the modern Wiccan tradition would be more accurately described as invocation in the proper sense, i.e. of “calling into” which is derived from the Latin “in-vocare”.

The idea of assuming the qualities of a deity is not new, as can be seen from ancient Egypt where magicians would identify with deities to draw on their powers. The Egyptian papyri are full of such identifications, from the identification with Osiris to successfully join the gods in the afterlife recorded in the epic texts like the Papyri of Ani (commonly known as The Book of the Dead) to the huge range of spells recorded in works like The Leiden Papyrus. These spells often contained a combination of spoken word and action, in a manner similar to that seen in the Wiccan tradition millennia later. For example, in a spell identifying with Horus to protect the magician for the coming year, the magician would walk sunwise (deosil) around his house carrying a club saying:

“Retreat disease demons! No breeze will reach me so that passers by would pass on, to rage against my face. I am Horus who passes along the wandering demons of Sekhmet. Horus, sprout of Sekhmet! I am the unique one, the son of Bastet – I will not die on account of you!”[1]

[1] Ancient Egyptian Magickal Texts, Borghouts, 1978

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.



My name is Sorita d'Este

and this is my website and blog!  Thanks for visiting - I hope you are finding what you are looking for!


Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 


I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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