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

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


Bartholomew Iscanus, the Bishop of Exeter (1161-84) revealed his own knowledge of what would seem to be a cult of Diana in England when we find amongst the many superstitions he condemned the following:

“whosoever, ensnared by the Devil’s wiles, may believe and profess that they ride with countless multitudes of others in the train of her whom the foolishly vulgar call Herodias or Diana, and that they obey her behest. Whosoever has prepared a table with three knives for the service of the fairies, that they may predestinate good to such as are born in the house…”[1]

Here we find that Diana is linked to witchcraft, Herodias and fairies, more than seven hundred years before Leland published Aradia, in which we find “The Children of Diana or How the Fairies were born” as an appendix to the book, where Diana is considered to be the mother of the fairy folk:

“We are moon-rays, the children of Diana," replied one:--

"We are children of the Moon;

We are born of shining light;

When the Moon shoots forth a ray,

Then it takes a fairy's form.”

Considering the link between Diana and Herodias in this early writing, it is interesting that Leland should subsequently link Herodias to Aradia, the daughter of Diana. Diana’s popularity endured and she was referred to by a number of writers through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Italian philosopher and magician Giordano Bruno wrote in 1585 of the goddess Diana in his Heroic Furors:

“Diana is one, the entity itself, the entity that is truth itself, truth which is intelligential nature in which the Sun and splendour of higher nature shine, according to the distinction of unity between the generated and the generator, or the producer and the product.”

It is noteworthy that Christian anti-witch writings frequently singled out the goddess Diana for special attention as the goddess of the witches. This may well be because of the references to Diana in the New Testament, in Acts 19:

“19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

19:35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?”

[1] MSS Cotton. Faust. A. viii, fol. 32

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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