Drawing Down the Moon/Sun

Drawing Down the Moon/Sun

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In Witchcraft, the Moon is associated with the Goddess and the Sun with the God. The Moon and Sun are not worshiped as deities, but are seen simply as symbols for them. This is the case in many civilizations, although the perceived gender of the Moon may vary. The Egyptian god Thoth was God of the Moon. In Greenland the Moon is male, as it is to the Bushman. In the Aleutian myth "Sun Sister, Moon Brother," the Moon is male, as in a similar myth found among South American Indians. Yet in many Native American stories (Apache, for example), the Moon may be male in one instance and female in another. To the Cora Indians of north Mexico, the Moon and the Sun are each both male and female.

In Wicca, however, the Moon is always associated with the Goddess and the full of the Moon is looked upon as an appropriate time to speak with her. This is done in the ritual known as "Drawing Down the Moon" (called "Calling Down the Moon" in some traditions). At that rite, the High Priest kneels before the High Priestess and invokes the Goddess, lightly touching her body at certain points with the tip of the wand as he speaks:

I invoke and call upon Thee, O Mighty Mother of us all, Bringer of all Fruitfulness. By seed and by root I invoke Thee; by stem and by bud I invoke Thee; by leaf, flower and fruit I invoke Thee; by life and love I invoke Thee and call upon Thee to descend into the body of this Thy High Priestess and Servant (Name) here. Speak with her tongue, touch with her hands, kiss with her lips, that Thy servants may be fulfilled.

Thus the Goddess is asked to enter the body of the priestess and to speak through her, although the actual wording may differ among traditions. Another difference found is that, in Dianic and similar traditions, the invocation may be performed by another female, not necessarily a male priest.

When invoked, the Goddess descends into the body of the high priestess and speaks through her. When this happens, it is not unusual for the coven members to see actual physical changes take place in the priestess. The Goddess will speak, and the priestess may or may not be aware of what is being said. It is much like the channeling performed by spiritualist mediums, acting as direct voice conduits for departed spirits. There is also a parallel with Voodoo and the possession of select worshipers by the Voodoo gods, the loa, who speak directly through them to the other assembled followers.

Sometimes, however, although invoked, the Goddess does not appear and possess the priestess. When this happens, the priestess will recite what is known as "The Charge," a poetic address that was written by Doreen Valiente for Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows, based on the segment in Leland's Aradia, Gospel of the Witches.

The ritual concludes with the High Priest giving the High Priestess the Five Fold Kiss and describing a pentacle with the wand. A similar ritual called Drawing Down the Sun is also performed by some groups with the male officiating and the male energy of the god being invoked.