DRAWING DOWN THE MOON: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today by Margot Adler

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A smorgasbord of half-baked religions for the Age of Aquarius: if you don't care for the Church of All Worlds or the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD), maybe you'll like the Hassidic Druids. Adler is a journalist and reporter for National Public Radio. This long, ungainly book recounts her quest for enlightenment in dozens of churches, covens, and communes scattered across the land, as well as her interviews of witches, neo-pagan gurus, and well, freaks. These people, some of whom have names like Gwydion Pendderwen, Lady Cybele, and Michael of Colorado, are an antic lot, and so chaotically individualistic that they're hard to characterize. But they do share a mostly sane revulsion with the horrors of modern industrial society and a longing for harmony with nature. They desperately want the satisfactions of liturgy and religious life in common, but they reject any kind of biblical religion because of its anthropocentric bias (cf., the Lynn White thesis that God's injunction in Genesis to ""fill the earth and subdue it"" is the root of our ecological crisis). So far, so good. But if they start off from the spiritual hunger and alienation practically everyone has or senses nowadays, they get lost in eccentric flights of ""creativity"" and end up in sterile Bohemianism. Picturesque home-made rituals, with lots of incense, wine, and nakedness, are fine if you like that sort of thing, but what about the world outside, with its PCBs, neutron bombs, and gross injustice? Adler's moonstruck votaries of Mother Earth, apolitical, anti-intellectual, and fervently escapist as most of them are, don't seem to care. Too sloppy and impressionistic to be good sociology, too lumpy and humorless to be good literature, Adler's honest reportage sheds light nonetheless on the apparently infinite variety of American religious experience.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1979
Publisher: Viking