The moon is a sacred symbol to Wiccans and Pagans as it is imbued with feminine energy and plays a central role in honoring the goddess. The moon is a physical representation of the goddess, her energy, and the divine feminine. While there are many beautiful and powerful rituals within Wiccan and Pagan practices, drawing down the moon is one of the most sacred and magnificent rituals for practitioners. While Sabbats celebrate the wheel of the year turning and Esbats pay tribute to the phases of the moon, drawing down the moon is a ritual in which the practitioner melds with the divine allowing them to talk and interact with the goddess herself.
What is Drawing Down the Moon?
Traditional Wiccan and pagan rituals begin with a grounding followed by calling the quarters, casting the circle, inviting the deity into the circle to help with or bless magickal work, and then the elements are released and the circle is closed. But drawing down the moon is vastly different. While sometimes the traditional structure of the ritual remains, drawing down the moon begins with the presence of the goddess and ends when Her energy is no longer present. The major difference in drawing down the moon versus a traditional ritual is the practitioner’s ability to connect and directly interact with the divine. In a traditional ritual, the deities are called into the circle and have minimal contact and interaction with the participants. In drawing down the moon, the goddess uses one of the practitioners as a vessel to communicate and interact with the other practitioners.
During the ritual, one of the practitioners, usually the high priestess, invokes the goddess directly into herself. The high priestess does this by entering a deep meditative, almost trance like state where she opens her physical and mental self to possession by the goddess. The high priestess enters this state as the other members of the coven recite an incantation, often the Charge of the Goddess, welcoming the goddess into their circle.
Once the goddess fills her mortal vessel, there are generally two possible outcomes. In the first, the goddess is able to literally speak through the high priestess. When the goddess speaks through the high priestess, it may come as a monologue, to answer questions, or make predictions. The message can be direct, full of imagery, prose, or lyrical. Whatever form the message takes, it is inspiring and uplifting allowing those present to look inside a bit deeper than normal.
The energy and power of the goddess is literally drawn into the high priestess. Drawing down the moon is a way for practitioners to make direct contact with the goddess through ritual possession. In drawing down the moon, practitioners are able to be in the same room with the divine, to feel Her presence, to interact, be given advice, and connect to the power of feminine energy. During this interaction, many practitioners feel extreme emotions and will spontaneously laugh or cry. The energy of the goddess lingers for quite some time after the rite and many practitioners report feeling a sense of calmness and clarity for several days after the experience.
When should the ritual be performed?
Drawing down the moon is best on the night of a full moon. If this is not possible, it can also be performed on the night immediately before the full moon. However, if there is a specific moon phase related to the focus and intent of the ritual then it should be used instead of a full moon. If the intent of the rite is to release, then it is best to draw down a waning moon.
Ideally, the ritual would be performed outside; however, modern times often call for rituals to take place indoors due to bad weather or nosy neighbors. While the ritual can be done at any time during the year, it is best held during Samhain. Samhain a major Sabbat, the highest of all holy days. Situated between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, it is the time of year when the veil between the worlds becomes thin and divination is at its peak. The thinning of the veil allows spirits and souls to move about between the worlds. But it isn’t just our loved ones that can return in their ethereal forms. The goddess has the power during Samhain to move into the realm of humans and possess those that perform the rite of drawing down the moon.
Samhain is the night when our ancestors are remembered, but for Wiccans it is the time when the Sun god has vanished. During this time, the Sun god has perished and awaits reincarnation at the winter solstice where he will be reborn. The moon, the goddess, and the feminine reign during the new year. Samhain is a time for intense personal reflection, for looking deep within our selves to find truth. It is a time of divination which is ideal for drawing down the moon.
The practice of drawing down the moon has sadly fallen to the side for many Wiccan and Pagan practitioners. Previously, it was a central part of Wiccan and Pagan rites, but many modern covens often leave this practice out in their worship. Drawing down the moon provides a host of benefits to those who embark upon this ritual. It empowers practitioners and allows them to heal from trauma. It brings forth courage and gives practitioners a safe secure space to let go of fear. It transforms negativity by increasing the sense of purpose, community, and personal joy. Drawing down the moon is an intense experience that requires a lot of hard magickal work. It is not well suited for open, public rituals as it can produce overwhelming experiences for all of those involved. But it is a wonderful, magickal practice that can be life changing in a coven that is ready for this level of magick.