Margot Adler

Margot Adler

Margot Adler

Margot Adler was a Wiccan priestess and the author of Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, first published in 1979 and revised in 1986, 1996, and 2000. She was also an NPR correspondent, and her book is a journalist’s account of the Neo-Pagan community, the breadth of which is only matched by the appeal of its style. Until Chas Clifton published Her Hidden Children in 2006, Adler’s book was really the only one of its kind on the subject. Drawing Down the Moon was published on the same day as Starhawk’s Spiral Dance. The two books are very different: where Starhawk’s book is visionary and poetic, Adler’s is factual and journalistic. But the two are often cited together as having the most influence on the development of Neo-Paganism.

Adler is the granddaughter of the psychologist, Alfred Ad­ler, who, along with Freud and Jung, was one of the founders of depth psychology. Her writing shows these influences. Drawing Down the Moon marked a shift in Neo-Pagans’ conception of reli­gious legitimacy, from one based on claims of historical continu­ity with the past to one based on Jungian psychological claims to universality:

“Much of the theoretical basis for a modern defense of pol­ytheism comes from Jungian psychologists, who have long argued that the gods and goddesses of myth, leg­end and fairy tale represent archetypes, real potencies and potentialities deep within the psyche, which, when al­lowed to flower, permit us to be more fully human. These ar­chetypes must be approached and ultimately reck­oned with if we are to experience the riches we have re­pressed. Most Jungians argue that the task is to unite these potentiali­ties into a symphonic whole.”

“The Jungian conception that images of divinity and the sa­cred are representative of archetypes within the Collec­tive Unconscious has given the neo-Pagan move­ment a conceptual framework within which it has been pos­sible to accommodate polytheistic religious be­lief.”

While it is a descriptive work, Drawing Down the Moon was also to have an important prescriptive effect on the development of Neo-Paganism for decades after its first publication.

 

 

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