Drawing down the Moon (also known as drawing down the Goddess) is a ritual central to many contemporary Wiccan traditions. During the ritual, a coven's High Priestess enters a trance and requests that the Goddess or Triple Goddess, symbolized by the moon, enter her body and speak through her. The High Priestess may be aided by the High Priest, who invokes the spirit of the Goddess.
During her trance, the High Priestess speaks and acts as the Goddess.
The ritual through historyIn contemporary traditions, some solitary Wiccans also perform the ritual, usually within a circle and performed under the light of a full Moon. The solitary will stand in the Goddess Pose (both arms held high, palms up, body and arms forming a 'Y') and recite a charge, or chant.
The name most likely comes from a depiction of two women and the moon on an ancient Greek vase, believed to date from the second century BCE.
In classical times, ancient Thessalian witches were believed to control the moon, according to the tract: "If I command the moon, it will come down; and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head; and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight."
Though a number of Wiccan traditions may practice a variation of the ritual, the modern form likely originated in Gardnerian Wicca, and is considered a central element of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan ceremonies. During the modern rite, the High Priestess may recite the Charge of the Goddess, a poem written by Doreen Valiente, High Priestess in the Gardnerian tradition.