On All Hallows Day, 1979, two books were published that have proven to be classic studies of modern paganism/Wicca/goddess spiritualities. The Spiral Dance, written by Starhawk, and Drawing Down the Moon are staples in any Wiccan or neo-pagan library.
Much has happened in the twenty five years since the first edition of this book, some of it good for those perceived to have an alternative spirituality (at least the part that came before Reagan). Adler updates the information contained four sections: Background, Witches, Other Neo Pagans, and The Material Plane. Three appendices are included; one is entitled “Scholars, Writers, Journalists, and the Occult,” in which the author reports the good, the bad, and the biased. The second appendix lists five poems and rituals to give the reader a taste of pagan literature. The last appendix takes up more than one hundred pages, detailing an explosive list of on and offline resources for the modern pagan.
Adler is very good about presenting views that differ from her own or even that held by most practitioners of the Craft. Many dabblers will go nearly crossed eyed sorting through the differences between the traditionalists, the Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc. etc. branches of Wicca. Adler goes on to discuss the Pagan reconstructions and their efforts to make new pre-Christian religions. Her bibliography is invaluable for anyone wanting to further explore any topic she covers.
This is best viewed as a resource guide and as a history of the Wicca/Pagan movement in the United States. Wiccan/Pagan spirituality is so diverse that it can be difficult to sort through the various branches of community; Adler’s book is a good starting place. It is a classic piece likely to be included on the bookshelf of anyone interested in this spirituality.