Aglaonice or Aganice of Thessaly (Ancient Greek : Ἀγλαονίκη, Aglaoníkē, compound of αγλαὸς (aglaòs) "luminous" and νίκη (nikē) "victory") was a Greek astronomer and thaumaturge of the 2nd or 1st century BC. She is mentioned in the writings of Plutarch and in the scholia to Apollonius of Rhodes as a female astronomer and as the daughter of Hegetor (or Hegemon) of Thessaly. She was regarded as a sorceress for (amongst other extraordinary feats) her (self-proclaimed) ability to 'make the moon disappear from the sky' (καθαιρεῖν τὴν σελήνην : kathaireĩn tìn selénen) which has been taken - first by Plutarch and subsequently by modern astronomers - to mean that she could predict the time and general area where a lunar eclipse would occur.
A Greek proverb makes reference to Aglaonice's alleged boasting: "Yes, as the Moon obeys Aglaonice".A number of female astrologers, apparently regarded as sorcerers, were associated with Aglaonice. They were known as the "witches of Thessaly" and were active from the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE.
In Plato's Gorgias , Socrates speaks of "the Thessalian enchantresses, who, as they say, bring down the moon from heaven at the risk of their own perdition."
Plutarch wrote that she was "thoroughly acquainted with the periods of the full moon when it is subject to eclipse, and, knowing beforehand the time when the moon was due to be overtaken by the earth's shadow, imposed upon the women, and made them all believe that she was drawing down the moon."
In the majority of lunar eclipses with which we are now familiar the moon does not seem completely to disappear - merely changing colour and assuming a tawny or coppery shade - yet in the descriptions of Aglaonice's eclipses there is no reference to any failures in which the moon was 'partially consumed' - rather the moon was 'completely devoured'. As Bicknell points out, had Aglaonice made her extravagant claim on occasions when the moon still remained partly visible, she would have excited in her (admittedly credulous) audience nothing but ridicule. Bicknell is extremely cautious in offering what is nonetheless a plausible explanation. He notes that, while an increase in particulate matter in the atmosphere as a result of major volcanic eruptions can result in short-term anomalous darkening of lunar eclipses, the dominant factor in regular, cyclical darkening is a combination of the influence of the 11-year solar cycle discovered by Danjonand expressed in the Danjon scale and 'long-term excursions (cycles) of solar activity' measurable over millennia. Study of the second (greater) cycle undertaken by J.A. Eddy reveals a 'Roman maximum', contributing to unusually dark lunar eclipses (Danjon number: 0) in the last two centuries before the Christian era - encompassing both the temporal 'window' during which Aglaonice could have been active and the time at which Plutarch wrote his accounts of her seeming sorcery.
Practitioners of the Wiccan religion reference indirectly the feats of Aglaonice in their ritual entitled Drawing down the Moon , whereby a priestess invokes the Triple Goddess. They claim that the source for this ritual is to be found in the body of lore entitled Vangelo recorded in Leland's Aradia .
And thus it came to pass one night, at the meeting of all the sorceresses and fairies, she (Aradia/Herodias) declared that she would darken the heavens and turn all the mice into stars
The phrase was also used as part of the title of the influential Wiccan text Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today by Wiccan priestess Margot Adler published in 1979.
One of the craters on Venus is named after Aglaonice.As "Aglaonice", she is a character in the Jean Cocteau film Orpheus , where she is a friend of Eurydice and leader of the League of Women. Aglaonice is a featured figure on Judy Chicago's installation piece The Dinner Party , being represented as one of the 999 names on the Heritage Floor.
The Charge of the Goddess is an inspirational text often used in the neopagan religion of Wicca. The Charge of the Goddess is recited during most rituals in which the Wiccan priest/priestess is expected to represent, and/or embody, the Goddess within the sacred circle, and is often spoken by the High Priest/Priestess after the ritual of Drawing Down the Moon.
Diana is a goddess in Roman and Hellenistic religion, primarily considered a patroness of the countryside, hunters, crossroads, and the Moon. She is equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, and absorbed much of Artemis' mythology early in Roman history, including a birth on the island of Delos to parents Jupiter and Latona, and a twin brother, Apollo, though she had an independent origin in Italy.
Dianic Wicca, also known as Dianic Witchcraft, is a neopagan religion female-centered goddess ritual and tradition. While some adherents identify as Wiccan, it differs from most traditions of Wicca in that only goddesses are honored.
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The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in Wicca and some related forms of Neopaganism. The term Horned God itself predates Wicca, and is an early 20th-century syncretic term for a horned or antlered anthropomorphic god partly based on historical horned deities.
Skyclad refers to ritual nudity in Wicca and Modern Paganism. Some groups, or Traditions, perform most or all of their rituals skyclad. Whilst nudity and the practice of witchcraft have long been associated in the visual arts, this contemporary ritual nudity is typically attributed to either the influence of Gerald Gardner or to a passage from Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, and as such is mainly attributed to the Gardnerian and Aradian covens.
Wicca, also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religion categorise it as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultist stream of Western esotericism. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices.
Aradia is one of the principal figures in the American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland's 1899 work Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, which he believed to be a genuine religious text used by a group of pagan witches in Tuscany, a claim that has subsequently been disputed by other folklorists and historians. In Leland's Gospel, Aradia is portrayed as a messiah who was sent to Earth in order to teach the oppressed peasants how to perform witchcraft to use against the Roman Catholic Church and the upper classes.
Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay is a Hungarian author, activist, journalist, playwright and songwriter living in America who writes about feminist spirituality and Dianic Wicca under the pen name Zsuzsanna Budapest or Z. Budapest. She is the founder of the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, which was founded in 1971 as the first women-only witches' coven. She founded the female-only type of Dianic Wicca.
Alexandrian Wicca or Alexandrian Witchcraft is a tradition of the Neopagan religion of Wicca, founded by Alex Sanders who, with his wife Maxine Sanders, established the tradition in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Alexandrian Wicca is similar in many ways to Gardnerian Wicca, and receives regular mention in books on Wicca as one of the religion's most widely recognized traditions.
Margot Susanna Adler was an American author, journalist, lecturer, Wiccan priestess, and New York correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR).
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today is a sociological study of contemporary Paganism in the United States written by the American Wiccan and journalist Margot Adler. First published in 1979 by Viking Press, it was later republished in a revised and expanded edition by Beacon Press in 1986, with third and fourth revised editions being brought out by Penguin Books in 1996 and then 2006 respectively.
The Rowan Tree Church is a Wiccan organization, legally incorporated in 1979. It is an Earth-focused network of Members dedicated to the study and practice of the Wiccan Tradition known as Lothloriën. Originally centered in Minneapolis beginning in the late 1970s, its main office is in Kirkland, Washington. The Rowan Tree Church maintains its network through newsletters, the internet and with an annual retreat. The Rowan Tree Church has an in-depth training program which leads to ordination. It has been publishing The Unicorn newsletter since 1977. Littlest Unicorn is published eight times a year for children and their parents. The church began around the work and teaching of Rev. Paul Beyerl in the mid-1970s.
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is a book composed by the American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland that was published in 1899. It contains what he believed was the religious text of a group of pagan witches in Tuscany, Italy that documented their beliefs and rituals, although various historians and folklorists have disputed the existence of such a group. In the 20th century, the book was very influential in the development of the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca.
Drawing down the Moon is a central ritual in 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 Goddess speaks through the High Priestess.
Phyllis Curott who goes under the craft name Aradia, is a Wiccan priestess, attorney, and author.
The history of Wicca documents the rise of the Neopagan religion of Wicca and related witchcraft-based Neopagan religions. Wicca originated in the early twentieth century, when it developed amongst secretive covens in England who were basing their religious beliefs and practices upon what they read of the historical Witch-Cult in the works of such writers as Margaret Murray. It was subsequently popularized in the 1950s by a number of figures, in particular Gerald Gardner, who claimed to have been initiated into the Craft – as Wicca is often known – by the New Forest coven in 1939. Gardner's form of Wicca, the Gardnerian tradition, was spread by both him and his followers like the High Priestesses Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone into other parts of the British Isles, and also into other, predominantly English-speaking, countries across the world. In the 1960s, new figures arose in Britain who popularized their own forms of the religion, including Robert Cochrane, Sybil Leek and Alex Sanders, and organizations began to be formed to propagate it, such as the Witchcraft Research Association. It was during this decade that the faith was transported to the United States, where it was further adapted into new traditions such as Feri, 1734 and Dianic Wicca in the ensuing decades, and where organizations such as the Covenant of the Goddess were formed.
Wiccan views of divinity are generally theistic, and revolve around a Goddess and a Horned God, thereby being generally dualistic. In traditional Wicca, as expressed in the writings of Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente, the emphasis is on the theme of divine gender polarity, and the God and Goddess are regarded as equal and opposite divine cosmic forces. In some newer forms of Wicca, such as feminist or Dianic Wicca, the Goddess is given primacy or even exclusivity. In some forms of traditional witchcraft that share a similar duotheistic theology, the Horned God is given precedence over the Goddess.
Neopaganism in the United States is represented by widely different movements and organizations. The largest Neopagan religious movement is Wicca, followed by Neodruidism. Both of these religions or spiritual paths were introduced during the 1950s and 1960s from Great Britain. Germanic Neopaganism and Kemetism appeared in the US in the early 1970s. Hellenic Neopaganism appeared in the 1990s.
Pierre Claveloux Davis, also known as Pete Pathfinder (1937-2014), was a religious figure in modern Paganism. He founded the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) in 1985, in Index, Washington, and served as its archpriest. He was also involved with several publications and related organizations. Davis advocated for Wicca and Paganism as an expert witness, and was part of a group of people who successfully petitioned for the pentacle to be available as a symbol used on U.S. veteran's headstones.