Merry we meet.     Merry we meet.     Merry we meet.     Merry we meet.






Zsuzsanna Budapest



Written and compiled by George Knowles

Zsuzsanna Budapest is a hereditary witch of Hungarian descent, an American author and media personality who writes predominantly on women's spirituality.  In 1971 she founded the Dianic Wicca tradition of witchcraft, which led to the formation of the “Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One”She is also the director of the "Women’s Spirituality Forum" located in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

Born Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay in Budapest, Hungary on the 23rd January 1940, her mother Masika Szilagyi was a psychic medium and a practicing witch who supported the family as a ceramics artist and sculptress.  Masika’s work was Goddess inspired, she used ancient motifs such as the tree of life, flowers and other nature based symbols to decorate her works.  As a practicing witch she used simple trance magic induced by chants and rhymes, as well as using herbs and spells for practical uses.  She brought up her daughter to respect and appreciate nature as the Mother Goddess.

Zsuzsanna claims her family kept an Ancestor Book dating back to the year 1270, in it was listed the births and deaths of all her past family members.  She also claims that many of her family had been healers, indeed her grandmother Ilona had been an herbalist and naturalist healer and her step-father a doctor.  As according to tradition, while she was a child her mother taught and passed on to her the family lore and secrets of the craft.  At the age of 12 Zsuzsanna met a 14-year-old boy called Tom, and knew instinctively they would marry later in life, but circumstances at the time dictated they should part.

In Hungary at that time the privations of post war Europe followed by the political oppression of Russian occupation had created an ugly mood of unrest and rebellion throughout the country.  On the 23rd of October 1956 that mood erupted into a violent uprising and all across Hungary protesters clashed with state authorities.  The Red Army were sent in and within a few days ruthlessly crushed the rebellion, but the cost was great, at least 2,000 Hungarians and 640 Soviet soldiers died in the conflict.  Soviet reprisals followed:  about 300 revolutionaries were executed and another 22,000 sentenced to prison terms.  Zsuzsanna along with some 200,000 Hungarians, mostly young workers and students like herself, fled the country as political refugees.

Soviet tank in occupied Hungary

After settling in Austria, Zsuzsanna continued her high school education in Innsbruck and graduated from a bilingual gymnasium (a German or Scandinavian secondary school that prepares students for university).  She then won a scholarship to the University of Vienna where she studied languages.  Having been separated during the Hungary uprising, Zsuzsanna was reunited with her childhood sweetheart Tom, when in 1958 through a family contact he was able to relocate her in Austria.  Soon after they were engaged.

In 1959 Zsuzsanna and her fiancé immigrated to the United States where she was awarded a scholarship at the University of Chicago.  Just three weeks after their arrival she married Tom, and during the following two years gave birth to two sons Laszo and Gabor.  Zsuzsanna studied at “The Second City” an improvisational theatrical school from where she learned the skills she would later use to conduct rituals and train Priestesses.  By this time she was already improvising and practicing her family’s tradition as a solitary witch, using a make shift alter in the backyard of her home to worship the Goddess.

In 1964 Zsuzsanna moved the family to New York were they settled in Port Washington, Long Island.  While there Zsuzsanna enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Tom took a teaching job as a mathematics professor.  By this time however, Zsuzsanna had noticed how women in America were being treated to a similar regime of oppression as she had experienced in Hungary.  Women were treated much as chattel, mothers at home and slaves in the kitchen, none were treated as equal to men in the work place.  By 1970 her marriage to Tom was over and ended in divorce.

Zsuzsanna moved to California where she became involved with the women’s liberation and feminist movements in Los Angeles.  She started work at an Abortion Clinic and Women’s Center, and soon became an activist leader on women’s issues.  However she saw a need to develop a female centered theology that would not only help women, but also encourage woman to participate in a religion that combined empowerment with a Goddess centered spirituality.  Drawing on her family heritage and her own improvisational skills, Zsuzsanna brought together six female friends and began celebrating the sabbat rituals in her home.  This led to the founding of the first women’s only coven during the winter solstice of 1971, named after one of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement and called:  “The Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One”.

As word about her rituals and women only coven became known, more and more women wanted to join and participate.  As the coven grew, her home could no longer accommodate their expanding membership, so they began to celebrate openly on the beach and then later on a mountaintop in Malibu.  Zsuzsanna called her blend of ritual and magic “Dianic Wicca”, which was based on her own family tradition of ritual and magic as she had learned it from her mother.

Over the years as coven hived of coven, and sister covens spread across the country, Dianic Wicca became a major force in supporting modern day feminist values in the rapidly expanding feminist and witchcraft movements.  For a time in the early 1970 Dianic Wicca became synonymous with “radical lesbianism”, however Dianic Wicca is not about lesbianism, its main focus is about women’s spirituality.  While lesbians are included in the mix, so are bisexual and heterosexual women, and all participate and contributed to the main focus of the tradition “spirituality”.  Zsuzsanna’s dream is the revival of a Women’s Mystery tradition for the benefit of all women.

As they evolved Dianic Wiccans followed a similar pattern to traditional Wiccans in that they both attend festivals and celebrated nature in their monthly Sabbat and Esbat rituals, but they differ in a number of their beliefs and practices.  The main difference being that Dianic Wiccans worship only the Goddess and their covens are strictly women only.

In traditional Wicca there is normally a year and a day wait period before a person is allowed to join a coven proper, but in Dianic Wicca new women allowed to worship with them right away, even though not yet initiated.. In traditional covens a High Priestess and Priest lead each ritual and are looked upon as elders of the craft or coven.  The same is true for Dianic covens, minus the High Priest.

Dianic Wiccans use much the same rituals as do traditional Wiccans, but these are adapted to suit their own needs and practices.  During the “Drawing Down the Moon” ritual, traditionally a man draws down the moon on a woman who is then assumed to hold the power of the Goddess.  In Dianic Wicca, a woman draws down the moon on herself and then shares the power of the Goddess with all other members of the coven.

While Dianic Wiccans profess to conform with the Wiccan Rede:  An Harm None, Do What You Will”, contrary to traditional Wiccan practice, they are not adverse to working negative magic or binding spells if it be for positive ends, i.e. to relieve women from oppression, and more importantly to counter crimes of violence against women and aid in the capture of serial killers and rapists etc.

Zsuzsanna led the “Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One” for nearly 10 years, while at the same time teaching and initiating Priestesses.  She opened the first women’s spirituality shop called “The Feminist Wicca” in Venice, California, and self-published what was to become the classic textbook of Dianic Wicca:  The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows” (1975).  Later she sold the book to the publisher BookPeople (1989) who reissued it as “The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries” and then to Weiser Books (2007).


The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

In 1975 Zsuzsanna made headline news when an undercover policewomen arrested her for giving an unlawful Tarot Card reading.  She was charged under a municipal law prohibiting fortune telling.  When her case went to trial Zsuzsanna lost and received a $300 fine plus a period of probation, she was also forbidden to give any further readings.  Instead of doing reading herself, Zsuzsanna then started to teach Tarot reading classes and ran other courses in divination and witchcraft.  As a result of her trial, nine years later the old laws were finally repealed.  It is thanks to Zsuzsanna efforts that today all psychics and divination readers can freely practice their trades.

Ruth Barrett

In the early 1980’s health issues caused by the polluted air of Los Angeles, forced Zsuzsanna to sell her shop and turn over the “Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One” to Ruth Barrett another Priestess and leader.  She then moved to Oakland near San Francisco where the air quality was much better.  There she formed a new coven called the “Laughing Goddess”, but sadly this coven failed to succeed, due in part to conflicting internal politics.  Rather than start another coven, Zsuzsanna then returned to work as an author, speaker, teacher and media personality.

Today Zsuzsanna still lives in San Francisco and is the author of 10 books, one play and two CDs, as well as sponsoring the “Dianic University Online” an online school for Dianic Wicca and Goddess studies for women.  She continues to lead rituals and give lectures while teaching classes and presenting workshops, at the same time as writing articles and defending women’s issues in publications across the country.  She had hosted her own cable TV show called 13th Heaven” and is the director of the Women’s Spirituality Forum, a nonprofit religious and educational organization sponsoring online classes, monthly lectures, women’s spiritual retreats, goddess festivals and annual spiral dances on Halloween.

Over the years Zsuzsanna has influenced and inspired many other feminist teachers and writers in the Goddess movement.  One of her early pupils was Starhawk, who later became prominent as a woman’s leader and author in her own right.  In 2003, the California Institute of Integral Studies recognized Zsuzsanna’s contribution to the advancement of women’s spirituality, and honored her as a “Foremother” of the Women’s Spirituality Movement.  Indeed it was Zsuzsanna who created the Women’s Spirituality Movement.  Her vision for the future is one of “Global Goddess Consciousness”, acknowledging the oneness of all as children of one Mother, the planet Earth.

Her Books:

The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, 1975

The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, 1989

Grandmother Time, 1989

Grandmother Moon, 1991

The Goddess in the Office, 1993

The Goddess in the Bedroom, 1995

Summoning the Fates, 2003

Celestial Wisdom (with Diana Paxson), 2003

Rastadogs, 2003

Selene, 2004



Penguin Hutchinson Reference Library Copyright (c) 1996 Helicon Publishing and Penguin Books Ltd

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley Rabinovitch

The Witch Book - The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism  -  By Raymond Buckland

The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  - By Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft  - By Raven Grimassi

Drawing down the Moon  -  by Margot Adler

Dianic University Online”  -


  My grateful thanks to Zsuzsanna who has verified and corrected to above in a recent personal email.

Written and compiled on the 14th March 2008  ©  George Knowles


Best wishes and Blessed Be


Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


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About me:


My Personal Page My Place in England, UK / My Family Tree (Ancestry)



Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is WiccaWhat is Magick



Traditional Writings:


 Wiccan RedeCharge of the GoddessCharge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches ChantThe Witches CreedDescent of the GoddessDrawing Down the MoonThe Great Rite InvocationInvocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of ChivalryA Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColoursMagickal DaysStones and GemsElements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology)Esbats & Full MoonsLinks to Personal Friends & ResourcesWicca/Witchcraft ResourcesWhat's a spell?Circle Casting and Sacred Space /  Pentagram - PentacleMarks of a WitchThe Witches PowerThe Witches HatAn esoteric guide to visiting LondonSatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  /  Part 2 Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /  The History of ThanksgivingI have a Dream, the 1963 speach by civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King /  Auras by Graham Furnell - Part 1 and Part 2 /


Sabbats and Rituals:


Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:  Samhain / YuleImbolcOstara /  BeltaneLithaLammasMabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron MagickMirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrowFoxFrog and ToadsGoat / HoneybeeKangarooLionOwlPhoenixRabbits and HaresRavenRobin RedbreastSheep SpiderSquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar /  Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow /  Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  ElderAlso see:  The Willow Tree (Folk Music)


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


 Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:   / Apophyllite  / Amber AmethystAquamarineAragoniteAventurineBlack TourmalineBloodstoneCalciteCarnelianCelestiteCitrineChrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / FluoriteGarnet /  Hematite Herkimer DiamondLabradoriteLapis LazuliMalachiteMoonstoneObsidianOpalPyriteQuartz (Rock Crystal)Rose QuartzRubySeleniteSeraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodaliteSunstoneThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble




Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakeningThe Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murder by WitchcraftThe Fairy Witch of ClonmelA Battleship, U-boat, and a WitchThe Troll-Tear (A story for Children)Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-LanternThe Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras




Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Abramelin the MageAgrippaAidan A. KellyAlbertus Magnus “Albert the Great”Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” Alison HarlowAmber KAnna Franklin /  Anodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey  / Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite Austin Osman SpareBiddy EarlyBridget ClearyCarl Llewellyn WeschckeCecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey LelandCharles Walton /  Christina Oakley Harrington /  Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) /   Dion FortuneDolores Aschroft-NowickiDorothy MorrisonDoreen ValienteEdward FitchEleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” /  Dr. John Dee and Edward KellyDr. Leo Louis Martello /  Eliphas LeviErnest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry /  Fiona Horne /  Friedrich von SpeeFrancis Barrett /  Gerald B. GardnerGavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gwydion PendderwenHans Holzer /  Helen DuncanHerman Slater "Horrible Herman" /  Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" MurrellJanet Farrar & Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne John George Hohman /  John GerardJohn Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJohannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von EckartshausenLaurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis Spence /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General”Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata /  Monique Wilson the “Queen of the WitchesMontague SummersNicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellersMrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-RavenheartOld Dorothy ClutterbuckOld George Pickingill /   Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsusPatricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip Emmons Isaac Bonewits Philip HeseltonRaymond BucklandReginald ScotRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /  Rudolf Steiner /  Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & DruidsSabrina - The Ink WitchScott CunninghamSelena FoxSilver Ravenwolf /  Sir Francis DashwoodSir James George FrazerS.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  StarhawkStewart FarrarSybil LeekTed AndrewsThe Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather /  Thomas AdyVera Chapman /  Victor Henry AndersonVivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest



Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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