Written and compiled by George Knowles
is a hereditary witch of Hungarian descent, an American author and media
personality who writes predominantly on women's spirituality.
1971 she founded the Dianic Wicca tradition of witchcraft, which led to the
formation of the “Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One”.
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
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.
It is thanks to
Zsuzsanna efforts that today all psychics and divination readers can freely
practice their trades.
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
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.
Book of Lights and Shadows, 1975
The Holy Book
of Women’s Mysteries,
The Goddess in
the Office, 1993
The Goddess in
the Bedroom, 1995
Wisdom (with Diana Paxson),
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” - http://wicca.zbudapest.com/
My grateful thanks to Zsuzsanna
who has verified and corrected to above in a recent personal email.
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
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
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 Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
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)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild 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 / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna 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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