Budapest, Zsuzsanna

Budapest, Zsuzsanna (1940)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Zsuzsanna Mokcsay was born in Budapest January 30, 1940. She claims that many of her female ancestors were herbalists and her male ancestors bishops and military leaders. Zsuzsanna's mother, Masika, was a ceramics artist and trance medium. In her art, Masika often depicted the goddess.

Budapest says that, at age three, she experienced a psychic flash of her grandmother saying goodbye. According to Hungarian tradition, such a death apparition means that the departed will become the guardian spirit of the recipient. Bupdapest certainly feels that that has been the case throughout her life.

At age twelve, Budapest met Tom, a fourteen-year-old boy, and knew he would be her husband. But this was not to be until some years after the Hungarian revolt of 1956, which was suppressed by the Russians. During the revolt, Budapest and her mother made their way to Austria, where Tom finally located her. By the time she was eighteen, the two were engaged.

After Budapest won a scholarship to the University of Chicago, she and Tom moved there and were married. After ten years of marriage, and two children, the marriage broke up in 1970. Budapest hitchhiked to California, once again asking her dead grandmother for guidance. In Los Angeles she was drawn into the feminist movement, working on the staff of a local women's center. Dealing with what she described as "women's pain," she saw a need for a female-centered theology. On the winter solstice of 1971, she formed a coven with six friends and they began celebrating sabbats. They named the group the Susan B. Anthony Coven.

Word about the coven spread and for ten years Budapest led esbats and sabbats, initiating others and teaching women to connect with the goddess through nature. Budapest opened a store called The Feminist Wicca, in Venice, and self-published a book, The Feminist Book of Light and Shadows (1976), that became the basic text of Dianic Wicca. During the 1970s the Dianic Wicca movement grew and became a major force in modern Witchcraft. Other related covens sprung up in at least five other states.

In the early 1980s Budapest turned the coven over to others and moved to Oakland. She hosted a radio show in the Bay Area and became director of the Women's Spirituality Forum in Oakland. She organized lectures and workshops, retreats, festivals and conferences.

Unlike most Wiccans, Budapest does not hesitate to work negative magic if it is for positive ends. She will do what she calls hexing to stop perpetrators of crimes, especially crimes of violence against women. She has had some publicized successes with this.

Budapest's vision for the future, she says, is one of "Global Goddess Consciousness, acknowledging the oneness of all as children of one Mother, our beloved blue planet, the Earth."

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.