Z Budapest
Z Budapest

Z Budapest, founding mother of Dianic Wicca

Zsuzsanna  Budapest, born Zsuzsanna “Z” Emese Moukesay in Budapest, Hungary, entered this world on January 30, 1940. Zsuzsanna  Budapest is her pen name and the name by which most everyone knows her.

Zsuzsanna’s mother, Masika Szilagyi, was a key inspiration for Zsuzsanna’s life’s work. Masika, was a medium and a practicing witch who supported her family with her art, as a sculptress. Masika's sculptures celebrated the Triple Goddess and the Fates aspects of feminine theology. Zsuzsanna grew up respecting and appreciating Mother Nature as a goddess. It is this influence which lead Zsuzsanna deep into a world of feminist spirituality and Dianic Wicca for which she would write several literary books of historical significance for the Women’s Rights Movement and Women’s Spirituality Movement.

The poverty of postwar Europe and its political oppression under Russian occupation, created a fierce political consciousness within Zsuzsanna. When the Hungarian Revolution broke out in 1956, she became one of the sixty-five thousand political refugees who left the country.

Zsuzsanna finished high school in Innsbruck, Austria, graduating from a bilingual gymnasium, and having won a scholarship to the University of Vienna. At the University of Vienna, she would go on to study languages.
In 1959, Zsuzsanna emigrated to the United States. There she studied at the University of Chicago, married, and gave birth to two sons. However, she later divorced as she came to a greater self-understanding and identity as a lesbian ; choosing to avoid the "duality" between man and woman.

While in Chicago, she also studied with The Second City, an improvisational theatrical school, which was the only one in the country at that time. Zsuzsanna began embracing her heritage and openly practicing her family's spiritual traditions, setting up altars in her home and in her backyard.
When Zsuzsanna entered her astrological Saturn cycle at the age of thirty, she became involved with the women's liberation movement in Los Angeles, California, and became an activist, staffing the Women's Center there for many years.

In the midst of this work, Zsuzsanna recognized a need for a spiritual dimension within the feminist movement, and started the Women's Spirituality Movement.

Zsuzanna Budapest

Z Budapest 2007

She is the founder the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number l, which is the first feminist witches' coven. This first feminist coven would  became the role model for thousands of other spiritual groups across the American nation and around the World.

Zsuzsanna’s first book, The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, was published in 1975, and then re-published in 1989, as The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries. This book was the first book to guide women into their own spiritual theology and goddess heritage.

In 1975, in Los Angeles, Zsuzsanna was arrested for the of reading tarot cards to an undercover policewoman. She was tried and convicted, which resulted in a $300 fine and probation, whereby she was forbidden to read tarot cards for others. So instead, Zsuzsanna began teaching tarot classes, in addition to courses in divination and witchcraft. The municipal code against fortune-telling was struck down nine years later.

Throughout her life, Zsuzsanna continued to lead rituals, conduct lectures at major universities, taught classes to thousands, given workshops around the world, written hundreds of articles, been published in many women's newspapers across the country, and written several books on the topic of Women’s Spirituality. She has lead the charge and influenced many of the teachers and writers in the Goddess Movement.

Zsuzsanna’s spiritual circles are exclusive to women only, and she prefers an equal mix of heterosexual and lesbian women, which she believes provides balance in her rituals. According to Z, "We have women's circles. You don't put men in women's circles - they wouldn't be women's circles any more. Our Goddess is life, and women should be free to worship from their ovaries."
Today Zsuzsanna Budapest lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has published 10 literary books, one play, and two CDs to her credits. She  continues to teach, give workshops and offer lectures. Zsuzsanna also continues to write her remaining books for the goddess movement. Zsuzsanna starred in her own cable TV show called 13th Heaven, and she continues to act as the director of the Women's Spirituality Forum, a nonprofit organization sponsoring a monthly lecture series in the Bay Area, offering spirituality retreats and annual spiral dances on Halloween.

In 2003, the California Institute of Integral Studies recognized Zsuzsanna Budapest’s contribution to the women's spirituality movement by honoring her as a Foremother of the Women's Spirituality Movement.

Gathering the Goddesses - Parts 1-6

Dianic Wicca sponsored by Cerridwen Sidhewolf