Overview of Dianic Feminist Wicca Witchcraft Tradition
Dianic Feminist Wicca/Witchcraft Tradition is woman and Goddess-centered denomination of the Neopagan “Old Religion.” The Dianic Tradition was founded by author, feminist activist and founder of the Women’s Spirituality Movement Zsuzsanna “Z” Emese Budapest in 1971, Venice Beach, California. (1)
On winter’s solstice in 1971, Z Budapest also established the first Dianic coven, called the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One. (1) This coven still exists to this day, and has expanded its influences globally as well as virtually with an internet presence within Z Budapest’s Dianic Wicca University Online (2), a Goddess blog (3) and a monthly e-zine called Goddess.(4)
From 1971 to 1980, Z Budapest served as the founder and high priestess of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One, but in 1980 she made the decision to moved from Venice Beach in southern California to Oakland in northern California. The position of High Priestess of the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One was ordained upon Ruth Barrett by Z Budapest.
Ruth soon renamed the coven to Moon Birch Grove, and then five years later renamed it again to Circle of Aradia; which still exists to this day. (5)
As perhaps the most world renown coven by name, the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One was resurrected by Z Budapest in 2007 and now has a global presence as both a live and virtual coven offering a Dianic Wicca Clergy Priestess Training program. (6)
Prior to 1980, there were no ordinations within the Dianic Tradition. But after Z Budapest had ordained Ruth Barrett, she realized that there were other worthy women who were creating Dianic communities following in her example and practicing her teachings.
Z decided to establish what has come to be known as “Queendoms.” Between 1980 and 2009 (to-date), Z Budapest has granted thirteen such Queendom High Priestess ordinations. Queendoms require that every ten years, each High Priestess must train and ordain at least one other High Priestess. Failure to do so results in the High Priestess losing her “crown” and she is no longer recognized as an active High Priestess by the lineages associated with Z Budapest. Several of these women did allow their crowns to lapse.
What about the others who claim they are the true Dianic tradition?
Z met Morgan McFarland back when the Women's Spirituality Movement was young, during the trip Z and Helen Beardwoman took across the United States. McFarland was never crowned and never ordained by Z Budapest. At the time she met Z, she had an active all-female coven practicing together in the state of Texas, but according to Z McFarland's husband was there too. McFarland, according to Z, practiced a blend of Dianic and Gardnarian traditions.
Morgan McFarland, took the Dianic tradition to a place it was never meant to go when she began admitting men into her worship space and classes. In fact, Morgan McFarland went so far as to ordain her husband into her version of the Dianic tradition, thus creating the beginnings of controversy and issues of separatism. Morgan McFarland then promptly divorced her husband, but he continued to teach and propagate his own brand of Dianic philosophies. Thus, the Morgan McFarland Dianic tradition is not the same as the Z Budapest Dianic tradition.
The result of the creation of the McFarland Dianic tradition has been that the original Dianic tradition has had to redefine itself to distance itself from theMcFarlands. Thus, you will see reference to the Feminist Wicca, Feminist Dianic, Feminist Tradition and Feminist Witchcraft, which are all the same as Z Budapest’s women-centered, all female Dianic tradition.
There also exists another Dianic tradition which admits men, which was founded by Ann Forfreedom in Oakland, California. This tradition has no known lineage to Z Budapest's Dianic tradition. Not surprisingly, this version of Dianic tradition has also been inflamitory with regards to seperatism and lesbianism.
All of which bring us to the next topic, which is that the Dianic tradition is not and never has been seperatist nor solely for lesbians. What it has been is an all female women-centered theology that focuses solely on women's mysteries. The Dianic acknowledge the existence of men's mysteries and encourage the men to embrace them.
Z Budapest's Dianic tradition is very specific on this topic. She can be quoted as stating, "We always recognize, when we say "Goddess," that She is the Life-giver, the Life-sustainer. She is Mother Nature." (7)
"There are only two kinds of people in the world: mothers and their children. Mothers can give life to each other as well as to men, who are not able to do the same for themselves. This constitutes a dependency upon the Female Life Force for life renewed, and was accepted naturally in ancient times by our ancient forebearers as a sacred gift of the Goddess. In patriarchal times this sacred gift was turned against women, and used to force them to give up roles of independence and power." (8)
"Our sons, our Sacred Children, were not raised as traitors [refernce to the word warlock], but as lovers of life, lovers of women, brothers or lovers to each other, helpers of the Goddess in the most essential skill of nurturing. Sons of the mothers in Goddess-worship became Kouretes, members of the Goddess-serving priesthood." (8)
Thus it was established by Z Budapest at the inception of the Dianic tradition, that there existed a counter-part all male tradition known as the Kouretes. The Dianic tradition does not espouse seperatism, instead it embraces the differences between the male and the female as given by the Goddess, Mother Nature.
Practicing Dianic Witchcraft does not preclude any woman from also participating with males under the auspicies of other traditions. The Dianic tradition simply stated, is a pure recognition of that which is all-female by those who are women-born-women within the sacredness of divine Goddess worship. Seperatism of any kind has no foundation within the original Dianic tradition as founded by Z Budapest.
1. Budapest, Zsuzsanna. The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2007, page xvi.
2. Dianic Wicca University Online (http://wicca.dianic-wicca.com)
3. Goddess blog (http:// the-goddess.net/goddess)
4. Goddess magazine (http://issuu.com/zbudapest/docs/goddess)
5. Falcon River (2004) The Dianic Wiccan Tradition. From The Witches Voice. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
6. Susan B. Anthony Coven Number One (www.dianic-wicca.com)
7. Budapest, Zsuzsanna. The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2007, page xvii.
8. Budapest, Zsuzsanna. The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2007, page 183.