Budapest, Zsuzsanna E. 1940-
BUDAPEST, Zsuzsanna E. 1940-
(Zsuzsanna Emese Budapest)
PERSONAL: Born Zsuzsanna Mokcsay, January 30, 1940, in Hungary; immigrated to the United States, 1956; divorced; children: two sons. Education: Has studied improvisation. Religion: Wicca.
ADDRESSES: Home—Oakland, CA. Office—Women's Spirituality Forum, P.O. Box 11363, Oakland, CA 94611.
CAREER: Writer and lecturer. Bookstore owner, Venice, CA, beginning 1971; founder, Sisterhood of the Wicca and Susan B. Anthony coven, Venice, CA, 1971–79, moved center to Oakland, CA, beginning 1979. Founder, Women's Spirituality Forum; organizer, International Goddess Festival. Trainer of priestesses for Goddess ministries in the San Francisco area. Host of cable television program "13th Heaven."
MEMBER: Susan B. Anthony Coven No. 1 (high priestess).
Selene, the Most Famous Bull-Leaper on Earth, illustrated by Carol Clement, Diana Press (Baltimore, MD), 1976.
The Feminist Book of Light and Shadows, privately published, 1979, revised edition published as The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, Wingbow Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989, published as an e-book, 2003.
The Grandmother of Time: A Woman's Book of Celebrations, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1989.
Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1991.
The Goddess in the Office: A Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual Warrior at Work, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1993.
The Goddess in the Bedroom: A Passionate Woman's Guide to Celebrating Sexuality Every Night of the Week, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1995.
Summoning the Fates: A Woman's Guide to Destiny, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1998, published as an e-book, 2003.
(With Diana Paxson) The Celestial Guide to Every Year of Your Life: Discover the Hidden Meaning of Your Age, Conari Press (York Beach, ME), 2003.
Rasta Dogs, published as an e-book, 2003.
Founder of Wiccan newsletter Thesmorphia (originally Themis).
SIDELIGHTS: Zsuzsanna E. Budapest is one of the foremost figures in the realm of feminist spirituality. The Hungarian-born author has written several books on modern-day witchcraft, or Wicca, and the New Age cult of the Goddess. She left her native country shortly after the suppression of the 1956 revolt there, going first to Austria but eventually making her way to the United States, where she had been offered a scholarship at the University of Chicago. She married and had two children, but following the dissolution of her marriage, she moved to California. There she began to synthesize a philosophy of witchcraft that incorporated feminist sensibilities, which eventually became known as Dianic Wicca. She also founded the Sisterhood of the Wicca and the Women's Spirituality Forum, and acted as high priestess of the Susan B. Anthony coven of witches. She also opened a bookstore and began a newsletter to disseminate her ideas. Her first book, The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, which was later revised as The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, is accepted as a standard text for the practice of Dianic Wicca.
In the ensuing years, Budapest continued to focus her energies and her writing on sharing her woman-centered spiritual consciousness with others, as well as striving to bring Goddess-consciousness into main-stream feminism. In her view, female-oriented spirituality celebrates Mother Earth. She believes it is humanity's earliest religion, one associated with a peaceful era. The rise of men and patriarchal deities disrupted the peace of the Goddess, in her opinion. "I saw how naturally women pray to the moon, light candles, dance, make music, break bread, improvise," she told Jennifer Baumgardner in Ms. "I realized that this is our female religion, what we used to do for millennia."
Most of Budapest's books are directed toward a broad female audience, including women not familiar with the concepts of Wicca. In 1993, she published The Goddess in the Office: A Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual Warrior at Work. Dedicated to Anita Hill, the woman who testified about her sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas before his appointment to the Supreme Court, the book is intended to be a mixture of magic and common-sense advice. Budapest offers the reader ancient runes to battle technological tie-ups, herbs and spells to aid one's chances of a promotion, even advice on using a pig's tongue, a rusty nail, and a vial of urine to deal with harassment by unruly coworkers. Intended as light reading, many of her books also serve as "crash courses in goddess history, ancient mythology, contemporary feminist history, herbal medicine, folklore, and magic" according to Baumgardner, "all presented in a nonintimidating, easily digestible form."
Budapest is "the Julia Child of witchcraft," concluded Robin Bishop in the Whole Earth Review. In Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives, Budapest covers a variety of subjects, from dream interpretation to the politics of food. "There's a lot of heft to this book," said Bishop, who also described Grandmother Moon as a "complex and artful garland of stories and philosophical musings." Reviewing The Grandmother of Time: A Woman's Book of Celebrations in Whole Earth Review, Jennifer Roberts called it a "lovingly crafted and passionate book" that nourishes the soul with inspiration for bringing "ecstasy and revelry into our lives."
In addition to writing, Budapest also lectures and conducts seminars on various aspects of feminist spirituality, and is the impetus behind the International Goddess Festival, which draws women from all corners of the globe together in California for one weekend every year.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 5th edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Religious Leaders of America, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Library Journal, March 1, 1993, Ravonne A. Green, review of The Goddess in the Office: A Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual Warrior at Work, p. 82.
Ms., March-April, 1995, Jennifer Baumgardner, "Bold Type: Witchy Woman," p. 73.
New Republic, August 3, 1992, Mary Lefkowitz, review of The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, pp. 29-33.
Wall Street Journal, February 26, 1993, L. A. Winokur, review of The Goddess in the Office, p. B1.
Whole Earth Review, spring, 1992, Jennifer Roberts, review of The Grandmother of Time, p. 39, Robin Bishop, review of The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, p. 40, Robin Bishop, review of Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives, p. 40.
Z. Budapest Home Page, http://www.zbudapest.com (August 27, 2004).