Why am I a witch? By Zsuzsanna E. Budapest

Zsuzsanna E. Budapest is the founder of the Dianic tradition and the Women’s Spirituality Movement and is the author of seven books including Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries.

I was born to a witch mother, who happened to be an artist of sacred art, creating simple home altars that the peasants used in their “clean” room; used only on special occasions. We made our living from selling these Madonna’s with child, Triple Goddess altars. Goddess loving, primitive city folk and country folks bought them to pray in front of. Her art re-inspired an ancient pagan faith. Mother’s sacred art was legendary. Nobody ever bought an image of a male saint or even St. Joseph to pray in front of. When the hardships were upon Hungarians, they turned to the great Mother. Our pre-Christian Boldogassznony (Glad Woman).

All this happened during the so called Communists occupation, which lasted many decades. I grew up in a city that was filled with statues of the Goddesses and Dianads. With all the churches we have in Hungary, not one of them is dedicated to Jesus Christ, but they are dedicated to his mother Goddess, Mary and her relatives; St. Ann, St. Kathryn, St. Elizabeth (a homegrown saint), along with St. Margaret.

During the bombing, much of this art was destroyed, but enough of them remained to pass on to the new generation the message: We stand proud on our past, we knew once  beauty and civilization.

We celebrated the female God in stone and canvas, worshipping our own  Great Mother. The Russians had left most of the art alone. When the war broke out, I was only one year old. Soon after the carpet bombing flew over my house. Our entire floor was destroyed, and thankfully not with us in it.

This was a time when there was no food to eat. Stores all bombed down or closed. Wars bring dirty water, intestinal problems, you run out of food; no bread and no protein. War brings famine, disease, and death. We ate the dead horses off the street. Grandmother died of hunger. Bless her loving sweet face. She saved an apple underneath her pillow, for my birthday.

Mother then found a nunnery in Pecel and brought me there to live… and eat; only the Christians had food during the postwar.

For the first time, I was enjoying a spiritual lifestyle; mass at seven a.m., prayers to the Lady at five p.m. daily, and nuns dressed in exotic garbs. They wore many skirts and impossible hats like the flying nun. The nuns found me very lovable, but they beat up my best friend Eva quite often. She too asked questions they couldn’t handle, but I was a paying student and she wasn’t. The nuns could be capriccios like that.

My inner life woke up in this environment especially because this nunnery was located in the middle of a forest. For a city kid, who has never seen natural life, this nunnery was paradise. I saw the natural cycles, the budding trees,  heard the song of birds, the company of lots of kids just like me. My short life was totally transformed. I too started to ask questions.

If god is all powerful, how can he allow the massacre of fathers and mothers and children? But this god was a patriarchal man. Created in the image of men. His way was domination; punishments, guilt, and not peace.

The answers were always off point, but it was the men by many names… Communist, Nazis, party members, soldiers, and refuges who were killing the civilians. They dragged my Auntie to be raped (Mom rescued her), but every time we saw men we had to hide. The nunnery was a safe place. No men there, except for the drunken priest, who had his own little house.

At one time mother told me I was born on the biggest Feast Day of Pax, the Goddess of Peace. This struck me as strange. Pax? Even her name was weird. Yet she was my birthday Goddess.

From then on, I called on the Goddess of Peace to help me survive. But gentle Pax was overwhelmed with the warlike Gods; the same male gods who put blessings on the men soldiers. Priests blessed the flags, canons and airplanes for victory. Priests blessed the war from both sides. Both sides! Male gods apparently loved war. I saw what they approved of, not what they said they approve of.

In the thousands of years Christianity has been in power, it never civilized the men. Men didn’t get “churched” properly like the women.

Christianity was a useless religion; amassing wealth, but not true to the espoused spiritual values. Thou shall not kill. They killed and allowed the Jews to be rounded up as well. A coward was sitting on the glitter throne of Peter.

The hypocrisy of Christianity was exposed watching the war, even as a little kid. Didn’t care about starving children, winning a war was all they prayed for. I never much trusted the male gods, but this warmongering did them all in. Useless liars.

One day, the Communists sent all the nuns back home; dispersed my little heaven. The old drunk priest died of neglect. I came home to the ruins to our once proud and artistic city of Budapest.

I asked mother to make me a little Madonna I could pray in front of.

Her studio was carpet bombed to the ground. She said, “Come here, look out the window, call up the winds. The winds encircle the planet. The ancestors are always there. They look after us.” She opened her arms to the great outdoors and called on the winds. Slowly the winds started fluttering a little, then like a gentle hand the air moved into our hair and stroked our cheeks.

“They are here,” she stated. And she began a conversation with the spirit world explaining the food problems, the death problems, the war problems. The winds consoled her heart. She finished relieved.

“Now they are gone, but they heard. Things will change now for the better.” They usually did.

In time, too slowly, the Communists and the Nazis met their fate. My country came back to life. The churches dedicated to our fair female saints were filled with women praying for peace.

When I was sixteen the boarder security was lifted briefly, and I slipped through the noose of oppression; a refugee. To be a refugee a “Fluhtling” was scary, but my grandmother’s spirit arranged that I was protected and adopted by a wonderful Austrian family who had a little son born on my own birthday, the feast day of Pax. This welded me into their little family unit like their own.

My political activism started with peace protests in New York and Los Angeles. I saw religion as the highest of politics; still do. Only the Dalai Lama gets it, and a growing number of men believe that all wars are obsolete.

Women still support all kinds of churches with the unnatural male gods. Sometimes it’s the only place where they can sit quietly, collect their feelings, undisturbed. It’s a peaceful place there in church.

Women hesitate less and less at the thought of finding the Goddess within themselves and in each other. From being condemned as second caste citizens, servants of the god-entitled males, to see their own integrity, their Goddess-hood, it’s a big leap and will take some time to reach it.

Peace will prevail when women rediscover sisterhood once again; across boarders, across cultures and oceans, and hold together as a gender who represent the virtues of peace.

Then the Age of Sub-Aquarius can kick in full force.

Categories: Goddess Movement, Major Feminist Thinkers in Religion, Women's Spirituality

Tags: , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Thank you for this piece. I loved reading your story. You’ve articulated so well the alienation that is felt as a child of the Goddess, enveloped in the patriarchal world system of formal religion; it’s celebration of domination and warfare. But also how STRONG her call is! Drawing you in close, within her loving and in undeniable embrace.
    Bright Blessings♥


  2. Incredible! Thank you so much for your blessing! Namaste!


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