Zsuzsanna Budapest

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Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay
Born (1940-01-30) 30 January 1940 (age 82)
Other namesZsuzsanna Budapest, Z. Budapest
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
OccupationAuthor, activist, journalist, playwright, songwriter
Known forFounder of Dianic Wicca, Founder of the Susan B. Anthony Coven, being arrested for "fortune telling" at her book store followed by the California supreme court’s reversal of the guilty verdict as unconstitutional and in violation of the Freedom of Religion Act.
ParentMasika Szilagyi
Symbol of the Goddess with the Pentagram.

Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay (born 30 January 1940 in Budapest, Hungary) is a Hungarian author, activist, journalist, playwright and songwriter living in America who writes about feminist spirituality and Dianic Wicca under the pen name Zsuzsanna Budapest or Z. Budapest. She is the founder of the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, which was founded in 1971 as the first women-only witches' coven.[1][2][3][4] She founded the female-only type of Dianic Wicca.[5][6]

She is the founder and director of the Women's Spirituality Forum, a nonprofit organization featuring lectures, retreats and other events, and was the lead of a cable TV show called 13th Heaven.[7] She had an online autobiography entitled Fly by Night, and wrote for the religion section of the San Francisco Examiner on subjects related to Pagan religions. Her play The Rise of the Fates premiered in Los Angeles in the mid-seventies. She is the composer of several songs including "We All Come From the Goddess".[8] She lives near Santa Cruz, California.

Early life[edit]

Z. Budapest was born in Budapest, Hungary. Her mother, Masika Szilagyi, was a medium, a practicing witch, and a professional sculptress whose work reflected themes of Goddess and nature spirituality. In 1956, when the Hungarian Revolution began, she fled to Austria as a political refugee. She finished high school in Innsbruck, graduated from a bilingual gymnasium, and won a scholarship to the University of Vienna where she studied languages.[2]

Budapest immigrated to the United States in 1959, where she studied at the University of Chicago, with groundbreaking originator of the art of improvisation, Viola Spolin, and the improvisational theater group The Second City.[2] She married and had two sons, Laszlo and Gabor, but later divorced. She realized she is a lesbian and chose, in her words, to avoid the "duality" between man and woman.[9][10]



She moved to Los Angeles from New York City in 1970, and became an activist in the women's liberation movement. She was on the staff of the first Women's Center in the U.S. there for many years,[11] and became the Founder and High Priestess of Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, the first women-only witches' coven, which was founded in 1971.[1][2][3][4] She was responsible for the creation of an Anti-Rape Squad[12] and the Take Back the Night Movement in Southern California, and facilitated many of their street marches.[13]



Z Budapest is considered by many in the Neopagan community to be transphobic. Famously, she conducted a ritual exclusive to cis women by the Circle of Cerridwen at PantheaCon in February 2011.[14][15] This caused a lot of backlash that led many to criticize Dianic Wicca as inherently transphobic. Participants and authors in the neopagan scene wrote articles, staged silent protests and wrote open letters to Budapest.[16]

Arrested for Tarot Reading[edit]

In 1975, she was arrested for "fortune telling" at her candle and book store in Venice, California following a "sting" by an undercover police woman Rosalie Kimberlin, who received a tarot reading from her. Subsequently, Budapest was charged with violating a municipal by-law, Code 43.30, which meant fortune telling was unlawful. Budapest and her defence team described her as "the first witch prosecuted since Salem,"[17] and the ensuing trial became a focus for media and pagan protesters. Budapest was found guilty.[17]

Duly, Budapest and her legal counsel set out to establish Wicca, and more specifically Dianic Wicca, as a bona fide religion. The state's Supreme Court reversed the guilty verdict as unconstitutional and in violation of the Freedom of Religion Act.[18]

Following her conviction, she engaged in nine years of appeals on the grounds that reading the Tarot was an example of women spiritually counselling women within the context of their religion. With pro bono legal representation she was acquitted, and the laws against "fortune telling" were struck from California law.[18][19]

"We All Come From The Goddess"[edit]

In 2012, Budapest requested via Facebook that the song she wrote, "We All Come From The Goddess", be performed as written and not be altered to include male gods. She initially stated that anyone changing her song was cursed, but clarified in comments section of this post that she was joking.[20]


Budapest claims that her first job in television was as a Color Girl for the CBS Network in New York; that she was assigned to The Ed Sullivan Show, and that it was her face that CBS adjusted their camera's settings to.[21] In the eighties, she created the TV show 13th Heaven, which ran on syndicated cable in the San Francisco Bay area for seven years.[7]


  • The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, (1975) Feminist Wicca, Luna Publications
  • The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries: Feminist Witchcraft, Goddess Rituals, Spellcasting and Other Womanly Arts (1989) Wingbow Press ISBN 0-914728-67-9, ISBN 978-0-914728-67-2
  • The Grandmother of Time: A Woman's Book of Celebrations, Spells, and Sacred Objects for Every Month of the Year, (1989) HarperOne ISBN 0-06-250109-7, ISBN 978-0-06-250109-7
  • Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives—Spells, Rituals, Goddesses, Legends, and Emotions Under the Moon (1991) HarperSanFrancisco ISBN 0-06-250114-3
  • Grandmother Moon (2011) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1460911407 / 9781460911402
  • The Goddess in the Office: A Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual Warrior at Work (1993) HarperOne ISBN 0-06-250087-2, ISBN 978-0-06-250087-8
  • Goddess Gets to Work (2012) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1477589546 / 9781477589540
  • The Goddess in the Bedroom: A Passionate Woman's Guide to Celebrating Sexuality Every Night of the Week (1995) HarperSanFrancisco ISBN 0-06-251186-6, ISBN 978-0-06-251186-7
  • Summoning the Fates: A Woman's Guide to Destiny (1999) Three Rivers Press ISBN 0-609-80277-1, ISBN 978-0-609-80277-9
  • Summoning the Fates: A Guide to Destiny and Sacred Transformation (2013) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1492150886 / 9781492150886
  • Celestial Wisdom for Every Year of Your Life: Discover the Hidden Meaning of Your Age (with Diana Paxson) (2003) Weiser Books ISBN 1-57863-282-X, ISBN 978-1-57863-282-4
  • Rasta Dogs (2003) Xlibris Corporation ISBN 1-4010-9308-6, ISBN 978-1-4010-9308-2
  • Selene, the Most Famous Bull-Leaper on Earth (1976) Diana Press ISBN 0-88447-010-5
  • Selene, the Most Famous Bull-Leaper on Earth (2011) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1460999347 / 9781460999349
  • Z's Easy Tarot (2012) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1479128090 / 9781479128099
  • My Dark Sordid Past As A Heterosexual (2014) Amazon CreateSpace (self-published) ISBN 1500988901 / 9781500988906


  • The Rise of the Fates: A Woman's Passion Play 1976


  • The Occult Experience 1987 Cinetel Productions Ltd (released on VHS by Sony/Columbia-Tristar August 5, 1992)
  • Gathering the Goddess, a documentary of her first festival (in south central Texas) DVD-R Amazon CreateSpace Title #306207
  • Gathering the Goddess (held in LaHonda, California) In Development
  • Z Budapest's Goddess Kits: Sex & Goddess DVD-R Amazon CreateSpace Title #306094

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Membership – Dianic Tradition – Susan B. Anthony Coven". Susanbanthonycoven.com. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  2. ^ a b c d Lesbian Pride Website Archived July 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Lesbian-pride.com (1940-01-30). Retrieved on 2011-06-23.
  3. ^ a b Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions by James R. Lewis ABC-CLIO (1999)
  4. ^ a b Voices from the Pagan Census: A National Survey of Witches and Neo-Pagans in the United States by Helen A. Berger, Evan A. Leach and Leigh S. Shaffer. University of South Carolina Press (2003)
  5. ^ Budapest, Zsuzsanna. Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, The. 1980 (2003 electronic). ISBN 0-914728-67-9.
  6. ^ Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston: Beacon press, 1979; 1986. ISBN 0-8070-3237-9. Chapter 8: Women, Feminism, and the Craft".
  7. ^ a b Feminist Foremothers in Women's Studies, Psychology, and Mental Health, Volume 1 edited by Phyllis Chesler, Esther D. Rothblum and Ellen Cole. Psychology Press (1995)
  8. ^ The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton. Oxford University Press (Nov 4, 1999)
  9. ^ Nevill Drury, The History of Magic in the Modern Age ISBN 0-09-478740-9 (pg. 161)
  10. ^ "Zsuzsanna Budapest - Famous Witches - Witchcraft". Wise Witches and Witchcraft. 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  11. ^ Women's Periodicals in the United States: Social and Political Issues by Kathleen L. Endres and Therese L. Lueck. Greenwood Publishing Group (Jan 1, 1996)
  12. ^ Between the Worlds: Readings in Contemporary Neopaganism by Sian Reid. Canadian Scholars’ Press (2006)
  13. ^ Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America by Cynthia Eller. Crossroads Press (1993)
  14. ^ Coyle, T. Thorn (February 19, 2012). "Holding Beloved Community". T. Thorn Coyle.
  15. ^ Thompson, Sarah (2012). Gender and Transgenderin Modern Paganism. Cupertino, CA: Circle of Cerridwen Press. ISBN 9781105433788.
  16. ^ Pitzl-Waters, Jason (February 23, 2012). "The PantheaCon Gender Conversation Continues". The Wild Hunt.
  17. ^ a b In Full Bloom: Tales of Women in Their Prime by Sharon Creeden. August House (1999)
  18. ^ a b The Visionary State: A Journey Through California's Spiritual Landscape by Erik Davis. Chronicle Books (June 22, 2006)
  19. ^ BlogTalkRadio Website Archived August 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Blogtalkradio.com (2008-03-07). Retrieved on 2011-06-23.
  20. ^ Facebook. Facebook.com (2013-04-17). Retrieved on 2013-01-23.
  21. ^ [1] Z Budapest website "Zsuzsanna Budapest". Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-08.


External links[edit]