Different Paths of Witchcraft: Dianic Witch

Zsuzsanna Budapest, founder of Dianic Wicca. Z Budapest fought for the right to get paid for tarot readings and WON

Dianic Witch

Origins of Dianic Wicca:
Born of the feminist movement and founded by hereditary witch Zsuzsanna Budapest, Dianic Wicca embraces the Goddess but spends little time on her male counterpart. Most Dianic Wiccan covens are female-only, but a few have welcomed men into their groups, with the intention of adding some much-needed polarity. In some areas, the phrase Dianic Wiccan came to mean lesbian witch, but that is not always the case, as Dianic covens welcome women of any sexual orientation.

Budapest says specifically, “We always recognize, when we say “Goddess,” that She is the Life-giver, the Life-sustainer. She is Mother Nature.”

“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.”

Cursing & Hexing:
While many Wiccan paths follow a belief system that limits hexing, cursing or negative magic, some Dianic Wiccans make an exception to that rule. Budapest, a noted feminist Wiccan writer, has argued that hexing or binding those who do harm to women is acceptable.

Honoring the Goddess:
Dianic covens celebrate the eight Sabbats, and use similar altar tools to other Wiccan traditions. However, among the Dianic community there is not a lot of continuity in ritual or practice – they simply self-identify as Dianic to indicate that they follow a Goddess-based, feminine-focused spiritual path.

The core belief of Dianic Wicca, as founded by Z Budapest, states that the tradition “is a holistic religious system based on a Goddess-centered cosmology and the primacy of She Who is All and Whole unto Herself.”

Recent Controversies:
Dianic Wicca – and specifically, Z Budapest herself – has been at the center of a few controversies lately. At the 2011 PantheaCon, transgender women were specifically excluded from a women’s ritual hosted by a Dianic group. Budapest’s statements afterwards regarding the incident led to accusations of transphobia against her and the Dianic tradition, when she said, “These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries, What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves. We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions. You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice, the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!”

On her group’s website, Budapest states that membership is open to cisgendered women (“Open to women born-women”) only.
Following the PantheaCon controversy, a number of offshoot groups of the Dianic tradition distanced themselves from Budapest and her coven. One group, the Amazon Priestess Tribe, publicly retired from the lineage with a press release that read, “We cannot support a policy of universal exclusion based upon gender at our Goddess-centered rites, nor can we condone disregard or insensitivity in communications regarding the topic of gender inclusion and Goddess-centered practice. We feel it inappropriate to remain members of a lineage where our views and practices diverge significantly from those of the primary lineage holder.”

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The Dianic Tradition

Dianic Wicca, also known as Dianic Witchcraft and Dianic Feminist Witchcraft,[1] is a tradition, or Religious denomination, of the Neopagan religion of Wicca. It was founded by Zsuzsanna Budapest in the United States in the 1970s, and is notable for its focus on the worship of the Goddess, and on feminism. It combines elements of British Traditional Wicca, Italian folk-magic recorded in Charles Leland’s Aradia, feminist values, and ritual, folk magic, and healing practices Budapest learned from her mother.

It is most often practiced in female-only covens.

Beliefs and practices
Most Dianic Wiccans worship the Goddess only, believing that She is the source of all living and contains all within Her. There are Dianic witches who practice other forms of paganism (possibly including honoring a male deity or deities) outside of their Dianic practice. Some Dianics are monotheistic, some are polytheistic, some are atheist.

Most Dianics worship in female-only (as defined by Dianics usually as cisgender women, which excludes transgender women from their sisterhood) circles and covens, but there are mixed-gender Dianic traditions. Eclecticism, appreciation of cultural diversity, ecological concern, and familiarity with sophisticated concepts of psyche and transformation are characteristic. Originally lesbians formed the majority of the movement, however modern Dianic groups may be all-lesbian, all-heterosexual or mixed.

Most Dianic Wiccans as “positive path” practitioners do neither manipulative spellwork nor hexing because it goes against the Wiccan Rede; other Dianic witches (notably Zsuzsanna Budapest) do not consider hexing or binding of those who attack women to be wrong.

Differences between Dianic and mainstream Wicca
Like other Wiccans, Dianics may form covens, attend festivals, celebrate the eight major Wiccan holidays, Samhain, Beltane, Imbolc (or Imbolg), Lammas, the solstices and equinoxes (see Wheel of the Year) and the Esbats, which are rituals usually held at the full moon or dark moon. They use many of the same altar tools, rituals and vocabulary as other Wiccans. Dianics may also gather in more informal Circles.

The most noticeable differences between the two are that Dianic covens are usually female-only while other Wiccan covens are usually mixed, some aiming for equal numbers of men and women, and that most Wiccans worship the God and Goddess, while Dianics generally worship the Goddess as Whole Unto Herself; or if they worship the God, it is as a consort of the Goddess, rather than an equal.

It should be noted many Wiccans do not consider the Dianic path to be Wiccan at all as they only venerate, and sometimes espouse only the existence of, the Goddess.

Other Dianic traditions
Broadly speaking, Dianic tradition refers to the beliefs, practices, practitioners and history of woman’s mysteries, earth-religion, Neopagan Goddess worshippers. It is synonymous with the Neopagan religious traditions that place emphasis on the feminine divine. The term Dianic is derived from the Roman goddess of the moon, hunting and childbirth, Diana whose companion Nymphs were female.

The three main branches of Dianic Neopaganism are known as:
Dianic Wicca, a feminine tradition of Wicca started by Zsuzsanna Budapest and her 1980s book, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries.
McFarland Dianic, a Neopagan Fairy lineage tradition started by Mark Roberts and Morgan McFarland. One of relatively few Dianic traditions which accepts male members.

The Living Temple of Diana, an emerging shamanic witchcraft tradition of Dianic witchcraft started by Devin Hunter. The Living Temple of Diana’s practices center around empowerment, sovereignty, and carries the motto “We were created whole” as its creed. The Living Temple of Diana does not recognize gender or gender variation as a point of interest in its worship or witchcraft and as such accepts male, female, and transgendered members. Its lineage pulls from the Cult of Diana and was created as an alternative method of Dianic worship and witchcraft for those who are not concerned with CIS only circles.

(Non-Wiccan) Dianic Witches, who may have been inspired by Z Budapest, the New York Redstocking’s W.I.T.C.H. manifesto, or woman’s spirituality movements, who emphasize self-initiation, womanism and non-hierarchical organization. Most Dianics fall into this category, even if some acknowledge Z. Budapest as a foremother, because they do not participate in the initiation/ordination lineage of Dianic Wicca.
Dianic tradition is difficult to define because it has a limited historical basis and no formally defined doctrine. For some, Dianic Wicca is every day folk religion, hedge-witchery or kitchen-witchery; for others, Dianic tradition is more formal, with highly developed liturgy and cosmology. For most, in its essence Dianic tradition is a Woman’s Mysteries tradition, linked to such traditions across time and across cultures. They are a celebration of woman’s bodies, woman’s experiences, the Divine Feminine, and the biology and culture of womanhood, rather than rejection or dismissal of men and masculinity.

Most Dianic’s conceive of and experience the pagan Wheel of the Year in terms of both seasonal reality and also the life stages of women and of the Great Goddess: maiden, mother, queen, crone and hag.

Some Dianics, like other Wiccans, celebrate together in large-group rituals and spell-crafting on the sabbats (seasonal holy days) or the esbats (full-moon days). There are Dianic covens and circles, however many Dianics are solitary practitioners by preference or circumstance.

 

 

References

Patti Wigington, ThoughtCo.com

1.0 1.1 Falcon River (2004) The Dianic Wiccan Tradition. From The Witches Voice. Retrieved 2007-05-23.

J. River (2004) The Dianic Tradition. From The Witches’ Voice. Retrieved 2007-05-23.

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