Once upon a time there was a young girl. She was a good Catholic girl. One day, she came upon a book entitled, “Diary of A Witch” by Sybil Leek. Not realizing that her life was about to change, she opened it. Inside she discovered a world unknown to her; a world that included a Goddess.
Now, this girl lived with her grandmother until she was 6-7, when her beloved Grandmother passed through the veil. She went to live with her mother and her mother’s partner, who happened to be Jewish. So, now she was a good Catholic girl, with Jewish overtones. She went to church; she went to synagogue.
She was learning the differences between boys and girls, and how boys seemed to somehow be *better* than girls, or that was the way the world seemed. One Sunday, in church, she and her friend were picked to be altar girls, because the boys did not show up. I realize that this does not sound like a big deal now, but in those days, it was something of an uprising. After the service, the girls were yelled at by the monsignor of the church, who seemed to relish intimidating everyone by using his power and authority. Later it was discovered that the monsignor removed the priest from his parish, progress be damned!
I was the little girl, and this was my first introduction to feminism. This wasn’t right, not to me, not to other girls who may have wanted to be altar girls. So, yes, my mind was open to feminism in my teens and then Sybil Leek fell into my lap. I felt called, not so much to Wicca, but to the Goddess. There was something there and I needed to find out what it was.
Finding *good* books on Wicca back then was difficult, mostly on the “how to catch a boyfriend” level or “worship Satan”; not much middle ground. I very carefully began searching out books on traditional Wicca. Eventually, I came across Scott Cunningham; he was prolific and had the experience. Something was still missing.
I got married at a young age to someone who was definitely not Pagan, but was, more or less, open to my interest.
I would just roam the bookstores looking for books. In 1979, I came across both “The Spiral Dance” by Starhawk and “Drawing Down The Moon” by Margot Adler. I don’t know which one came first, but one led me to the other. These are both considered classics in Goddess Spiritualtiy.
I got caught up in the life of the newly married woman and eventually had a daughter. I still kept an eye on the women’s movement and it appeared, then, that some progress was being made. Virginia Slims cigarettes had an ad which declared that *You’ve come a long way, baby”.
A couple of years after the birth of my daughter, Diane Stein published her “Women’s Spirituality Book“, which I believe is now called “A Guide to Goddess Craft“. This was the book that opened my eyes to so much. I kept that book at bedside and read it continually; still do as a matter of fact. It’s dog-eared and well-loved. I had discovered the word *Dianic*.
I did not begin, yet, to use that term, but called what I believed a Goddess-based spirituality and my politics, at that point, was almost non-existent. Change, however, was on the horizon.
In 1989,”The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries” by Zsuzanna Budapest was published. I fell in love with this book; and again, something shifted for me. Reading about how “The Holy Book” came about, the beginnings of Feminist Goddess witchcraft, the personal became political. My eyes were opened; The Goddess and my feminism began to merge together. There was an audible click. A click that was paused for a bit with the birth of my son.
When my book search resumed, I found that more and more books on the subject had been published. I bought more of Z’s books; as well as Diane Stein’s. I sometimes thought I could not read fast enough to get to the next one. Those books were soon joined by others; one seemed to lead seamlessly to the next. I learned about Marija Gimbutas and her archeological finds. I discovered Merlin Stone; her books were quickly followed by “The Chalice and The Blade” and “The Great Cosmic Mother“.
To learn about the early matriarchal cultures and the Goddess they honored and worshiped was exhilarating; to learn how they were conquered was heart-breaking. I still, after all these years, feel the sorrow at the loss of these matriarchal cultures and what the world has lost, a loss that woman are still trying to recover from, and to re-discover anew.
This took a lot of years as I was raising a family and getting very involved in our community. I devoured as much as I could as I was running from games to concerts to scouts (both boy and girl).
But kids grow up, mothers take a deep breath and slowly remember who they were. In my case, I was not exactly who I was. My Goddess Spirituality had grown. My interest in politics grew and intensified as the years passed and the conservative arm of politics turned toward women.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to interview Z Budapest for my blog. I was excited and honored. She had been such an important part of my personal spiritual journey and I admire her deeply. She is a consummate story teller and I fell under her spell, listening to the stories about the beginnings of Goddess Spirituality as we know it today; how the political DID become personal, how “The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries” came to be. It was a joy for me to sit virtually at her feet and learn a small portion of all that she has been part of in her life. She has so much to share with women today about the Goddess, about feminism. I share this interview with you here
I no longer stop myself from using the term *Dianic* to describe myself. It is a perfect definition of who and what I am – a Dianic Witch.
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