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Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay (born 30 January 1940 in Budapest, Hungary) is an

Zsuzsanna Emese Budapest

American author of Hungarian origin who writes on feminist spirituality and Dianic Wicca under the penname and religious name Zsuzsanna Budapest or Z. Budapest. She is the High Priestess and the founding mother of the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, the first feminist, women-only, witches' coven.[1] She is the 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[2] She has an autobiography, Fly by Night, online, soon to be published in book form in the spring of 2010. She is a playwright, her work The Rise of the Fates having premiered in Los Angeles in the mid-seventies. She is the composer of the song, We All Come From the Goddess, as well as others. thumb|300px|right|We All Come From The Goddess

Early life and education[]

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 broke out, Budapest left Hungary 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.[1] In The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries, Z claims that her maternal grandmother was born by parthenogenesis (or virgin birth).

Budapest emigrated 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.[1] She married and had two sons, Laszlo and Gabor, but was later divorced after deciding that the traditional roles and confines of the marriage structure did not resonate with her. She also realized she identified as a lesbian and chose, in her words, to avoid the "duality" between man and woman.[3]

Early career[]

She moved to Los Angeles from New York City in 1970, and became an activist in the women's liberation movement, was on the opening staff of the very first Women's Center in the US there for many years, and became the Founder and High Priestess of the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1, the first documented Women Only coven.[1] She opened a candle and book store in Venice, California. She organized the first Anti-Rape Squad and was responsible for the conception and formation of the Take Back the Night Movement in Southern California, as well as organizer of many of their street marches. In 1975, she was arrested for fortune telling as a result of reading tarot cards, and that led to her being the last person to be arrested and tried for witchcraft in the United States. Following her trial and conviction, she engaged in nine years of appeals on the grounds that reading the Tarot was a form of women spiritually counseling women within the context of their religion, with pro bono legal representation, ultimately ending in her being acquitted and the laws against "fortune telling" being struck from the laws of California.[4] Her first book was The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, later expanded upon and retitled The Holy Book Of Women's Mysteries. This was followed by The Grandmother of Time, Grandmother Moon, Goddess in the Office, "Goddess in the Bedroom", "Celestial Wisdom" (co-authored with Diana L. Paxson)and "Summoning the Fates". In 2007, "The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries" was republished. She has published 10 books, one play, and two CDs, as well as videos. There was a major documentary of her first festival called "Gathering the Goddess" done in south central Texas, available in 6 parts on youtube, and for purchase on her website www.zbudapest.com A documentary of the "Gathering the Goddess '08", held in LaHonda, California, is in development, as yet to be released.

Today Budapest lives in Oakland, California, where she gives workshops, lectures and continues to write. Budapest is the founder of the Women's Spirituality Forum, a not-for-profit organization which promotes women's spirituality globally. She applied as the first nonprofit Dianic Wicca religious organization. She has been hired by the San Francisco Examiner and its affiliates (112 outlets) to be the writer representing Pagan Religions for their religion section. She has a page on Facebook and on MySpace, as well as Twitter.


Budapest worked as a Color Girl for the CBS Network in New York, and was later assigned to the Ed Sullivan Show. In the eighties, she created the TV show 13th Heaven, which ran on syndicated cable to thirteen channels in the San Francisco Bay Area for seven years. Today Z focuses her attentions on the development of her latest TV project called Femina Nation, which focuses on notable women.[4] Anecdotally, Budapest was also interviewed by Johnny Carson on his "The Tonight Show" surrounding the witch trial in which she was involved.


In 2003, the California Institute of Integral Studies recognized Z's contribution to the women's spirituality movement, declaring her a foremother of the Women's Spirituality Movement.[2]



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


  • Winter: The Goddess Monologues (with Béla Bartók and the Hungarian Women's Chorus from Gyor) 2003[5]

"Glad Woman's Song" on Robert Gass's "Ancient Mother" CD

  • Grandmother Moon CD
  • Goddess in the Bedroom CD


  • The Occult Experience 1987 Cinetel Productions Ltd (released on VHS by Sony/Columbia-Tristar August 5, 1992)


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