Modern Witch: Witchcraft in the 21st Century

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What Z Budapest's ordination of a man means for the rest of us.

I have to admit, in my world the mere mention of Szuszanna Budapest is often followed by a heavy sigh and an eye-roll. I haven't taken her seriously since the whole pantheacon debacle a few years back. Like many contemporary pagans I feel that she has been less of an ally the past few years and more like the crazy aunt at the party we all try to avoid. She is famous for her stance against anything Y chromosome related and has on several occasions been verbally abusive to members in the trans-community. I had grown almost comfortable with my distaste of all things Z Budapest, after all each time she opened her mouth she only reaffirms my opinion. Then she goes and ordains a man.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_claudiney.jpg

 

I think like many of you I just mentally wrote it off as an obvious attempt to save face in the public eye. Currently you can’t google her name without a bunch of hate speech coming up and that has to be bad for book sales, right? Then I looked a little closer and found that the man she ordained was not just some poor sap but a well established author and a fellow priest of Diana from Brazil named Claudiney Prieto

 

For years I have followed his work because his take on Dianic worship and service is very similar to my own. He and I share values in community service, Goddess worship, feminism, and we both draw heavily from the work of Fazer. “How could a guy like him allow this to happen?” I thought. “Surely he must not know of who this woman really is.” I squirmed silently for several moments as I read through the posts from the recent Goddess conference where it had taken place and then decided to send him a message to get his take on what it all means.

 

Over our conversation I learned that this wasn’t a full-fledged initiation into the Budapest Dianic tradition, but more of a blessing and acknowledgement for his work within the Goddess community. It is the pagan equivalent of receiving an honorary diploma from an all women's college. He later would tell me that he thought of it as a chance to build bridges between the mostly segregated Goddess community. I loved the sentiment of building bridges, but I couldn’t help but feel it was all a little too naive. After all, I was there for all of the hate speech, and most of it was directed at the groups I work with or at me personally. 

 

For days I told myself I shouldn’t have an opinion, especially regarding someone els’s tradition. I wouldn’t be sharing it with you now had I not come to a very different conclusion than I was expecting. 

 

Heres a quote from the press release she sent out on August 11.

 

“ In a decisive move that nullifies the recent accusations of misandry towards her and her Dianic Tradition, Zsuzsanna Budapest has awarded a man, Brazil’s own Claudiney Prieto with a blessing for the work he does within his own Nemorensis Dianic Tradition, while the Dianic Tradition in Budapest’s lineage remains for female-born women and girls.” 

 

Obviously, this doesn't nullify anything but it does give this Dianic priest hope for the future. The truth is, we won. Our collective push for change has actually yielded some result. No this isn’t going to take away the hurt she has caused, no it’s not the apology we have all been holding our breath for, but this is the direct result of our collective push for an inclusive future.

 

In a later press release on August 18 she writes:


“This was a different ordination, meant to be for a Kouretes of the Goddess, a legitimate male (Budapest) Dianic tradition, written up in the Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries (see Chapter 5: The Sacred Sons). Its as orthodox as anything else, I have broken no (Budapest) Dianic rules. We just never found any male who deserved such a distinction. Not that I was actually looking for the first Kouretes.”

 

Claudiney may not be a full-fledged Budapest Dianic priest with all the bells and whistles but he is a Nemorensis Dianic priest who has done a lot of incredible work. I don’t think his faith in a better future is actually naive at all. He has something that the rest of us have forgotten in the wake of all the spiritual terrorism, hope that the future can be blended in the worship of the Goddess. As a priest of the Goddess I can’t help but feel empowered by this. 


What does Z’s ordination of Claudiney mean for the rest of us? There is still hope.

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Devin Hunter is a professional witch and the resident House Medium at The Mystic Dream in Walnut Creek, Ca. He holds third-degree initiations in both the Northern Star Tradition of Wicca as well as the Dianic Tradition of Witchcraft (the Cult of Diana) and is the founder of his own tradition, Sacred Fires. His AV Club favorited podcast, the Modern Witch, has helped thousands of people from all over the world discover and develop their magical abilities. Devin is currently teaching with the Black Rose School of Witchcraft and is the reigning Master of Ceremonies at the New Orleans Witches’ Ball.

Comments

  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers Thursday, 21 August 2014

    Devin,

    I turned my back on organized religion quite a few years ago, and news like this, however much of a step toward progress it might be for those in this organization, serves to reinforce my feelings about hierarchical structures within communal spiritual practice.

    Like yourself (if I'm correctly remembering what you said in your recent interview with Chris Orapello), I was raised in the Pentecostal Christian Church. So I am very familiar with ecclesiastical gender bias, though in the opposite regard. Having not ever entered into the realm of organized pagan religion, however, and being generally disinterested in news or blog articles about specific cults and their hierarchies, I was unaware that this kind of thing was still happening amongst pagans.

    But it was silly for me to assume (even unconsciously so) that humans would cease to be humans simply because they don't worship in a patriarchal, monotheistic tradition.

    This article has peaked my interest a little, so I'll be following it and others like it a little more closely, if out of nothing more than morbid curiosity. :-)

    Enjoyed it, sir!

  • John Halstead
    John Halstead Friday, 22 August 2014

    Budapest's early writing acknowledges the place of Kouretes in the Dianic tradition, and it's unfortunate she never followed this up. The suggestion that she "just never found any male who deserved such a distinction" just compounds her error. Whatever her motives, it is great to see Prieto acknowledged in this way. I spent two years in Brazil and I have been interested in his work ever since I became a Pagan. Thanks for this article!

  • LilyValley
    LilyValley Sunday, 24 August 2014

    I debated long and hard whether to post this, I'm not sure if it is right to share my view on all of this but, a sentence just stood out and I'm after a bit more understanding behind it. So forgive me if I have misinterpreted the situation. I am unaware of any of this history or information on the person you mention, having only taken the first step out of solidarity. For the most part, I had empathy towards the case you were putting forward, I am for love and inclusiveness. I feel we are not hear to judge by looks or sex but instead by actions and when I remember, I strive to understand why such actions by another are being/have been done before judgement is made. (Although, sometimes the heat of the moment is engulfing).
    I think there is one other key thing Claudiney has other than hope and that is forgiveness.
    As I read your article the one thing that took me back was your distinct sentence "The truth is, we won". It was as if you were flaunting the fall of another. I cannot help but feel, when someone writes or takes that view, you leave little choice for the other party but, to remain on the path they are on until the end. To fight it out or loose their honor. Such things will not lead to the positive resolution one would hope we all would want. Why would someone change their views if all they are going to get is "nana a booboo we won, you stink, haha." Words are sharp blades, instead of, what appeared to me but, I may be completely wrong, gloating, I feel in such a case one should just express gratefulness to the goddess and god that change is on the horizon, support to the person taking on the new role for the grater good and the hope for a better future where we can all work together.
    I can tell this person has hurt you and those you know quite badly but, I feel they will never come around to the views you wish them to if they read words of winning and loosing. If anything, they may feel betrayed by their new priest. They need to be approached with love, empathy and silent forgiveness. Over time and only once she realises your view and is living it, will she look back on her past and give you the apology you so desire. Even if she doesn't, perhaps through your love and patients you will sow the seeds for her successor to. I feel it is best to forgive first (and again and again) otherwise, my experience is you'll never get your apology and it will just consume you. If you can't forgive, aid your hope and friend on their path being mindful to not set fire to their bridge. It's ok to be angry at someone but, to declare without empathy or forgiveness you won an argument that is still happening, is risky. Don't you think so? Afterall, we are all people. As I said, I don't know anything about any of this, so please feel free to tell me to take a hike! :)

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