Treading a Dianic Path

Week 7 (D): Dianic witchcraft

(You know a blog post is going to be good when it starts with a disclaimer.)

I recognize that some readers may disagree. This, like all posts in this blog, are based upon my own experiences and opinions. If this does not describe your understanding of Dianic witchcraft, by all means, let’s have a conversation. Consider my openness to engage in productive dialogue as a blanket invitation for all of my blog posts. That said…

James Jordan

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Patriarchy is something I learned about early, when my mother insisted that the majority of my books contain strong women characters. She overlooked Disney movies in deference to my enthusiasm for those technicolor cartoons so rife with problems, but the books I read were by and large about women. My mother wanted me to grow up to be a strong woman who does not tolerate gender inequality. I think she got her wish.

Z. Budapest’s book The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries was an important discovery. Along with Starhawk, I had previously read authors who were mostly Gardnerian or Alexandrian, but the idea of Goddess worship was far more appealing to me than the heteronormative male-centric stuff the other authors touted. I didn’t want to find God, I wanted to find the Goddess. I read Budapest and discovered feminist witches. She talks about the importance of women-only spaces, which is something I highly value. Reading most of her book felt like coming home.

I think I especially liked Budapest’s penchant for hexing rapists. According to her, “if you can’t hex, you can’t heal”. While the logic may be somewhat counterintuitive, I think it falls in line well with Inga Muscio calling for public shaming of rapists. (Muscio wrote another of the books that changed my life – see the Further Reading section at the bottom.) But, like almost any book, there are some problems. I’d like to illuminate what my brand of Dianic witchcraft entails, as it differs from Budapest’s version in at least one very significant way.

just trying to keep the peace amongst all these diverse chicks (ok, that was a terrible pun)

just trying to keep the peace amongst all these diverse chicks (ok, that was a terrible pun. forgive me?)

Dianic witchcraft is: women-only spaces. This world is dominated by men. Social structures, institutions, politics: all created and maintained for and largely by men. Women-only spaces should be kept sacred and available to any women who seek them. Which brings me to my next point…

Dianic witchcraft is not: transmisogyny. Transwomen should be fully welcomed into women-only spaces. Woman-centric and female-centric are not the same thing. I vehemently do not identify or support radical feminists in their “womyn born womyn” nonsense. Women are women. Female is a separate category entirely*.

I know this is a response to Christians drafting laws restricting women's bodily rights, but I think it works well here too

I know this graphic was meant to be a response to Christians drafting laws restricting women’s bodily rights, but I think it works rather well in this context too

While Goddess worship is important to my beliefs, this does mean that I am a raging, man-hating, underarm-hair-growing, lesbian, ugly feminist. Not to malign folks with a propensity for lush underarm hair, only that it’s not a choice that suits me. I am a lesbian, but it is not as a result of my interest in the Goddess (the latter predates the former). I am a feminist, but that is because I believe that patriarchy must fall in favor of a more equality-based society. I rage because I see too much inequality in the world and because I refuse to keep quiet about it. I will not support the status quo. Goddess worship blends nicely with most of these things.

The idea that a Goddess, any Goddess, would exclude someone based on their determined sex at birth is abhorrent. I do not want to worship a Goddess who is as bigoted as some humans. To me, the Goddess is an ideal to which I aspire. And that ideal is to welcome all women with open arms.

Josephine Wall

Josephine Wall

* For those who are confused at this point, here’s a quick explanation. Sex refers to someone’s genitalia and chromosomal makeup, while gender refers to the socially prescribed and accepted appearances & roles that are typically expected to correspond with one’s sex. That is, as a woman, one is expected to have been born with a vagina. This is a problematic view as it leaves transgender folks completely out of the picture. While I am a cisgender woman, I aspire to be a trans ally. If you are mad about the term “cisgender”, please click here.

Further Reading

Budapest, Zsuzsanna Emese. 2003. The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

Dianic Wicca (Z. Budapest’s Women’s Spiritual Community)

The Dianic Wiccan Tradition (while this is another link that supports transmisogyny, please note that I do not condone or agree with those opinions, but that I do think this link is a valuable resource in understanding Dianic witchcraft)

Feminist Disney

In Response to the “Lilith Rite” at PantheaCon (more on Z. Budapest and her transmisogyny)

Muscio, Inga. 2002. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

Sociological (my pinboard on all things sociological – good to sift through if you still have questions about gender, inequality, & patriarchy)


4 responses

  1. Hi there! Is there any way you could summarize in a few sentences the main points Muscio Inga’s book? I’m not usually this lazy to look up things for myself, but I don’t have much free time right now. If it’s a problem, you don’t have to, of course. I would appreciate it very much.

    Anyway, wonderful post! 😀 I also learned a new term – cisgender. Oh, and I completely agree with you on differentiating gender from sexuality and sex. Just thought I would share that. 🙂

    February 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    • Always pleased to teach new terms. :p

      I’m going to sound like quite the fangirl here, but here goes.

      Summing up Muscio’s book is a bit complicated, as she touches on a whole lot of stuff. She’s talking about obliterating the negative connotations that come with many words associated with women (“cunt” chief among them), she’s talking about patriarchy, and she’s talking about rape culture. It’s a lot of feminism (maybe not your mama’s feminism) and a good bit of self-empowerment, and various ways in which the world needs healing. I particularly love the summary quote on Goodreads:

      Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cunt lovin Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related.

      It’s a deeply brilliant wonderful book. I don’t agree with absolutely everything she says, but this is one of the books that really changed my life. I know that sounds like a tired old cliche, but I stand by it: this book is wonderfully revolutionary. If you’re interested in a copy, you can buy direct from the author here or on Amazon (also available on kindle, if you’re bad at waiting like me). Hope that helps.

      February 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm

  2. P.S. I also can’t manage to find Inga’s book anywhere (as in on the Internet, in my library and so on). So it’s not only laziness, it’s also the physical inability of getting my hands on the book. Sorry for the trouble in any case.

    February 26, 2014 at 1:45 pm

  3. Pingback: How Not to Talk About Women-Only Spaces | Anonywitch

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