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…
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.
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*.
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.
* 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.
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)
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)