The Big Turning Point Year: 1974
After I have opened my candle shop/bookstore the Feminist Wicca, in 1974 things started to change. We were located on Lincoln Blvd., which was the main road to the L.A. Airport. There was a lot of foot traffic as well as cars. The word “feminist” on our marquee proudly declaring our controversial political affiliation to the public.
The store was started on a shoestring, back then you could start a business by simply renting the space. I invested 300 dollars. Janet and Annu the same , so we had some money left over to buy a few supplies. In the beginning our shelves were empty.
Women used to come in and ask: What are you selling? We want to support you.
We were selling the new paradigm. Create a new female affirming mythology. Wash your head clean from the male god’s woman hating influence. Toss off the negative female expectations from us. We shall have no guilt over our independence. No guilt over our power and our rights and its exercise.
Bring back an awareness of the Great Goddess! is what we were selling. Let the women no longer suffer from a motherless soul. To have an all-powerful father image only is unnatural and hence frightening to women. Where is my mother? we ask. Where is our eternal Blessed Virgin?
Even gods are born from the mother.
She is not the flipside of the male gods, who are murderous, insecure in their supremacy.
The great Mother is the healthy mother model, fair, inclusive of all her children. She is talented and resourceful. Most of all she is forgiving, not revengeful. But even she has her own destiny separate from us.
As Mother nature she is subject to the planets fluctuations. The planets fate included climate changes, mini ice ages and major ice ages, shifting of the tectonic plates. The big picture.
The women in these times knew very little of Greek Mythology. Gaia the earth Goddess was known, which is the closest anybody American could come to old mythologies. In Europe we are constantly aware of the Goddesses, Athena is usually on the front of our Law related buildings. City hall. Museums. Hygia the healer is on our emblems for hospitals and orphanage. In Budapest we have Danaids carrying water gladly in bare breasts and revealing tunics.
And its right in front of a downtown Catholic church!
The exposure to ancient art in the immediate environment creates impressions on us people, which is part of our self identity. We see ourselves as continuation of something that went on before. Something lofty and good. This raises hope. Creates new plans.
In the United States Mythology was not yet recognized as a political/psychological power until Joseph Campbell created a positive culture and recognition for it. Then it became very fashionable to find the inner gods and goddesses. Psychologists used mythology to explain situations to patients. People actually acted out mythology unconsciously. Heroes always died, there was always a dark force to fight against, and damsels were always saved. Or killed. Martyrs were quickly forgotten.
The winners always had to suffer for it. Surviving was the true winning ticket.
A male god ruled over everything. And he liked boys. Infused into all male god religions there is a definite distaste for the female. Women are carnal they say, they are temptresses, it’s their fault we lost Paradise. They shall be inferior to men. Discount the women and marginalize them, keep them from education.
Men are clean and holy. Just like the god who made them.
It’s hard to believe that today’s women don’t get equal pay for equal work, and in Arabia women are not allowed to drive cars, or walk freely on the streets, and in Pakistan women get buried alive if they as much as talk to boys. This is a powerful tool, mythology, which closer to our times we call religion. Women actually are made to suffer over bad, bad man made stories.
And all stories about god are made up by men.
After I had returned from Hungary where Janet and I honeymooned, I was determined to move to the beach. We all wanted to live at the beach, it seemed very expensive, and people didn’t leave behind good rent controlled places. But I dared to look, and found a place on Brook St., just one block from the water. It was a small place, not too much more money than my apartment in Hollywood. Janet’s place was on Rose, only three blocks away. Ilona, my beloved German Shepard, and I moved in. I was still collecting furniture from the cast away stuff I saw in dumpsters or on the streets.
I heard stories about Billy Graham, the evangelist. Supposedly he burst into some occult shop in Long Beach and damaged the property, raving about heathens and devil worshippers.
I have decided to incorporate Women’s religion as the Sisterhood of the Wicca. I don’t know why I thought that would give me a measure of protection, but why not.
On Christmas, Dec 24th I visited the offices of the freshly minted feminist lawyer Mary Coronelly, a friend of a friend. I thought she should be the one to incorporate us since her bar number was 1313.
Mary received my idea very well, and she offered her services pro bono, a gift to the Goddess. We filled out the papers, and she filed us appropriately with Sacramento.
Then six weeks went by.
In this time we opened the first occult supply store for Dianics, The Feminist Wicca. All occult supplies were for goddess worship, nothing was sold for Satanic cults.
In my diary I write “Well I am here in the empty Wicca store, Annie D. just left, we were reading Tarot cards as usual. I practice on her regularly. She still had a big heartache about Jeanne C. I read my own cards, and I had the Devil card around me. Some kind of bondage. Didn’t feel good. Annie thought it was that I was still hung up over Susan K. I just took off my silver ring this morning that Susan gave me. My cards show me otherwise going strong.”
Janet and Steven W. went to San Diego to apply for a grant in oceanography. Tonight Joan and I will go to a lesbian feminist meeting. Hope Susan won’t be there.
As we went around the circle at the Lesbian feminist meeting, I told them my sad tale.
I met a non-feminist woman, and I found out I cannot really be with somebody who is not political. However attractive butch she might be.
Then it came to this beautiful young blond woman, tall and Amazon like, who just looked at me and said “I am a fire sign, and I am already a feminist.”
Her name was Helen, 22, and she was from Mississippi. A butch southern belle.
We necked in the car and made love in Janet’s bed. Slowly but surely she has replaced the earlier lover who tormented me. Life was beautiful. I was loved again.
Next Sabbath was on the 22nd of December, a Sunday. The women gathered in my new store, they socialized, bought candles, I had my own incense and candles, then in a caravan we set out to the Old Coven stead, which was the site I have found from my gardening job in Malibu.
I was always very happy when I saw all the cars slowly caravanning out north together and heading for Big Rock. This was my movement. My spirituality movement which will replace the male gods. A true revolution.
“Twice 13 women came, and we all arrived at the sight. Judy Grahn made it from San Francisco, Martha Shelly too. Both feminist writers.
I had a very very Holy time. I was dancing naked, my feet were warm, my eyes on the Full Moon. I got drunk and stumbled all over, but the sisters helped me to stay safe.
I have no recollection of this Sabbath. I know that in feedback I found out that we did everything we were supposed to. Even dismissing the spirits, which I thought I plain forgot. But I didn’t. A miracle.
When it was time to go home, Ilona didn’t want to leave. We had to search for the reason why not, and indeed there was a sister snoozing underneath a bush, slightly snoring. Ilona my great dog, was minding the entire coven.
My coven has now been going on since 1971. A four years long regular Goddess worshipping Sabbaths, outdoors. Beginning in my apartment on Whitley, graduating slowly over to the nearest beach. The numbers varied. Anywhere from about twenty to over a hundred women at times.
Because I was working as a gardener for Liz Luster, who was a feminist, and a Max Factor heiress. I was looking up at the top of a mountain nearby her house while mowing the lawn. One day after work I have decided to check it out and Ilona and I climbed up that gentle mountain off Big Rock.
In front of me laid a relatively flat area, smooth enough to gather there even in the dark.
In front of me laid the dream outdoor Goddess temple. Far enough from Santa Monica’s twinkling lights, close enough to the sound of the eternal sea. The air was fresh off the ocean, mingled with tangy sea salts.
What I do remember is that I took some acid, and I was drinking red wine. After four years of experience, the creation of the sacred circle was well worn in, women took their turns invoking the corners, and others minded the cauldron, and the high quality incense from my store. I taught them the prayer to the Star goddess.
Under the windless starry night, the women would step inside the circle, with their arms outstretched to the moon, lighting their candle for a wish. We all witnessed it, and approved it by blessing it. This act of blessing each other has become very important.
Women have reported that their wishes came true. Unbelievable great challenges were overcome. Women won custody cases, got good jobs, hexed their rapists, and blessed their children.
This sacred circle space was at the Crossroads, four major fire roads converged here. Everything was wild and lone, perfect for the Women’s mysteries.
We had total celebratory abandon, we danced and sang, I lost myself. It was high happy energy, the chanting became a scream, we seemed to have one voice, coming through each of us the same.
We were learning to have safely religious ecstasy. Getting so high on Goddess and revolution was a soul freeing joy. I didn’t have my twenties as a girl, I was already a mother. I didn’t have any foolishness time. Now, on occasions I became the sacred fool.
Just to track myself to see how I was developing as a high priestess, following week or day, SuperPat would come to see me and give me a “feedback.” She represented the participants point of view. Which is all that mattered. She put me on her motorcycle, a Harley, and she drove me back up the mountain. I caught my picture in the store windows as we buzzed by, my face was pinned back behind my cheekbones like after a botched face lift.
Super Pat was an Irish witch, she had red hair down to her ass. For some reason she and I became fast friends when we met at the woman’s center. I admired her because she was knowledgeable about many things mechanical. She was also instinctive and understood that I was creating a new spiritual culture, womenfolk culture. She also understood that women’s culture was an important arrow I was shooting right through the third eye of patriarchy.
Usually Super Pat watched that in my ecstasy I didn’t forget to thank the spirits properly. She watched that I am centrally placed in the circle so all can hear me. There were no mikes up the mountain. This visit Super Pat assured me I did very well. So I could be proud.
We all had religious experiences. We touched on the feeling of the Old religion. Joyous noise and sisterhood.
Next day I ate a lot. Honey and Comfrey tea, pork chops with paprika, my body was sore and I was tired. I slept. Having holy fun is exhausting.
Helen was coming back from her visit home in Mississippi and we started a serious and deep loving relationship which lasted about three years. Our friendship lasted a lifetime.
Copyright © 2018 by Zsuzsanna Budapest