Zsuzsanna Emese Budapest is a daunting woman – fiercely independent, impassioned and poetic. Her contributions to the feminist movement and modern wicca are impressive and indisputable. The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries remains (30 years after its initial publication) a must-read for devotees and students of the divine feminine, despite questions that surround some of its historical assertions and the fervor of its polemic. It is a book as political as it is spiritual, and a reminder that the modern pagan movement was part of that vast, sociopolitical groundswell that brought about the civil rights era. Some contemporary readers might find Budapest overly strident – but we should all remember how far we have come (how far we still have to go), and the sort of single-minded passion that was necessary to get us here.
from The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, by Z. Budapest, a brief, lovely passage that seems fitting for Earth Week:
In the beginning there was unknowable silence. She has an unknowable name which echoed through the universe; the power of this name, that no one shall utter, filled the universe with action.
Silence broke into its components, lights and shadows. From these lights action made form, and from the shadows, formlessness. Visible and invisible, she created a blend of the two we know today as Nature.
In this blend of form and formlessness, lights and shadows, visible and invisible, she created all the creatures, making infinite variations of herself as the birthing force, and the different form of her, where she s not so clearly visible, the birthed-in form.
She intermingled with herself, as if she was never divided, and created our solar system, our mother planet, and all the creatures upon it. Among the creatures she ordained, all species will know her either through instinct or through search, but all she created will periodically return to her holiness, and then again take form inside her.
And ever since, the world has been a blend of invisible forms, female and male, and a blend of invisible forms, self-love and self-hate. The divine mixing of these creates reality, for her essence is present in all, but her forms do not conform to temporary social orders. She is the circle of rebirth; thus we celebrate the moment in our lives as an honor to her, she whose Genesis is still happening, she who has not returned to any comfortable heaven to “watch” over us or forget us.
She who creates all reality daily, she who is visible and invisible in Nature, she whose name is secret, she who rules the Universe. The Force of Life and Death and all that is in between. She is All.