Tag Archive: Dianic Study

The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries – Book Review, Part 3

Chapter 3: Celebrating the Holy Days of the Earth

This brief chapter covers Sabbats and Esbats.
For those readers who are not familiar

For those of you not familiar:
There are 8 Sabbats that make up the Wheel of the Year. The Sabbats are solar, seasonal and represent the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. These days are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltain, Litha, Lughnasadh, and Mabon. Sabbats usually correspond with modern Judeo-Christian holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.

Esbats are the celebration of the 13 full moons that occur every year. The Esbats are lunar and represent the Goddess at her height of power. These are the times when Her magick is more potent than on any other day of the month.

Back to the book…

Since this is a fairly short chapter, I’ll keep this short.
This is a great chapter. Simple, eh?

This part of the book is just what I expected and quite useful. As a Solitary, it is difficult to find teachers, mentors, etc. to help in learning rituals. I now have a fairly comprehensive how-to on celebrating important Pagan holidays.

You can clearly see how each of these corresponds to a modern Judeo-Christian holiday.


The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries – Book Review, Part 2

“The Dianic Tradition and Rites of Life”
I was really, really hoping for something more in-depth on the Dianic Tradition. There are, maybe, 4 or five pages of this 70-some page chapter devoted to any sort of history or tradition. Even then, it’s all speculation. Some of the info is based on some archeological evidence. However, it reads more like an extremist-feminist (read: penis-hating) view on how the world should have begun.

I am beginning to get the idea that some Dianic groups just don’t like dudes.  :/

The rest of the chapter is interesting, though. It touches on old and new rites that can be performed.
Rites for marriage, birthdays, death, the passage into womanhood, and seasonal changes… they’re all in there. There are modern rites, as well, such as a ritual for after an abortion or miscarriage.
I was most struck by the Ritual of Self-Liberation. It is a strong, empowering way to love oneself; I believe everyone should perform this.

I have to say, so far I am not completely ok with some of the messages in the book. I am all for women’s empowerment.
I am not for empowerment at the expense of men.
We are equal.
No, we are not the same, That’s the way I feel it is supposed to be. But we are equally as important in The Wheel, and each gender deserves respect.

Overall: Low points for history, high marks for in-depth rituals/rites. This chapter would be a great resource for those folks looking to celebrate most any occassion.

In my last post, I shared that I had joined a Dianic study group and that we would be reading and discussing “The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries”.

For me to be able to intelligently discuss anything, I usually have to do some thorough research and then write a short essay-like journal to keep track of my thoughts. You see, even if I am really excited or interested in something I still get distract— Ooh, shiny!

See what I mean?

According to the back cover of the book:
“In the early 1970s, pioneering witch and teacher Z Budapest and her Susan B. Anthony Coven self-published a little red paperback called The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries. More than thirty years later this now-not-so-little bookcontinues to educate, entertain, and enlighten, providing a treasure trove of information and rituals for modern pagans, witches, and other women looking to bring a little magic into their spiritual practice.”

Reading that, I have a certain expectation that I will learn at least a bit about the history of  paganism and witchcraft. I should also find humorous, dramatic, and/or romanticized snippets that should delight me and keep me reading.  And I should walk away from this book feeling like I have learned something about the people in the book, paganism in general, and quite possibly myself.

That is an awfully tall order to fill.

I won’t go too much into the forwards and introduction. I read them because I knew this is a newer edition of the book and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Let’s get into this; shall we?

Chapter 1: Feminist Witchcraft
This chapter is broken up into 13 small sub-chapters (a few paragraphs to a few pages), beginning with…

“The Politics of Women’s Religion”.
I expected something of a short essay on women’s use of religion governs their daily lives. And while it wasn’t an essay, the attitude was what I expected.
This section reveals the manifesto of the Susan B. Anthony Coven. It is a series of statements reflecting the groups outlook on attitude and commitments to their craft, their sisters, and themselves. As a whole, they are strong and powerful statements. Calling this the “politics of women’s religion”, though, is a bit of a stretch. It’s a view of the group’s own religious beliefs, and not an all-encompassing thing.

“Women’s Religion, As in Heaven, So on Earth”
Here’s my problem with some all-female pagan groups – They completely discount the importance of men in the very same way some Christian faiths discount the importance of women. It is hypocritical and frustrating.
As I read this section of chapter 1, I found myself clenching my jaw in anger. While I follow the ideal that there is no all-powerful male deity controlling our lives, I also don’t believe there is an all-powerful female deity doing the same.

“The Turning of the Tide: How We Lost It”
There are some great anecdotes about ancient civilizations, their once-female dominated spirituality and the loss of their power by greedy, power-hungry men. It creates an overwhelming alarm in me, as in most women I expect, about the injustice brought upon our ancestors.
I’d like to do a bit of research into the Greek hierarchy and it’s origins to see if what the author says is even close to truth, or if this section of the book is and exaggeration of history. Maybe it’s both. That is the beauty of history, isn’t it?

“The Slothwoman as Ancient Magician”
I really enjoyed this sub-chapter. The idea that our ancient, instinct-driven brain still controls some of our daily life is fascinating to me. Deep down, engrained in our long-forgotten memories there is a force, a beginning that never ended… astounding, don’t you think?
Slothwoman is a term coined by Budapest. I’m not particularly fond of it, but I don’t think I could have come up with anything better. The author believes that we can appease her – this simple creature – through song, poetry, dance, and pretty shiny things. Slothwoman is our base instinct and needs to be loved and honored. In turn, she can provide us with ancient knowledge and guidance.

“Dangers of Magic”
For any woman who practices magic, this section is a pretty important read. It’s a short, 8-paragraph note-to-self guide to not getting an ego. It’s a sort of “How To Not Be a Jerk” section.

The rest of this chapter includes sub-chapters on tools, setup and spell-casting as well as sources for herbs, oils, and incense. This is a helpful resource for women who choose to follow that path of pagan spirituality.
The Slothwomen section of chapter 1 was really the only part that had me interested. And I truly appreciated the resource section. Though I don’t practice traditional spell-casting, I do use aspects of it in prayer and meditation. I don’t feel like I need to burn candles or incense, but having a poem or song to sing to myself helps me feel centered and clears my mind of worry.

I am excited to read chapter 2, as it looks to focus on Dianic tradition and rites. I am a big fan of religious histories, so this should be right up my alley.

Until next time, everyone; stay safe, stay happy.

Well… It has been a while, hasn’t it?

Sorry about that; it’s been a crazy time around here. And I really didn’t have much inspiration to write.
That’s not to say that I have a ton of inspiration to write right now, but I felt like I was neglecting you all.

Instead of my usual “this thought popped into my head” kind of post, I’ll do a sort of book report… thing.
I’m reading some new books for a Dianic study group that I recently joined. Not, like, an academic report, mind you. More like a journal of the thoughts I have as I read the book.

This group, to clarify, is not a coven or anything like that. It’s a group of women who honor feminine mysteries and wish to learn about our traditions together. We believe it’s paramount to growing the next generation of Daughters of the Moon. Society is so outside of the Sacred nowadays and we seek towards bringing us all back to sacred living in every moment.

While I am not a follower of Diana, as you know, I find the parallels between Dianic legend and that of Brigid intriguing.

First up: The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries by Z. Budapest.
“This book is not about reinstating a matriarchy or tearing down patriarchy; it is about women’s spirituality and its relationship with politics and lifestyle.”

It just arrived, so as I start reading it, I’ll update – probably by chapter – my thoughts and feelings. I expect I will dislike some things and may agree with others. I am particularly interested in the history and traditions, and not so much on the spells and witchcraft. It’s not that I have an issue with spell casting and whatnot, but I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of physical magik/magic/etc.

See, I look at spell “casting” as a type of prayer. I don’t necessarily believe that we can manifest control or change over the earth. My biggest concern, I guess, is the thought that some arbitrary thought can create superficial things. I see these “blessings” or “curses” that some folks are selling online. This makes my head hurt. How to you sell a blessing? What price do you put on a curse?

I do believe in the transfer of positive and negative energy to the world around you. But, do I believe that such energy can affect things like wealth or one’s love life or job status? No. Do I believe that the good thoughts of those around you can affect your state of mind enough to give you confidence to get the things you desire? Absolutely.

I digress…
Time to start reading.