Dianic Wicca began as an offshoot of the feminist movement.
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Born of the feminist movement and founded by hereditary witch Zsuzsanna Budapest, Dianic Wicca embraces the Goddess but spends little time on her male counterpart. Most Dianic Wiccan covens are female-only, but a few have welcomed men into their groups, with the intention of adding some much-needed polarity. In some areas, the phrase Dianic Wiccan came to mean lesbian witch, but that is not always the case, as Dianic covens welcome women of any sexual orientation.
Budapest says specifically,
"We always recognize, when we say "Goddess," that She is the Life-giver, the Life-sustainer. She is Mother Nature... There are only two kinds of people in the world: mothers and their children. Mothers can give life to each other as well as to men, who are not able to do the same for themselves. This constitutes a dependency upon the Female Life Force for life renewed, and was accepted naturally in ancient times by our ancient forebearers as a sacred gift of the Goddess. In patriarchal times this sacred gift was turned against women, and used to force them to give up roles of independence and power."
Cursing & Hexing
While many Wiccan paths follow a belief system that limits hexing, cursing or negative magic, some Dianic Wiccans make an exception to that rule. Budapest, a noted feminist Wiccan writer, has argued that hexing or binding those who do harm to women is acceptable. In particular, she has called for the hexing and binding of men who perpetrate sexual violence against women and children.
Honoring the Goddess
Dianic covens celebrate the eight Sabbats, and use similar altar tools to other Wiccan traditions. However, among the Dianic community there is not a lot of continuity in ritual or practice – they simply self-identify as Dianic to indicate that they follow a Goddess-based, feminine-focused spiritual path.
The core belief of Dianic Wicca, as founded by Z Budapest, states that the tradition “is a holistic religious system based on a Goddess-centered cosmology and the primacy of She Who is All and Whole unto Herself.”
Dianic Wicca - and specifically, Z Budapest herself - has been at the center of a few controversies lately. At the 2011 PantheaCon, transgender women were specifically excluded from a women's ritual hosted by a Dianic group. Budapest's statements afterwards regarding the incident led to accusations of transphobia against her and the Dianic tradition, when she said,
"These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries, What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves. We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions. You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice, the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!"
On her group's website, Budapest states that membership is open to cisgendered women ("Open to women born-women") only.
Following the PantheaCon controversy, a number of offshoot groups of the Dianic tradition distanced themselves from Budapest and her coven. One group, the Amazon Priestess Tribe, publicly retired from the lineage with a press release that read,
"We cannot support a policy of universal exclusion based upon gender at our Goddess-centered rites, nor can we condone disregard or insensitivity in communications regarding the topic of gender inclusion and Goddess-centered practice. We feel it inappropriate to remain members of a lineage where our views and practices diverge significantly from those of the primary lineage holder."
In the wake of the issues with transphobia within the Dianic community, a few groups have continued to call themselves Dianic, but have amended their names to reflect inclusivity of transgender women. In particular, the McFarland Dianic tradition, named for founder Morgan McFarland, was one of the first Dianic groups to allow members who were not born female. In addition to McFarland's husband, an early initiate into the Craft, McFarland Dianic circles say they specifically do not exclude trans individuals of either gender, although only female members can be elevated to the level of priesthood, and the admission of male members is on a case-by-case basis, and left to the discretion of the circle's high priestess.
Wigington, Patti. "Dianic Wicca." ThoughtCo, Jul. 2, 2018, thoughtco.com/what-is-dianic-wicca-2562908.