She publicly hexed murderers and rapists, wrote 13 books on ritual and witchcraft and founded the long-running International Goddess Festival, a biennial gathering of women in the California redwoods that continues to this day.
Outside witchy circles, Budapest remains relatively unknown, but she has been a pioneering, though sometimes divisive, force in a state famous for fostering unorthodox forms of spirituality and belief.
“I don’t agree with all her views, but in the history of the craft, she is an important person,” said Sabina Magliocco, professor of anthropology and religion at the University of British Columbia. “When you look at all of the witchcraft as feminist resistance that flowered in the Trump era, none of that would have existed if it hadn’t been for what Z and others like her did in the 1970s.”
Budapest believes her work as a public witch was essential, but like Baba Boogie, she is ready for a respite. She also believes there’s a wide audience for the Baba Boogie story, and she’s looking for an agent (if you happen to know anyone).
And she’s confident of something else: that her feminist brand of Goddess worship will live on.
She was born Zsuzsanna Emese Mokcsay in Hungary in 1940 under the sign of Aquarius. To those who believe in the zodiac, Aquarians are independent, rule breakers, free spirits.