As far as I know, this is the first public publication of the response of Dianic High Priestess Ruth Barrett and the Temple of Diana to Z Budapest's recent announcement concerning what transpired during Z's visit with Claudiney Prieto of Brazil. We have received Ruth's permission to publish these statements here. They were previously published on Ruth's Facebook "friends" page. Z's announcements and press releases are published on her blog and we link to them in the following information. I am not a Dianic Witch in Z's or any other lineage. I'm presenting this material because I consider these groups and individuals, and their opinions and actions, important to the greater Goddess community and spiritual feminists.
In an August 13 post to her blog, Z Budapest, founder of the feminist Dianic tradition in the United States, announced that she had blessed or ordained (depending on when you've read the post/press release or whom you ask), Prieto, Brazilian leader of the Dianic Nemorensis Tradition.
The Temple of Diana, founded by Ruth Barrett, responded:
August 16, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dear Temple of Diana Community and our Dianic Sisters everywhere,
We feel it is our responsibility as the first national Dianic Temple sourced from the Z Budapest lineage to respond to the recent ordination in Brazil by Z Budapest of Claudiney Prieto, as the first Dianic High Priest in our tradition. This unprecedented event was announced in their own words publically on Facebook on August 10th by both Budapest
and Prieto as an “ordination”. Subsequently the wording of the post was changed after initial uproar, to a “blessing” of his work. It is also a matter of public record, posted on the internet by first hand witnesses, including Sorita D’Este, who posed in pictures of herself with Claudiney after what she described as his “historic” ordination into the feminist Dianic tradition by Z Budapest.
In addition to the changes in wording, it is also evident from the many photographs taken on Prierto’s Facebook page that he is wearing the identical “kata” that Budapest has used to signify Dianic High Priestess ordinations in recent years. Since Prieto received the Kata from Budapest in this ceremony, it is evident that he was ordained as a High Priest in our Dianic tradition. As Budapest has written herself, “The Kata is a pure silk white scarf which is given in our tradition to those who are elevated.”
Temple of Diana, and other Dianic sisters would have been thrilled to stand with Budapest if this had been honoring a goddess-centered man in spiritual service by blessing him and his work. However, this is not what happened. Budapest’s actions are contradictory to the foundation of our Dianic female-centered tradition. We are truly baffled that Budapest would ordain a man in a tradition that excludes him. For us, it is impossible for any male to participate in Women’s Mysteries, or any female-embodied Mysteries tradition, given our physical/cellular differences, and socialization from birth. This is why our tradition excludes males and trans-individuals wishing to attend or be included in our rites, and why there has never been a male Priest in our tradition however sympathetic with our tradition he may be.
We will not recognize Budapest’s ordination of Prietro, or any man, as a Dianic Priest in our tradition, and most certainly not as a High Priest. The vast majority of Wiccan and pagan traditions already include all sexes. Our tradition was simply not created to meet the needs of male physiological and cultural socialization.
The bottom line is: Temple of Diana Board stands for the integrity of our Dianic tradition, as sourced and evolved from its origins in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s. Our national Groves will continue to provide spiritual service to women and girls, and to maintain the core values of our religion based in providing life-saving female-only space and Women’s Mysteries.
Board of Directors
Temple of Diana, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Members of the Dianic Tradition in the Zsuzsanna Budapest Lineage
August 20, 2014
I feel joyful that Z Budapest decided to tell the truth at last. However, it is evident that Z used me as her excuse for not being honest in the first place. It was her own words and actions that caused the media drama. There would have been no need for statements from me privately or from Temple of Diana’s Board of Directors if Z had told the truth originally. Her explanations of what happened in Brazil changed so many times in the public record, I know that many of us couldn’t help but notice this and document the ever-changing story. The letters we wrote were written respectfully and clearly, with no malice. We just wanted to hear the truth.
I don’t wish to continue correcting or commenting on several things written in the latest public statement from Z and the Women’s Spirituality Forum. I have to trust that those who are following this situation will do their own critical thinking on what has transpired and this latest spin. I hope that interested women will read about the role of the Kouretes as documented by Jane Ellen Harrison in Epilegomena To the Study of Greek Religion & Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (University Books – out of print, but can be found). Kouretes often served as caretakers of children, dancers, initiators of male children into Men’s Mysteries, and guardians. As Dianic separatists we have no need for Kouretes, we have our own Priestesses of the Guardian Path who provide spiritual service by protecting our circles from possible intruders, plus we do our own dancing and child care.
With our paths diverging now, I release my commitment to Z Budapest that I made on Halloween night in 1980. I bless Z’s new direction and wish her well.
My sacred commitment to provide and ensure Dianic female-only space, our female Mysteries, and our female-only clergy will continue as it has been.
I am thankful knowing that I have truly done my best to stand in my integrity with the responsibility I took on so long ago. I bless the path before me and my Dianic sisters as we continue onward.
In Her Service,
Ruth Rhiannon Barrett
Labels: Goddess traditions, Pagan issues