Conjure Women: The Importance of the African-American Woman’s Fight Against Racism…..By Priestess Mona Reeves

Posted on Sunday 28 May 2006

Below is an excerpt from my master’s thesis Conjure Women: The Importance of the African-American Woman’s Fight Against Racism. It refers to Cassandra Wilson and her Blue Light ‘til Dawn CD. I ran across part of it unexpectedly and was quite inspired, so inspired that I did not want to keep it to myself, and so I am sharing it with you. The portion in italics touched my heart today and I am grateful that God saw fit to channel such words through me.

She has embodied the spirit of Sankofa– going back to learn from the past in order to move forward in the future-and even has an acapella chant on Blue Light that she created herself entitled “Sankofa.” This song is a call to the ancestors for guidance and strength, an acknowledgement of their power.

Oh Sankofa, high in the heavens you’ve soared,

My Soul wants to follow you,

Back to yesterday’s moon,

Will it remember me?

Back to yesterday’s sun,

It will rekindle me.

Rekindle the spirit into tomorrow and high on the wind,

Sankofa flies again and again.

Wilson performs all the vocal parts, creating intricate harmonies with a hauntingly spiritual quality. It has the hum of Negro spirituals, the drumbeat of Africa. It is a call for connection—connection to the past, present, and future. It is a powerful reminder of the power and the strength of the African spirit which lies inside African Americans. It is a call to awaken that spirit in those who are unaware of its presence and a boost of support to those already connected. It is about touching the heart, opening up to the light, and living in the world from a place of power. It is a call to shed the victim role, release occupation of the place of the downtrodden, and claim our rightful place in the scheme of the human landscape. It is about being a Conjure Woman; taking energy, stirring it up, and creating positive change with it.

Anyaa McAndrew @ 5:24 pm
Filed under: Of Interest to Women

Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870 by Julia Ward Howe

Posted on Sunday 28 May 2006

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
More information on Julia Ward Howe’s efforts and inspiration:
Anyaa McAndrew @ 5:24 pm
Filed under: Of Interest to Women

Women’s Blood Mysteries:by Adelheid Ohlig

Posted on Wednesday 17 May 2006

In matrifocal cultures, women are honored and seen as the Goddess. The power of their fertility, both to give birth and to green the Earth, as evidenced in their ability to menstruate, is respected and held sacred. Menstrual blood has been used through the ages as an Earth fertilizer par excellence. During planting season, women would plant the seeds and then fertilize the ground with their menstrual blood. The menstrual cycle is seen as creatively powerful, giving birth not only to children but all nourishment.
During the time of bleeding women’s ability to dream, have visions and attain altered states of consciousness is strong. When moontime visions are sought, answers come, whether of pottery patterns, or the location of herds of food animals, or solutions to social problems.
For thousands of years the blood mysteries of women were an important part of the life of most human societies. The rituals that women create for their own well-being, to protect and nurture their extreme psychic sensitivity and power during menstruation and menopause, childbirth and puberty, serve all of society, not only the individual woman. About 5000 years ago, this changed in many places, most notably Europe. There, matrifocal wisdom has been repressed, and the special menstrual/menopausal/fertility rituals that once nourished all have been calcified into rules and taboos and used to create shame that separates women from their own power and the power of the blood mysteries.

(Continue reading…)

Anyaa McAndrew @ 10:14 pm
Filed under: Of Interest to Women

The Birthing Woman as Original Shaman-Goddess:Women were the first shamans

Posted on Wednesday 17 May 2006

In Shakti Woman, Vicki Noble refers to Geoffrey Ashe, a noted British scholar of shamanism, who has written that shamans were originally women, and that the oldest form of the word “shaman” refers to “female shaman.” Vicki writes, “Ashe is very clear about one thing that especially interests me: He says that ancient shamanism was not an individual phenomenon but something that was practiced by the female group. And the power of the female group is biologically rooted in menstruation and the blood mysteries of birth.” (p 13)

A shaman is one who flies between the worlds, and who has a foot in both worlds — that of the seen and unseen. When a woman bleeds, she enters the world of the unseen, the world of dreams, intuition and spirits. Because we, in the west, are not educated in these ancient ways of seeing, we do not know how to embrace them. But, with Goddess re-emerging, our memories are returning, and we are re-membering.

With the female group bleeding together, the collective vision is deep and profound, with far-reaching affects on the community. In matrifocal societies, it was probably true that tribal life was guided by the visions of women who bled together. Women accessing healing and wisdom in the unseen realms through their blood, in rhythm with the moon, together, was a primal shamanic art. And giving birth was also a primal shamanic art.

Monica Sjoo clearly gives her perspective on women’s shamanic art in New Age and Armageddon: “The ancient Goddess was the birth and death Goddess and fertility wisdom and shamanism are about crossing between the worlds. The birthing woman is the archetypal shaman as she brings the soul from the other realms into this world, forming and incarnating it within her body. She is mediator between the worlds and magically converts bread and wine into flesh and blood in mysteries of transformation.” (p 194)

Birth is certainly messy and bloody. It is intense, fierce, fiery and loud, but not violent. It is bloody from shamanic transformation. Birth-blood is the primordial ocean of life that has sustained the child in utero; the giving of this blood in birth is the mother’s gift to her child. The flow of blood is the first sign, following the flow of waters, that signals that new life is on the way, just as it is the first sign of a young maiden’s initiation into a new life at her menarche. The blood of transformation is miraculous. In Spanish, the phrase “dar a la luz”, to give birth, literally means ” to give to the light”. Giving to the light — mothers giving birth are giving light to new life through blood. The messiness and bloodiness of birth are the gift of the Earth–elemental chaos coming into form.

Honoring mothers as the first shamans honors all of us. Recognizing that without our mother’s love, nurturance, and healing wisdom we would die, shows us how to be in cooperation with the web of life. Respecting our mothers teaches us respect for the Great Mother.

Anyaa McAndrew @ 10:10 pm
Filed under: Of Interest to Women