Monday, April 19, 2021

Wisewomen and Power


For centuries the visionary and healing gifts of women went underground in Europe (19 Good Friends) existing on the fringes of culture, often persecuted by religious zealots. Within the Christian church however, some women found their voice in sacred songs and visions (20 Hildegarde) such as Hildegard of Germany and Julian of Norwich who are still regarded in the Christian tradition as pivotal. Again, in the late medieval era, women mystics became persecuted by authoritarians. Outside organized Christian religion a sect of women lived in early communes, also served the community and had visionary experiences; they were called the Beguines[1] (21 Beguine). Experiments in religion and science brought about the illegal study of Alchemy. Where most European women were involved only symbolically in the mystical practice; in China Master Teacher Geng[2] (22 Master teacher Geng) rose to prominence in ninth century court by spinning snow into silver. She was an important imperial court Tang Dynasty counselor.




[1] Neel, Carol,” The Origins of the Beguines”, Working Together In the Middle Ages: Perspectives on Women’s Communities, Vol 14, #2, Winter 1989, Univ of Chicago Press, pp321-341

[2] Wh Shu, Chiang Huai L Jen Lu (Records of 25 Strange Magician Technicians between the Yangtze River and the Huai River) circa 975 CE

Saturday, March 20, 2021


The recurrence of the seasons continue to encircle our lives,

As in the past gave celebrations to our ancestors.

Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice,

Fall Equinox, and Winter Solstice

Mark those passages in a yearly cycle all over the world.

We have learned to plant food and medicines

In accordance with the agricultural calendar;

We dance in a circle to celebrate the planting,

Harvesting, and the storing of food.

Buildings, monuments, and spiritual spaces;

Have been built by our ancient civilizations,

To align with the celestial movements that determine

The four seasons at the point of each transition.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Exerpts from "Women and Power"

 The Ancient Oracles:


Delphi 3


Flight of Birds

Oracle at Persia

Ammon Sibyl


Sibyl of Cuma

Oracle at Thebes

The echoes of our Earth Mother’s song resound through time. The voice was passed from generation to generation, woman to woman for centuries. Beginning in this presentation are the legendary oracles called Sibyls. There were thirteen associated with place from Thebes (8 Thebes) to Cuma. (9 Cuma).

They often spoke in poetry or riddles and went through ecstatic traces[1] (10 Delphi 2). These ancient women were in Africa [2](11 Ammon), Greece, Italy (12 Samos), Palestine and Persia (13 Persia)). The sybils used a variety of techniques that foretold futures, resolved conflict or warned of impeding events. Some wrote on scrolls ( as in the Cumean Sybilline Books[3]), cast stones, bones, shells inhaled the vap

ors of the earth, went to inner worlds or read the flight of birds ( 14 Flight of Birds).  Dodona was one of the first sites were woman oracles were proclaimed divine (15 Dodona). Greek mythology tells us of Zeus marrying Dione and usurping control of her garden[4].

[1] Herodotus (490-425 BCE), The Histories, Peguin Books, 1994, p.147

[2] Juvenal (55-140AD), The Sixteen Satires Satire VI, Cambridge Univ Classics, Univ. Sidney, 2014, p.251

[3] Smith, William, “Sibyllini Libri” A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London 1875

[4] Plato, (428-348 BCE), The Collected Dialogues, Princeton Univ. Press 1961, p.1620

Monday, March 8, 2021

International Womans Day March 8 2021


“The Grandmothers”


It is the time for the latent

Power of women to return.

The Spirits reach out to the earth

And all inhabitants.

It is a time of transition;

The view of one dominant

Culture is to be transformed

Into the perspective of many;

As thoughts of war turn

Into negotiations of peace,

Eliminating injustice, domination and discrimination.

The ancestors have told us,

Women elders speak with the strength

Of generations.


Copyright 2008 T. Truesdale


Thursday, February 18, 2021

The resilience of African American Art: Harriet Powers

 Harriet Powers (1837-19110) Textile artist/Storyteller/Wise Woman was born into slavery in Athens Georgia. Her quilts are legendary in that they clearly show the direct influence of African decorative arts. American slave culture was far more complex and secretive than history allows in our Eurocentric telling. Harriet’s parents were probably from the Kongo or central Africa but her quilts show a distinct west African style. The Dahomey applique artists were traditionally males working in guilds and highly esteemed in their ancestral role. Harriet’s quilts show this strong influence as well as in the design which uses a vertical format often seen in west African textiles such as kente cloth. She very probably learned this from other slaves in secret conversations where oral history was heard.

Imbedded into her quilts are mnemonic messages, as reading was forbidden to slaves; information, aesthetics and information was transmitted, and stories preserved for future generations in this colorful symbology of textiles. Her beautiful quilts are testimony to the interconnected society for the kidnapped African people from many diverse nations, where all identity appeared purposely to have been stripped. And yet culture was continued in plain sight in the arts, food, religion and voice. Harriet’s use of symbolism in her art included the Biblical as well as from many African societies.  

Monday, February 15, 2021

exerpts from Woman of Prophecy, Women of Power


Outside the ruthless western march for supremacy, women often paid roles in resistance to slavery, colonialization and oppression


Powerful women were spiritual leaders and healers in Quilombos[1] (25 Palmares: New World Priestess); these were independent republics of escaped slaves, Indigenous people and disenfranchised whites. These settlements survived for centuries across the Americas and the Caribbean.

 Within the horror of slavery, women of power used their gifts to resist oppression and seek healing through use of traditional African religion (26 Conjurer Woman), art, dance (27 Damballah) and song.

all art and words copyright T.Truesdale 2020

[1] Reis, Joao, Jose, Quilombos: Brazilian Maroons During Slavery” Cultural Survival, Dec. 2001

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

exerpts from "Women of Prophecy and Power"


In New Orleans a mixed culture existed pre civil war where some women became famous for their ability to use the inherent magic of African roots (Marie Laveau born 1801). Our beloved Zora Neale Hurston wrote in 1928 in an interview with conjure doctor, Luke Turner[1]:


‘The police hear so much about Marie Laveau that they come to her house in St. Anne St. to put her in jail. First one come, she stretch out her left hand and he turned around and around and never stop until some one come lead him away. Then two come together-she put them to running and barking like dogs. Four come and she put them to beating each other with night sticks. The whole station force come. They knock on her door. She know who they are before she ever look. She did work at her alter and they all went to sleep on her steps”- Hoodoo chapter 2

words and image copyright T.Truesdale 2020

[1] Hurston, Zora Neal, Folklore, Memoirs and Other Writings; Mules and Men,( Hoodoo Chap.11) Library of America, 1995, pp183-184