Sacred Women of Africa and the African Diaspora

School of Consciousness and Transformation PARW 6787 3.00

This course explores the lineage of sacred women of power found in the cultural history, spiritual practices, feminine iconography, and ordinary and extraordinary rituals of diverse peoples of Africa and the African diaspora. We begin with the late-Paleolithic and early-Neolithic cave paintings of northern and southern Africa, tracing the goddesses, divine queens, and holy priestesses of ancient kingdoms in North, West, and Central Africa. We explore the sacred ancestors, holy mothers, ritual leaders, healers, and market women of the Yoruba, Ibo, San, and other African peoples, reviewing the similarities and differences exhibited in images, practices, and concepts of the African divine feminine. Luisah Teish, contemporary author, Ifa priestess and chief, leads us in embodied practices from a variety of ancient and modern African traditions. Contemporary writings, novels, films, and scholarly narratives are used to review modern controversies in African women's empowerment, rituals, roles and feminism.

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