Unveiling Centuries of Remarkable Women – Connecting Heart and World

Justine Durrell wrote about the lives of remarkable and surprising women from the past – highlighting their grace, challenges, and creativity to engender their living presence in your life.

PAULI MURRAY – A Wise Warrior

Without interruption, history wraps itself like a shroud around the embedded exemplar of its day―tending to slough off the colorful, creative multiplicity of humanity. But every so often with great effort and a little grace, a visionary warrior steps forward; someone with the burden of marginal social status who can connect the dots for others and provide guidance to interconnectedness. Dr. Pauli Murray was just such a person―a brilliant thinking Negro woman courageously abiding in a white man’s world. As a legal inventor, she rescued the United States’ Equal Protection Clause from its previously segregated use, to apply it to all peoples. As a civil rights activist, feminist, attorney, poet, writer, and Episcopal priest she broadened many previously-fixed attitudes and laws, and yet, many of us have never heard of her. This biography is offered to acknowledge and honor her remarkable life and character. I use her term Negro, as a word of respectability for her era.


Portrait of Li Qingzhao on a stone, Cui Cuo (崔错), attributed to Zhao Bingzhen school

I peruse the poems of Li Qingzhao (1084-ca. 1155 CE), pause, and feel her tears. There seems no space between us even though she brushed her characters 900 years ago in a language I cannot read. Performing epically, Li Qingzhao stood out in her own day―an era when Chinese women were discouraged from publically sharing their writings―and up to the present she is considered one of China’s greatest poets. I invite you to open to this most lyrical of ancestors for a glimpse into the mystery.


In 1973, Mary Daly topped the feminist movement with her publication of, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation. For a brief time, it appeared that the tidal wave of radical feminists―with the sun, moon, and earth all in gravitational pull―would attract men and women alike to overcome the dichotomies within their natures and cause an end to society’s “sexual caste.”

Marie Laveau – Voudou Queen of New Orleans

“Marie Laveau at Home” – Courtesy of the Artist Bob Graham. You can visit his website at http://www.bobgrahamart.com.

Unraveling the life and legend of Marie Laveau inevitably spirals into mystical forces of rhythm, religion, and cultural synergy. Beautiful, regal, and self-possessed, Marie applied her full power in antebellum New Orleans in a practical and tangible way that empowered other free people of color (gens de couleur libres), especially women.