Annually, the members of the Amazon Priestess Tribe each select an historical woman leader, artist, activist, or personal family member to study in depth as her Ancestress of that year. Over the years, I have enjoyed the stories and wisdom of welcoming notable women such as Ai-Churek, Marie Laveau, Frida Kahlo, and others to my altar.
This year, I have been tapped by a few different members of the Women's Reform Movement of the turn-of-the-20th-century United States. So I sent the following to the Amazons for consideration, and thought I might share it with you, here, too.
You know the phrase, "History repeats itself?" Well, I'm sure many of us who have been watching the recent events in the US can see threads of commonality between the times we live in and other times in history. I see a great parallel between the problems facing us now and the problems that engaged women in the reform movement of the turn of the 20th century. These women reformers initially began meeting in small, social, self-improvement-based circles and then began to spread their messages of ecology, labor reform, social justice, and equal rights into the public sphere. They accomplished some amazing things during the most active forty years of the movement (from 1880's through about 1920), including the enfranchisement of women in the US. Later, FDR placed many seasoned leaders from this movement in key government positions under his administration. They significantly contributed to the programs, policies, and innovations of the New Deal, which gave us public schools, public water sanitation, standards of food processing, labor regulations, libraries, and more. Now that many of these areas of society have been eroded by corporate greed (as they were back then, also) I am planning to connect with an Ancestress from this time period to inspire me to be a powerful and positive part of shaping our changing society. I feel, as a High Priestess, that this is a part of our role: the creation of culture.
The National Women's History Museum has prepared an enjoyable, easy-to-follow, extremely readable timeline of significant women, organizations, and events of the Reform movement era. As we begin to consider Ancestresses for 2012, I thought some of you might find these women as inspiring and their work as relevant to our current times as I do. I highly recommend reading this brief page, and then clicking "Next" through the presentation. It is some of the best online women's history I have seen to date.