Founder and Creative Director, Holy Women Icons Project
Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber is the Founder and Creative Director of the Holy Women Icons Project. She holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion. A professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, she is the author of seven books. As an author and professional artist, she is creating a retreat center with her wife and child on Hawai'i Island as a part of the Holy Women Icons Project non-profit.
In Genesis 1 we read, “In beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
Depicted clockwise: Spirit of Maná, Spirit of Aloha, Poli’ahu, Pelé, Hina, NāMaka, Papahānoumoku
It started with Pelé, the Hawai’ian Volcano Goddess who governs fire, lightning, volcanoes, and the flow of lava. When my little family set off on a big adventure in June 2015, I knew I’d research and paint her as a Holy Woman Icon.
Trigger warning: description of addiction and substance abuse
I’ll never forget telling my younger brother that I’m gay. He asked if I was dating anyone. Since he’d recently met the person I was dating, I simply told him who she was. He responded, “Damn, I was planning to ask her out. Well done, Ang.” From there, he became one of my biggest supporters, always quick to correct or call out anyone who said anything disparaging about LGBTQ people.
Last month, my column focused on the importance of intersectionality within the LGBTQ movement by highlighting the revolutionary work of Sojourner Truth, an escaped slave, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist.
I’d like to continue to press the importance of intersectionality, particularly given our current political state.
Lilith has been a misunderstood, appropriated, and redeemed woman throughout the ages. Many feminists claim her as an empowering figure in Jewish mythology, with contemporary artists such as Sarah McLachlan, who created the all-women music tour, “Lilith Fair,” reclaiming her story.
It’s no secret that the holidays are often a difficult time for queer people. Disproportionately estranged from family means we often must create our own family. While these chosen families can be tremendously life-giving, it’s tough not to long for our families of origin during Christmas time.
Many still in relationship with family are forced to retreat to the closet for fear of safety or exclusion this season.