© Copyright 1992, 2017 by Timothy Conway, PhD
Dear reader, please enjoy here a massive online book, a treasure-trove of information on the most remarkable women sages, saints, teachers, healers, seers, social-change agents, and other adepts in our planet's history, or her-story. This 1992 book is a social-justice endeavor to redress the evils of patriarchy that for too many centuries and millennia have tried to ignore or actively suppress women's roles in spirituality and religion.
In late October 2017 I finally took about 120 hours to re-format and upload this vast "narrative encyclopedia" sourcebook, Women of Spirit, a project on which i spent a few full years back in the early 1990s. It is the equivalent of about an 800-page book. In late November 2017 I added the "Women's Wisdom" component of this project from the early 1990s: another 400 pages worth of spiritual teachings and testimonials from many dozens of these women. So here is the equivalent of a 1,200-page tome... available to you entirely for free!
This research project already yielded one tangible fruit back in the mid-1990s, the published book Women of Power and Grace: Nine Astonishing, Inspiring Luminaries of Our Time (Wake Up Press, hardcover edition, 1994 / softcover edition, 1995, 352 pages).
Here, at last, is the previously-unpublished manuscript of Women of Spirit, on which the WPG book was partially based (the WPG book added biographical and teaching material not given here).
The present online book, Women of Spirit, presents (at greater-or-lesser length) MANY HUNDREDS of women spiritual adepts and religious leaders of East & West, as well as their formidable institutions or sisterhoods (religious, charitable, educational), and also discusses numerous "Goddess" and/or archetypal "Female Guide" figures. I present, too, the various scholarly views on how women were silenced, persecuted, diminished, marginalized, and/or co-opted by ignorant males abusing their positions of power. And I have featured various wisdom teachings, devotional utterances, and spiritual testimonials from many dozens of these women.
Consider this, then, a far-ranging survey of the world's major and minor religions (old religions of the Great Traditions and new religious movements or NRMs of more recent centuries), but a sourcebook that finally sheds a bright light on women's contributions... Again, this is intended to be her-story, not his-story, though of course we will have occasion to mention or discuss in passing many key male figures throughout this work.
In this book-length section of our website are presented more details on more women spiritual leaders than anywhere on the internet or anywhere in print.
The book, while it is as thorough as reasonably possible for past eras, is only current up to around year 1992. Since that time (now 25 years later), some of the women of the modern era who were alive at the time of my writing have shifted beyond the earth-plane, institutions have died out or changed focus, and other women and institutions have newly arisen for the present generation. It will take several hundred more hours of work to bring this Women of Spirit project up to date for year 2017 and beyond. IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO HELP OUT IN FINISHING THIS UNPAID LABOR OF LOVE, please contact me (see email address at bottom of page). Perhaps at some point a small team could be organized to finish the work and then maybe keep it going as an open source project.
For instance, if i were adding new material to this sourcebook, i would share with the reader extensive information about and inspiration from stellar figures including Catholic mystic and miracle woman Maria Esperanza of Venezuela (1928-2004); Taiwanese Buddhist nun Cheng Yen (Zhengyan; b. 1937), foundress of the renowned Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation; as well as some really impressive Chinese Chan, Korean Seon, and Japanese Zen nuns such as the towering sage Daehaeng Kun Sunim (1927-2012) of South Korea. And numerous other women of east and west from our sacred traditions who have come to my attention since the early 1990s.
Please feel free to read this book in any order you like. Just scroll down here to click on the corresponding web-link to get to the lengthy Introduction or to any of the chapters 1 through 9 listed below. I do recommend that anyone wanting to read Chapter 8 on women of Protestant and Pentecostal Christianity would do well (for better context) to first read Chapter 7 on women and feminist issues of early and medieval Christianity.
For much easier referencing of the endnotes to each chapter (including the Introduction), you may wish to open the Endnotes webpage in a separate Internet browser tab, and keep it open as you access each of the chapters in the original tab.
NOTE: This online book's present formatting is not nearly as precise as i would like (in terms of line spacing, consistent font sizes, etc.), but it is far more readable than when i first tried to upload the bulky, glitchy old Word-files!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Recovering Our Real Heroes/Heroines
Holiness, Role-Models, Feminism, and Other Issues
Notes to the Reader
Interdimensional Beings and UFOs: A Relevant Phenomenon?
The Real Story of Our Matriarchal Origins, and the First Holocaust
Clarifying Basic Issues (Nonduality, Renunciation & Transcendence, Emotions, Sexuality, Procreativity & Creativity, Miracles, and Energetic Phenomena)
Introduction to the Women's Wisdom Teachings & Testimonials