Revillaging episode 7: God is Black Woman – Christena Cleveland on decolonising spirituality

Episode 7 of Revillaging features social psychologist, author, activist and public theologian Dr Christena Cleveland, chatting about decolonising our spirituality – the perfect start to a liberatory Advent.

I’ve been wanting to discuss how we navigate the issue of spiritual identity and belief in the context of community and belonging. Religious communities are often a site of toxic control and conditioning. What does it look like to leave them? What does community look like afterwards?

Listen now.

Christena Cleveland is someone I learn so much from through her learning community on Patreon (I encourage you to join her there), through her books and on social media, especially Instagram. She has course on right now on liberating the mind-body-spirit from white supremacy.

Her eBooks Jesus Our Black Mother Speaks and She Who Cannot Be Shamed, Tamed or Contained are both mind-stretching and soul food. We mention the latter early in the episode. In it Dr Cleveland centres a series of Black Madonnas from all over the world, starting with one in Trinidad, which is where I’m from. She talks about the Black Madonna as a way that people have continued to reach out to the sacred Black feminine, God as a Black woman. And in fact she has a book, which will be out early next year, 2021 called God is a Black Woman so keep your eyes peeled.

This episode is a reflection on community and how it is distorted by the colonial imagination and white patriarchy. We need to ask why we might show up in communities and feel no belonging. The conversation is also about becoming more self-directed in our spirituality and practising to discern and meeting our own needs, which includes asking, what divinity do we need?

If you enjoy this podcast and want to support the work I do across the internet, creating thought starters for justice, reclamation and transformation, in me on my Patreon. We talk about all things self-directed education, radical parenting and decolonisation over there. I’d love to hear your thoughts about any of the episodes I’ve put out this past year. And please do rate, review and subscribe to this podcast so others can find it.


[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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