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The Prophetic Path - Love and Liberation
The Prophetic Path - Love and Liberation

A Legacy of Liberation

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Author and spiritual director Therese Taylor-Stinson describes Harriet Tubman (1822–1913) as a public mystic and freedom fighter:  

[After] freeing approximately seventy enslaved family members and friends … she also helped liberate approximately three hundred other enslaved people while conducting raids on Confederate plantations during her service in the [U.S.] Civil War. She never lost a person. Moses, as she was later called by slave catchers and ultimately by those whom she liberated, was leading the way to the promised outcome…. [1] 

There was an active Underground Railroad conducted by Quakers and other religious objectors in the region, and there were also familial connections and friendships among the enslaved and free Blacks who cooperated with the Underground Railroad. These networks and their resources, combined with Harriet’s ingrained internal freedom, made it possible for her to mentally and emotionally overcome any physical threat from land or person. Minty’s [from Araminta, Tubman’s original name] ancestral connections to Africa were only one or two generations removed. She more than likely inherited her ancestors’ deep connection to the land and cultivated the necessary skills for identifying needed crops and resources on the land to nourish, to heal, and to soothe discomfort, among other talents….  

Minty, soon to be called Moses by the slave catchers and Harriet Tubman in her newly found freedom, had a deep connection with a Supreme Being and a deep conviction that she was called to her freedom in order to lead others to the same. Through the many strains of her service to free the enslaved within her reach, she can be firmly seen as a public mystic. Though her narcolepsy was a lifelong disability, Minty used those moments of unscheduled sleep to hear from a God who had no boundaries. She even used her brain injury to discern her path to freedom and to trust Divine leading. Harriet Tubman had a strong conviction to make her life and actions matter for the larger community. [2] 

Author and meditation teacher Spring Washam views Tubman’s prophetic witness as a “stream of liberation” speaking to us today.  

Harriet says, “Child, there is a stream of liberation, great compassion, and spiritual power that flows down through the Black church. Many heroes, heroines, and great beings come through that stream. The movement for Black liberation started in the church, we organized in the church, we prayed in the church, and that stream now flows down through you.”… 

[Harriet] restored and renewed a part of my root system that had been damaged and severed. I made another vow that I would never give up on our ancestor’s “dream” of a better world. If my task is to carry a piece of the movement forward, and to help build something new, then I humbly accept it. I too want a kinder world, a more loving world, a world in which justice and compassion include everyone. Through Harriet, you, me, and the spirited songs sung on Sunday mornings in Black churches, Moses is rising again. [3]  


[1] Therese Taylor-Stinson, Walking the Way of Harriet Tubman: Public Mystic & Freedom Fighter (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2023), 6.  

[2] Taylor-Stinson, Walking the Way, 40–41. 

[3] Spring Washam, The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2023), 96–97.  

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Taylor Wilson, Field of the Saints (detail), print. Taylor Wilson, Isha (detail), watercolor and cyanotype. Taylor Wilson, Ruah (detail), print. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

Artist Statement (Taylor Wilson): This collection is an exploration of iconic visuals.… Playing and replaying with what the ancients already knew and then taking the responsibility of sacred knowledge forward through modern expression with the Spirit. 

Story from Our Community:  

I’m so moved by this year’s theme of the prophetic path. No topic has been more meaningful and hope-filled for me than the need for public lament. I am grateful that so many of us as a community will continue to lament together as we pray for our communities and the health of the natural world which gives us life. We mourn together in the everlasting faith in a God who is Love. —Linda J.

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