Over twenty years ago, when I first started beading, I found this poem on a bead website. The words expressed exactly what I was seeking to accomplish with my beadwork, combining my love of beads with my desire to empower women.
(If you know who the author of this, please let me know! I'd love to give credit where credit is due.)
The Shield of Ten Thousand Beads
From warrior woman and priestess, temple whore and vestal virgin, maiden, mother and crone;
From seeking woman and weeping woman, from her who grieved and her who laughed, from mind woman and heart woman and womb woman, from the healer, the storyteller, the woman silenced by rape, the woman enraged, impassioned, angry, the woman who shouts with joy, the woman who sings with sorrow, the woman who moans in pleasure, the woman who screams with fury;
From the woman who calls the thunder and the woman who disappears on the wind and the woman who makes the corn grow, from moon woman and drum woman and star woman and stone woman;
From her who runs with the wolf, from her who hides in darkness with the bat and stalks the night with the cat and destroys her prey with owl’s talons;
From before blood woman and blood woman and moon pause woman, from mason woman who carves the foundation stone of the city, and commando woman who comes to terrorize the city, from the woman who crosses the desert and the woman who tends the hearth, from shore woman and mountain woman and prairie woman, from witch and midwife, nurse and charwoman, woman chanting in the midnight, woman swaying in the tropic breeze, woman driving on the freeway, woman hunting in the snow;
From the beautiful daughter of fire whom your eyes rested on with favor and desire, and from the plain daughter of earth who watched you, unnoticed from the shadows, from the woman who resisted and the woman who surrendered and the woman who stole your weapons;
From each of us: one bead and one bead’s worth of woman power, freely given that you need never steal it from us again.