From: “The Future Has An Ancient Heart”

By: Professor Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum Ph.D

(July 2005 – Berkeley University, California)

“Black African origin of the dark mother of a thousand names in the cultures of the world, as well as erasure of her African origin, are marked in the changing names of my ancestral paternal Sicilian town, Ragusa. The ancient name was Ragusa Ibla (diminutive affectionate for Anatolian Cybele) who was called Ibla Nera or Black Ibla. . . until the seventh century BCE when Greeks invaded Sicily and changed her name from Ibla Nera to Ibla Herae. . . thereby erasing her Black African origin and marking the decline of her status under the Greeks who associated her with the subordinated wife of Zeus.

black madonna

Christianization whitened her more and tried to destroy her gift of visionLucia, saint of light and martyred Christian virgin, offers her eyes on a plate to a rapist. In my interpretation, this is the African Black mother turned white sacrificing her…vision to the church. This interpretation is verified in popular stories wherein light comes out of darkness , an African belief. Both Isis and Lucia are associated with nurturance… Lucia…heals those who have lost their vision.


In the middle ages the culture of Sicily was Christian, Jewish, and Moorish… Afterward… monarchs of Spainbrought the inquisition to eradicate heresies, persecuting my Sicilian grandmothers… the almost total success of dominant church and state in stamping out deep (ultimately African) beliefs of Europeans…

spanish inquisition monty python

My hypothesis is that primordial and continuing migrations from Africa, as well as return migrations of ultimately African Semites from west Asia into the region Greeks called Europe, left a cellular and/or cultural memory that has persisted in descendants of African migrants everywhere on earth – despite the trauma of institutional suppression, inquisition, torture and killing, slavery, and persecution of dark others. Today the emerging memory of the African black mother and her values offers the possibility of world transformation.

inquisition wheel

spanish inquisition

study of dark women divinities of the world should be preceded by understanding that… the continuing belief in the African Black mother… is also evident in signs and in many ways of knowing. Black studies, feminist cultural history, genetics, archeology, anthropology, folklore studies, and ethnic studies, are coming together with other disciplines, notably clinical psychology and other studies of how we can access unconscious or preverbal knowledge , with controlled breathing, drumming…”



black madonna