Luisah Teish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Luisah Teish
August 2017
August 2017
Born1948 April 20
New Orleans, La.
OccupationArtist-Activist, Teacher, Presenter, Editorial Consultant, Life Guidance Counselor, Ritual Theater Director, Author
EducationInternational Institute of Integral Human Sciences (Honorary PhD); Wesleyan University (Certificate: Creative Writing Specialist); Stanford University (Certificate: Food and Nutrition)
GenreAmerican Literature
SubjectFolklore, Spirituality, Magical Realism
Notable worksJambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals; On Holy Ground: Commitment and Commitment and Devotion to Sacred Land

Luisah Teish (/tʃ/ TEESH;[1] also known as Iyanifa Fajembola Fatunmise)[2] is a teacher[3] and an author, most notably of Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals.[4]


Luisah Teish is an African-American, born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, Wilson Allen, Sr. was an African Methodist Episcopal whose parents had been two-generation servants and only one generation away from slavery. Her mother, Serena "Rene" Allen, was a Catholic, of Haitian, French, and Choctaw heritage.[5] Her original ancestry also includes Yoruba West African.[6] She is an Iyanifa[7] and Oshun chief in the Yoruba Lucumi tradition.[4]

In the late 1960s, Teish was a dancer in Katherine Dunham's group, where she learned and performed traditional African and Caribbean dances.[8] After leaving the dance company, she became a choreographer in St. Louis. In 1969 she joined the Fahami Temple of Amun-Ra, and it was here that she took the name "Luisah Teish", which means "adventuresome spirit".[8][9] She led the dance troupe of the Black Artists Group (BAG) in St. Louis after the departure of BAG's first dance leader, Georgia Collins.

In the late 1970s she became an initiate and priestess of the Lucumi religion.[8] She began teaching in 1977.[10] She currently resides in Oakland, California.[11][12]

Teish has said in an interview "My tradition is very celebratory - there's always music, dance, song, and food in our services - as well as a sense of reverence for the children. It's joyful as well as meditative."[8]

One author said she was the "perhaps the most well known.. Yoruba priestess.. of the [San Francisco] Bay Area" (2010).[12] Another author characterized her as "..well known internationally in Goddess circles as a writer and ritual-maker."[6]


  • What Don't Kill is Fattening: Poems by Luisah Teish (1980) Fan Tree Press ASIN: B0007BJRRE
  • Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals (1988) HarperOne ISBN 0-06-250859-8, ISBN 978-0-06-250859-1
  • Carnival of the Spirit: Seasonal Celebrations and Rites of Passage (1994) Harpercollins ISBN 0-06-250868-7, ISBN 978-0-06-250868-3[13]
  • Soul Between the Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing (with Dorothy Randall Gray) (1998) Avon Books ISBN 0-380-79142-0, ISBN 978-0-380-79142-2
  • Eye of the Storm (1998) E P Dutton ISBN 0-525-94032-4, ISBN 978-0-525-94032-6
  • Jump Up: Good Times Throughout the Season with Celebrations from Around the World (2000) Conari Press ISBN 1-57324-551-8, ISBN 978-1-57324-551-7
  • What Don’t Kill Is Fattening Revisited: Twenty Years of Poetry, Prose, and Myth (2002) Orikire Publications
  • Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies, and Mysteries (with Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa and Stephen Larsen) (2003) Destiny Books (New Edition of Song of the Stars) ISBN 0-89281-129-3, ISBN 978-0-89281-129-8


  1. ^ "Growing up in New Orleans; Learning from Elders; Connecting with Spirit (Part 1/7)". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ Lillian Ashcraft-Eason; Darnise C. Martin; Oyeronke Olademo (2010). Women and New and Africana Religions. ABC-CLIO. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-275-9915-62.
  3. ^ Malka Drucker. White Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America. SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2003
  4. ^ a b Casey, Laura. "There's magic between plants, food and beauty". Oakland Tribune [Oakland, Calif] 28 Oct 2006: 1.
  5. ^ Luisah Teish, Adapted from "Grandmothers Council the World" by Carol Schaefer, Trumpter Books, 2006[Usurped!]
  6. ^ a b Kathryn Rountree. Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-Makers in New Zealand. Routledge 2003. Quote: "In 1992 Luisah Teish, who is well known internationally in Goddess circles as a writer and ritual-maker, visited New Zealand. Teish is of Yoruba (West African) ancestry, although she was born and raised in New Orleans. She was the guest facilitator at residential weekend workshops in Auckland and Hamilton dedicated to exploring sensuality and creativity in ritual contexts. Her book Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals (1985) is well known among feminist witches in New Zealand"
  7. ^ "Luisah Teish". Great Mother and New Father Conference. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Albert, Mimi (January 1987). "Luisah Teish - Yoruba priestess, psychic channel, storyteller, shaman - describes her return to the goddesses and gods of her West African spiritual roots". Yoga Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc. 72: 33–35. ISSN 0191-0965.
  9. ^ Directory, Institute of Noetic Sciences: Luisah Teish, wuote: "In 1969 she received initiation into to the Fahamme Temple of Amun-Ra in St. Louis, Missouri."
  10. ^ Greta S. Gaard. Ecological Politics: Ecofeminists and the Greens. Temple University Press, 1998
  11. ^ Aikens, Charles. "Teish Says Oakland Deserves To Be Saved". California Voice [Oakland, Calif] 08 Dec 1991: 4.
  12. ^ a b Lillian Ashcraft-Eason. Women and New and Africana Religions, ABC-CLIO, 2010, pg. 129
  13. ^ "NEW IN PAPERBACK", Washington Post,[Washington, D.C] 15 Jan 1995: x.12.

External links[edit]