What do 100 women "hold" sacred?
Watch this 3-minute movie to find out

  • What do you consider sacred, holy or an outward representation of your innermost self?
  • What could you hold in your hands to represent that?

BLESSED ARE THESE HANDS fulfills a vow to honor women in a creative way: with portraits of women's hands holding something that represents their deepest values. Featuring Jean Shinoda Bolen, Z Budapest, Pat Fish, Ava Park, Diana Paxson, Susun Weed, and 55 other extraordinary women, the book illustrates women’s spiritual views and practices that center on nature, art, work, hobbies, family bonds, as well as religion.

We asked each woman to let us photograph her hands holding something she considers "sacred, holy, an outward representation of her deepest self." BLESSED ARE THESE HANDS shows photographs and tells stories of these women holding something that represents her deepest values. The book highlights women's sense of the sacred and chronicles the breadth of women’s spirituality today.

newborn in a nurse'shandsFrom perinatal nurse Maria Fraser's hands cradling a newborn to an 80-year-old holding an austere egg, BLESSED ARE THESE HANDS celebrates the extraordinary spirit of women.

hands holding Hindu kalashThe portraits reveal the range of objects that women hold sacred. Not surprisingly, religious symbols like rosary beads, a Jewish star, an Egyptian ankh and Bharti Mathur's Hindu kalash (left) have their place in women’s hearts and hands.

Women make commonplace objects sacred too: a feather, a guitar, car keys, seed packets, breasts....hands holding tools

Monica (Payton) Smith holds her favorite tools (right) because “.... in my relationship with myself and others, I've come to know that using the simplest of tools works well.”

hands holding rice that form a heart shapeTheresa Hernandez cradles rice (left) because “...you can’t be Filipino without rice being around you your whole life. So I hold rice in my hands in honor of my paternal grandparents who were rice farmers.”

In these portraits, hands give the clues about the women. BLESSED ARE THESE HANDS' hands-centric portrait style is distinctive and proves revealing. The photographs capture only women’s hands. Hands often mask race, frequently conceal age and class, and rarely reveal sexual orientation. No matter their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or occupation, these women make clear what they hold sacred. A visitor to our online photo gallery noted, “I am amazed that hands can tell us so much about people.”

Namaste / Bright Blessings,
Susan & Marvelle

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fulfills a vow to honor women in a creative way - with portraits holding something that represents their deepest values.

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Blessed Are These Hands
by Susan Kullmann &
Marvelle Thompson
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