Images of Divinity
20 Sunnyside Ave, Suite A
Mill Valley, CA

Images of Divinity is an independent research project sponsored by The Center for the Arts, Religion, and Education (CARE) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

China Galland, Director & Author

Brief History of the Project
Arising from the work of author China Galland, the Images of Divinity Research Project (IOD) was founded in 1987 and is now sponsored by the Center for Arts, Education and Religion of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA. The Graduate Theological Union brings together nine schools of theology and many institutes to provide a stellar environment for spiritual and religious studies.

The Project’s journey begins with China’s research into the story of the Buddha Tara.  At a time in which it was commonly held that only men could become enlightened, Tara publicly declared that there was no such thing as male or female and then vowed to be enlightened only in a woman’s body.  Further research led to another tradition little known to the West, the Black Madonnas of European Catholicism.  Soon she discovered Black or Dark Madonnas in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Philippines.  As the research continued, the veneration of dark, female divinities was documented in cultures including, but not limited to, Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, Native American, Haitian, Egyptian and African.

China’s first book, Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna, (Viking 1990/Penguin 1991, a new edition to be released in June, 2007) chronicles the need to find the feminine face of God and follows her journey through multiple cultures and religious settings.  The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion (Riverhead Books/Putnam 1998) celebrates the stories of powerful women making change in the world. Her latest book, The Keepers of Love: How Reclaiming an African-American Cemetery Brought a Community to Life, is forthcoming from Harper San Francisco. The Project has presented the material in China’s books in many other venues from workshops in prisons to seminary courses, university lectures, television and audiotapes. 

For a more detailed history, click here.

Currently, the Project is seeking significant, visionary funding to preserve the images and bring this vital and uplifting work to larger audiences.  If you would like to help Images of Divinity grow, you may donate here by clicking the button on the left or by emailing the Project.  As part of a not-for-profit educational institution, all contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.