"DeShannon Bowens contributes to the much needed dialogue concerning the sacredness of sexuality, cultural influences on responses to sexual abuse and the important role of family in providing healthy sexual education. This collection of interviews will leave you thinking more deeply about your experiences, thoughts and feelings regarding sexuality. The stories told in Hush Hush can inspire readers to make more informed choices in the ways they approach intimacy, parenting and mental health."
Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis
Author of Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide
Iya Rev. DeShannon enjoys increasing awareness and changing lives by sharing information with others. While her preferred artistic expression is writing, she enjoys being interviewed on topics of sexuality & spirituality for podcasts like Unapologetic with Ebony and Janis as well as discussing African spirituality in Interfaith forums.
Iya Rev. DeShannon believes connecting with people on as many platforms as possible is the best way to facilitate change. Please enjoy some of her work below.
In this revised and expanded second edition of Hush Hush, DeShannon Bowens revisits her insightful interviews with the Peterson family. Bowens makes a compelling case that intergenerational healing from sexual abuse cannot happen in Black communities without releasing shame-based sexuality narratives from the past. Hush Hush, stresses the importance of empowered sexuality narratives and communication within families as a key component in preventing and ending child sexual abuse.
Black and Menopausal:
Intimate Stories of
Navigating the Change
This deeply empowering and personal collection of stories brings together a wide range of Black experiences on the menopause journey.
Drawing on the historical and cultural importance of storytelling traditions in African and Caribbean ancestry, this anthology breaks through a taboo topic that has too often been mired in shame and silence with courage and vulnerability.
⏤ Iya Rev. DeShannon wrote the forward.
A Road Less Traveled
By DeShannon Barnes-Bowens
This paper offers a glimpse into some of the author’s life experiences as an African American Ifa priestess and interfaith minister who finds meaning working in interfaith education in spite of the intersecting dynamics of racial and religious bias that often go unnoticed. It explains which religions were present at the first Parliament of World Religions gathering in 1893, who was excluded based on race and religion, and how the history of that event may influence who we consciously or unconsciously see and value in interreligious and interfaith spaces today.
If We Stay Silent, Injustice Will Persist
By DeShannon Barnes-Bowens
The creation of this article began on November 22, 2015 in Atlanta, GA after participating in an Interfaith panel focused on racial justice at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting. We believe the ancestors throughout history who’ve contributed to the freedom we enjoy today call us to consistently work toward undoing racism. Answering that “call” compels us to question why some Interfaith groups and initiatives are reluctant to name and address racism.
State of Formation
Articles by DeShannon Barnes-Bowens
The State of Formation is an online blog under the Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS). JIRS is a program of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College and Boston University School of Theology.
ICNY interviews DeShannon about Sacred Sexuality
By Petra Halbur
The reconciliation of sexuality and spiritually – body and soul – is a struggle for many people. Yet DeShannon Barnes-Bowens, a psychotherapist and an orisa priestess in the Yoruba/Ifa tradition, has found that these two facets of identity are not only compatible but inherently linked. In her clinical work with survivors of sexual abuse, and through the organization she founded, ILERA Counseling & Education Services, Barnes-Bowens draws on psychotherapeutic and spiritual models of care to help people of all faith traditions bridge the sometimes painful gap between sexuality and spirituality.
Africa’s Love Supreme
By Corydon Ireland
A conference on April 11 at Harvard will examine varieties of “Love Supreme” in the faith traditions of the African diaspora. Scholars, students, artists, and elders will investigate and celebrate practices that, more often than not, were scattered through the world on the dark wings of the slave trade.