And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a powerful, personal exploration of American women and their religions, weaving connections between Adrian Shirk’s own varied spiritual experiences and the prophetesses, feminists, and spiritual icons who have shaped this country.
Laced throughout this hybrid memoir are stories of American religious traditions shaped by women. Shirk collects the histories of astrologers, faith healers, preachers, priestesses, mambos, and mediums who’ve had to find their own ways toward divinity outside prescribed patriarchal orders. Each woman represents a pathway for Shirk’s own spiritual inquiries. She introduces us to the New Orleans high priestess Marie Laveau, the pop New Age pioneer Linda Goodman, the prophetic vision of intersectionality as preached by Sojourner Truth, “saint” Flannery O’Connor, and so many more.
Through her journey, Shirk discovers that, as the culture wars flatten religious discourse and shred institutional trust, more and more Americans are yearning for alternative, individualized, feminist routes through religion. And women, having spent so much time at the margins of religious discourse, illuminate its darkened corners.
And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a beacon to those who are searching for a spirituality of resistance, for an unsteady truth. It draws a line from our own era of unrest to the women who came before us, those fascinating innovators, boundary crossers, paradoxes, and radical justice seekers.
"A book with such a wide range of subjects might be written by numerous authors, but Shirk authors this collection solo, occasionally adopting different styles and voices . . . Readers could pick and choose essays, but they would be doing themselves a disservice, as the panoply of writing also serves as a memoir of Shirk’s life and thought."―Booklist
"Shirk writes with sincerity as she calmly details events, observations, and conjectures. In these stirring vignettes, she mixes historical accounts, interpretations, and fictionalized encounters to provide insight into her personal journey tracing the steps of American women who have sought out an alternative spirituality."―Publishers Weekly
“And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is the perfect hybrid of memoir and history. A stunning literary debut that will inspire you to reimagine everything you thought you knew about religion and politics in America. Here, feminism and God, poetic clarity and mental illness, love and spiritual questing, all come together like old friends who’ve missed each other for too long. Adrian Shirk is one of the great millennial thinkers. Read this book and be exhilarated.” —Ariel Gore, author of We Were Witches
“Adrian Shirk’s ingenious book And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy carries her reader through the wildest ride America has to offer: her religions. Here the Spiritualists’ dead, the pageantry of Voudou, the literature and Liturgy of Catholicism meet civil rights, social justice, feminism, ancient blood rituals, and tales of how Hollywood helped birth the first Pentecostal megachurch. Shirk makes all of it magnificently personal and thrilling. Like the best of Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Shirk has a bold and irresistible story to tell.” —Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark and Mr. Splitfoot
“This book is a pilgrimage. It takes us across the country, following in the footsteps of women who heard callings, strange knocks on the walls, and the voice of God. These spiritual geniuses shaped America’s path, and were often disregarded as kooks or charlatans by both the religious and secular world. Shirk treats these women with compassion and restores their dignity, while also candidly and with good humor exploring her own religious questions. This is a beautiful book written with great wit and a tremendous intelligence.” —Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project and Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, founder of Bookslut
“Adrian Shirk’s And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a powerful, even jubilant, reinterpretation of—and introduction to—female figures from America’s strange spiritual history as well as a tough-minded, open-hearted exploration of family mysteries. Full of righteous fire, and full of grace on the level of the sentence, it’s a passionate act of recovery that will speak to anyone who’s ever been beguiled by the unseen and unsaid.” —Carlene Bauer, author of Not That Kind of Girl and Frances and Bernard
“Adrian Shirk’s portraits of women prophets and mediums are closely observed and lovingly drawn. Her prose is rich, fresh, always surprising; she cracks words and images open at odd angles to reveal their hidden facets. So, too, with her choice of subjects: by juxtaposing Flannery O’Connor and Mary Baker Eddy, Aimee Temple McPherson and Sojourner Truth, Shirk illuminates unexpected affinities and lines of force connecting American women across history. Her light-suffused, dreamlike language is the perfect medium to capture the spiritual lives of these mystics.” —Ellen Wayland-Smith, author of Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table