Luminaries from A-Z

 We use the word “luminary” (from Latin “lumen-“ meaning “light”) to refer to men and women who have brightened our world in some special way.

Here’s a list of people, from A-Z, who have inspired us through art, literature, philosophy, spirituality, travel and more, encouraging us to become luminous ourselves.

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Amelia Earhart (1897-1939)
First aviatrix (female pilot) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
Navigator and history-maker who remains the ultimate inspiration for all explorers.

Dalai Lama (1935)
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

Eckhart Tolle (1948)
“Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)
F.D.R. is widely considered one of our greatest presidents, despite being confined to a wheelchair for most of his presidency.

Gandhi (1869-1948)
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968)
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Joan of Arc (1412-1431)
Teenage freedom fighter whose courage inspired a nation to rise against oppression.

Kabir (1440–1518)
“But if a mirror ever makes you sad, you should know that it does not know you.”

Lao Tzu (604-531 B.C.)
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Nelson Mandela (1918)
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
“Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
“I plead with you--never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

Queen Elizabeth the First (1533-1603)
“Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak, you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“To thine own self be true.”

Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor”

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Malcom X (1925-1965)
“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”

Yo-Yo Ma (1955-  )
“Things can fall apart, or threaten to, for many reasons, and then there's got to be a leap of faith. Ultimately, when you're at the edge, you have to go forward or backward; if you go forward, you have to jump together.”

Zelda Fitzgerald (1900-1948)
“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”