Brigit Cross Making 2

February 1st:  Celebrate Brigit’s Day, Let Spring Begin!
By Diann L. Neu

Brigit’s Day, February 1st in the Celtic calendar, marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Brigit, the female figure of divinity of Old Europe, was said to “breathe life into the mouth of dead winter.”

And do we ever need spring! Winter ice and snow remind us that a thaw and a greening must be around the bend. Yes, it is time to say goodbye to winter, celebrate Brigit, and let spring begin!

You are invited to have ready a candle, a piece of cloth, a bowl of water, and a glass of milk.

Light Brigit’s Candle 
From Brigit’s Arrow Invocation, Traditional

 Most Holy Brigit, Excellent Woman,
     Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;
     May your bright fiery Sun 
     take us swiftly to your lasting kin-dom.

Glimpse Brigit’s Story
Brigit of Ireland was born in the middle of 5thcentury CE into a Druid household and taught the secrets of the old religion. She was goddess of hearth and master of fire. She founded a famous monastery in Kildare which housed a sacred flame until well into the 16th century.

As the story goes, Brigit asked a rich man for land to build the monastery. He offered to give her a site as far as her cloak would reach. When she spread her cloak, it encompassed all of Kildare.

This story places Brigit in the long line of female divinities throughout Europe and beyond who also used their cloaks to claim the land they needed for their work

Brigit’s cloak is the cloak of mercy, and an Old Irish blessing is
    May Brigit’s mantle protect you always.

Lay a Cloth for Brigit’s Healing Spirit
Tradition has it that on the Eve of Brigit, January 31st, people lay a piece of cloth outside. During the night, the Spirit of Brigit passes over it. On Brigit’s feast, February 1st, they take the cloth back in and tear it into strips and give them to loved ones for healing. This blessing is a gift to tired and weary spirits coming through the darkness of winter.

Put a cloth outside on January 31st. Red is the color of healing, but any special cloth will do.

Touch Brigit’s Well
As abbess of her vast monastery, Brigit performed many miracles of healing, using water. There are hundreds of holy wells in Ireland and Europe dedicated to her that have healing properties for those who honor them.

Put your hands in water and ask Brigit to heal you or a loved one in whatever way you need.

Hang Brigit’s Cross

Brigit was a form of the sun goddess, and her symbolism remains attached to the sun in the form of Brigit’s crosses. On the eve of Brigit’s Day, January 31st, people honor her memory by weaving crosses from rushes or straw. These “Brigit’s Crosses” are believed to bestow the saint’s special blessing on their households. On February 1st the old cross is burned, and the new cross replaces the old one above the door, hung each year to protect the house from fire. To make a cross, go to
http://www.fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html.

Hang a Brigit’s Cross and pray:
   Holy Brigit, watch over this house
     and this community.
     Mother of the Earth and Sun,
     Keep us safe and keep us warm.
     Give your blessing to each one.

Share Brigit’s Communion
Brigit is often depicted carrying a milk pail. The milk of the Sacred Cow was one of the earliest sacred foods throughout the world, equivalent to our present day communion. Milk represented the ideal form of food because of its purity and nourishment. Milk from the Sacred Cow was believed to provide an antidote to the poison of weapons. Mother’s milk was especially valuable and was believed to have curative powers.

Drink milk and pray “Brigit’s Table Grace” from St. Brigid’s Monastery in Kildare, Ireland:

 I should like a great lake of finest ale for all the people.
     I should like a table of the choicest food
     for the family of heaven
     Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
     and the food be for giving love.
     I should welcome the poor to my feast,
     for they are God’s children.
     I should welcome the sick to my feast
     for they are God’s joy.
     Let the poor sit with Sophia
     at the highest place
     and the sick dance with the angels.
     Bless the poor, bless the sick,
     Bless our human race.
     Bless our food, bless our drink, all homes,
     O God embrace.

Reflect with Brigit
Invite Brigit into your heart. Let go of winter, your winter. Open yourself to newness and to a connection to Divine Wisdom.

Receive Brigit’s Blessing

May the road rise with you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warmly on your face.
May the rain fall gently on your fields.
Until we meet again
May She hold you
In the hollow of her hand.

Watch and recieve Brigit’s blessing sung at a WATER ritual with Mary Condren here

© Diann L. Neu, D.Min., is cofounder and codirector of WATER. Special thanks to Mary Condren, director of Womanspiritireland for her groundbreaking work on Brigit. We are indebted to her for many of the ideas in this ritual.

 


Sun Winter Solstice Ritual 2013

 

December Ritual: Winter Solstice
By Diann L. Neu

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

December 21, the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, is the longest night and shortest day of the year. Darkness and light realign to call the sun from the womb of night.

The word “solstice” derives from the Latin sol meaning “sun” and statum meaning “to stand still.” It reflects what we see at dawn on the first days of winter when the sun seems to pause for several minutes in its passage across the sky.

Virtually all cultures have their own ways of marking the Winter Solstice using the imagery of light: lighting candles on a menorah, placing candles or lights on a Christmas tree, burning a Yule log, decorating houses with extra lights. Each effort beseeches the sun to return again.

This is a time to honor the sweet darkness, to praise the new light, and to gaze at the full moon. It is a season to see the stark trees and barren lands, to hear the quiet and silence, to smell fires burning, feel the blustery wind, enjoy the snow, and drink hot cider to warm us inside. This is a time to lie fallow and discover the mysteries that lie in darkness, including our own.

Winter invites a long journey inward to draw on natural resources and strengths. The starkness of the environment can bring inner clarity. The structure of the tree and the shape of the land are revealed as they are freed from vegetation. So too, we see our souls in stark outline.

We participate with Earth in this sacred cycle: death preparing for rebirth, emptying to make space for the new, light receding and returning. We rest and hibernate. We ponder and dream as darkness turns into new life.

Savor darkness for a few minutes. Turn out the lights. Sit in the quiet of darkness, and listen reflectively for two minutes.

Lighting Winter Solstice Candles

Light four candles to welcome women’s light into the world.

Light the first candle to honor young women who challenge us to new awarenesses.

Light the second candle in solidarity with middle-aged friends who work for peace and justice, especially gender equality.

Light the third candle to remember the elders who share their joy and pass on their resources.

Light the fourth candle for those who have died this year.

Inviting Our Light to Shine

When you celebrate the winter solstice,
May your light shine.
When you share love,
May your light shine.
When you work for peace,
May your light shine.
When you teach a child about justice,
May your light shine.
When you comfort someone who is ill,
May your light shine.
When you grieve the loss of a loved one,
May your light shine.
When you are challenged to change,
May your light shine.
When you (add your own intention here),
May your light shine.
Bless yourself with the light.
Your light will shine.

 

Taking Action
. Honor the solstice with an hour of intentional silence.

. Offer seeds to winter birds.

. Watch the sunrise or sunset and give thanks for the darkness and the light.

. Bring back the light by volunteering in your community.

. Read a book you have set aside, or see a film you missed when it first came out.

. Donate to a charity to help others find the light.

. Share something from your closet with those who need it.

. Add a place at your table and invite a friend to join you for a festive meal.

Sharing the Light

The light always returns. Of this we can be sure.
Happy Winter Solstice!

© Diann L. Neu, co-founder and co-directior of WATER,dneu@hers.com

Winter Solstice Ritual 2013

 


world aids day

December Ritual: Telling Love’s Story On World AIDS Day By Diann L. Neu

We are all people living with HIV/AIDS− those who are infected with this virus; those who have lost loved ones; those who care for them, and every one of us struggling to eradicate this disease. HIV/AIDS has changed our lives. Some of our beloved family members and friends carry or carried in their bodies this debilitating disease. Some have been discriminated against; most have been loved deeply. Each has surely felt anger and pain, hope and fear, support and loneliness. They are here with us now, reminding us that we must respond to AIDS: with love, tears, rage, compassion, hope, and action.
Light a Candle
Remember those you know who are living with HIV and AIDS, those who have died of AIDS-related causes, all who have been affected by this disease. I remember Shawn Sheffield who was born HIV+, lived valiantly with the virus, and died of AIDS at the age of five. The WATER community created Shawn’s wake and funeral with his adoptive moms and made his quilt panel for The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Pray for HopeJoin your candle with many candles, many lights.
As those who keep the night watch await the dawn,
Remain vigilant
Until a cure for AIDS is found,
Until those dying with AIDS are comforted,
Until love drives out injustice,
Until compassion reigns.

Look at the Face of AIDS

We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

We are friends, partners, lovers, family, neighbors.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

We are care sharers, justice workers, health care professionals, social workers, ministers.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

We are students, teachers, parents, sisters, and brothers.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

Some of us are wise elders; some are caring adults; some are searching youth; some are wonder-filled children.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

Some of us are lesbian; some of us are gay; some of us are straight; some of us are bi; some of us are trans.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

Some of us have or might get HIV.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

Some of us feel angry and sad, fearful and fragile, vulnerable and alone.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

We are multi-colored and many cultured people, we are one world.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

All of us are people of faith, awaiting the day when AIDS is a distant memory.
Response: We know the face of AIDS. You are here, right here in our midst.

Reflect

AIDS affects all of us and takes us to places where we would dare not go. How is AIDS affecting you? What love story do you tell? What would you want on your quilt panel when you die?

Remember and Respond

Compassionate Holy One, open our hearts and minds and hands so that we connect ourselves to the global community of others responding to AIDS.

We remember all those women, men and children in this country and around the world who are living with AIDS.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

We remember all who care for people living and dying with AIDS in their homes, in hospices, and in support centers.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

We remember all who are involved in research and hospital care that they may respect the dignity of each person.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

We remember all partners who are left mourning for their beloved ones.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

We remember all parents who learn the truth of their children’s lives through their process of facing death.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

We remember our responsibility to eradicate this virus and the social/economic conditions that make those who are poor, young, gay, trans, women so vulnerable.
Response: Justice demands that we remember and respond with compassion.

Act

Let us go forth to respond to AIDS: with love, tears, rage, compassion, hope, and action.

©Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, co-founder and co-director of WATER.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
November Thanksgiving Ritual: Return Blessings
By Diann L. Neu

Thanksgiving Table Cropped

Centering
This is the season of harvesting.
This is a time of giving thanks for all good blessings.

Lift your spirit and give thanks.
Lift your voice and return blessings for life.

Return Blessings
Return blessings, O Holy Ones,
So life’s cycles can continue with beauty, balance, and abundance.
May life’s cycles return blessings.

Return blessings, Sacred Earth,
So air, water, fire, and food can nourish all we hold dear.
May air, water, fire, and food return blessings.

Return blessings, Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
So all creation can share pleasure and do justice.
May all creation return blessings.

Return blessings, Crawling Creatures and
Winged Friends,
So Earth can be renewed.
May Earth return blessings.

Return blessings, Trees, Flowers, Rivers, Mountains,
So nature can refresh all spirits.
May nature return blessings.

Return blessings, Stars, Moons, Planets, Galaxies,
So wonder can nourish all visions.
May wonder return blessings.

Return blessings, Changing Seasons,
So life’s cycles can continue in peace.
May life’s cycles return blessings.

Reflection
Recall significant events when you received and gave blessings.

Finish this sentence: I return blessings for …
Share around your table.

Blessing the Meal
Hold a loaf of bread and return blessings. 
Blessed are you, Holy One of Thanksgiving, for you are the bread of life.
Blessed are you, Divine Spirit, for you sent your people manna as they wandered in the desert.

Raise your glass and return blessings. 
Blessed are you, Great Spirit, for you invite us to drink deeply of Earth’s bounty.
Blessed are you, Source of Life, for you beg us to drink this fruit of the vine in memory of all who have died.

Extend your hands to the food and return blessings. 
Blessed are you, Holy One of the Harvest, for you keep us yearning for a world without hunger.
Blessed are you, Sophia-Wisdom, for you gather us around this Thanksgiving table.

Eating the Meal
Let us return blessings with each bite we take!

© Diann L. Neu is co-founder and co-directior of WATER.

Gords cropped 2

 

 


October Ritual for Domestic Violence Awareness: Women Breaking Silence

By Diann L. Neu

Purple Ribbon

Background Information

Women and girls of all ages, economic status, race, religion, nationality, and/or educational backgrounds are at risk for domestic violence. This willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behaviors perpetrated by an intimate partner against another has a profound and long-term effect on the survivors. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

 

Facts from the National Coalition of Domestic Violence:

. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

. 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

. Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

. Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

 

This ritual was first created and celebrated in London with a group of women who gathered for a weekend workshop on violence against women. It has been adapted many times since. Use it as a model for the one you and your group need to mark your commitment to women’s human right to safety. Remember: all women live in fear of violence. For this ritual, have ready some oil and a bowl or shell for anointing.

The Ritual: A Call to Solidarity

Let us unite with women and children to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Let us remember the names of victims and survivors of domestic violence. Let us recognize that violence against women is a human rights violation.

Prayer

Compassionate One, you who feel our pain and cry with us in our anguish,
Be with us now and always.

Just One, you who rage with us against the injustices we experience,

Be with us now and always.

Loving One, you who shout with us “no” to violence in all its forms,

Be with us now and always.

 

Listen to Women’s Words

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”  Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.”

– Nicole Kidman, Actress

 

“You must do the things you think you cannot do”.

– Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady

 

“Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States.”

– Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman

 

“You can write me down in history with hateful, twisted lies, you can tread me in this very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

– Maya Angelou, Poet, Educator

 

“We are asking people to understand that slavery still exists today; in fact, according to a recent New York Timesarticle, if you count the number of women and children in bonded labor, domestic slavery or sexual slavery today, there are more slaves in the world than at any other time in history.”

– Charlotte Bunch, Activist

 

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

– Alice Walker, Poet

 

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.”

– Oprah Winfrey, Media Star

 

“None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.”

– Pearl S. Buck, Author

 

“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”

– Sally Field, Actress

 

“Intimate and international violence are as tightly interconnected as the fingers of a closed fist.”

– Riane Eisler, SAIV co-founder with Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams

 

“Conflicts raging across the Middle East today cannot be resolved without deliberate efforts to engage women and confront sexual violence.”

– Queen Noor of Jordan

 

“Faith is fundamental to addressing gender based violence across cultures. We must challenge the roadblocks we find in our faith traditions and call forth the resources so that faith leaders become part of the solution and no longer part of the problem of violence against women.”
– Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, FaithTrust Institute

 

Blessing with Oil

In solidarity with women and girls around the world, we call upon our sisters of the North, East, South, and West to bless and heal us.

 

Blessed are you, Enduring Spirit of the North,

For soothing us with oil when cold winds chill us to the bone.

Blessed are you, Comforting Sister of the East,

For refreshing us with oil when we need strength to renew our lives.

Blessed are you, Gentle Wisdom of the South,

For warming us with oil and caressing us with cool breezes.

Blessed are you, Healing Power of the West,

For easing our hurts and bruises with oil when we need to keep open to life’s changes.

 

Anointing with Oil

Receive this oil and

Reclaim your healing powers

For yourself and for others.

Touch your eyes, saying:

Bless my eyes that I may see clearly the pain of others.

Touch your ears, saying:

Bless my ears that I may listen to the words and expressions of those in pain.

Touch your mouth, saying:

Bless my mouth that I may speak words of healing.

Touch your heart, saying:

Bless my heart that I may feel with compassion.

Touch your hands, saying:

Bless my hands that I may touch with healing grace.

Touch your feet, saying:

Bless my feet that I may walk along a road of health and healing.

Touch your whole body, saying:

Bless my whole body that I may be filled with healing powers.

 

Interfaith Prayer: from FaithTrust Institute, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council.

 

We gather in sorrow as we recall so many women among us who have suffered rape, battering, harassment, and abuse. We gather in anger that these things continue with no end in sight. We gather in hope that our commitment and our actions will matter.

 

We come acknowledging that we have not always heard, we have not always acted; sometimes we have turned away rather than stand beside a woman who has been victimized.

 

Hear the cries of those who have been harmed, O God. We are here today and in every religious assembly throughout our land. Call to account those who have caused harm. Rebuke their careless and exploitative acts. Help us to teach them a better way.

 

Enlighten those who are called upon to help – judges, police officers, doctors, clergy, legislators, therapists and others – so that their decisions and actions will bring forth justice and healing.

 

Send us forth as witnesses, renewed in our commitment to stand in solidarity with every woman who has been harmed by abuse and violence, encouraged in our efforts to comfort the afflicted and confront the assailants, and emboldened to speak out in our own communities so that silence may no more mask the injustice of violence against women.

 

We pray for God’s love and justice to heal our hurt and to bring us to that day when women no longer live with fear in their homes, their workplaces, their religious assemblies, or their communities.  Amen.

Take Action for Domestic Violence Awareness

eyetear

Make a Commitment
What are you and your community doing to break silence about domestic violence?How are you making the world safe from violence against women?

Take a moment to make one commitment to end violence against women.
Idea: You could wear something purple on Thursday, October 24th, to honor victims and support survivors of domestic violence! This year marks the 8th annual observance of Purple Thursday, the awareness day launched by the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence that has now gone national with Purple Thursday observances in Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma.
Your commitment?
Now, let us make our commitments happen. Then we can all go home safely and a lot of prayers will be answered.

If You Need Help

For more information or to get help, please call:

THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE, 1-800-799-7233

THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE, 1-800-656-4673

THE NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HOTLINE, 1-866-331-9474

To Learn More
FaithTrust Institute
The Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence 
Clothesline Project
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Oct Ritual Shirt Going Home Shouldn't Hurt Cropped

© Diann L. Neu is co-founder and co-directior of WATER.

 


October Ritual for Breast Cancer Month: Litany of Solidarity

By Diann L. Neu

BreastCancerRibbonblack backgroundcrop
Put a bowl of water and a few stones on a table.
In Celtic mythology, stones have healing qualities.
They activate the power of holy wells.
Put a stone in the well and pray.

 

One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Put a stone in the water for every woman who hears the words: “You have cancer.”
 

Spirit of Life, give her strength to face the unknown, patience to go through the tests, and courage to make the decisions that are best for her.  
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

 

For every woman with cancer, there are family and friends who are shocked and grieving. Put a stone in the water for all mothers and fathers, partners and husbands, children and siblings, friends and colleagues who wait and watch.

Holy One on the Journey, give them strength to be with their loved ones.
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

 

Early detection is the best protection. Put a stone in the water for all involved in cancer research whose life and work make early detection, careful diagnosis, and the hope of healing possible.
 

God of Many Names, guide their minds to discover the ways of cancer.
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

 

The days of treatment are so long, the chemotherapy and radiation so scary, the face in the mirror is so strange. Put a stone in the water for all women who fight the exhaustion, the fear, the loss of hair and appetite; for women who fight back, who stay the course, and look fear in the face with courage and even with humor.

Holy One of Courage and Laughter, be near.
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

 

Faith, prayer, and community are sources of help and healing. Put a stone in the water for all the prayers and visits, the phone calls and cards, the food and kind acts that bring comfort and healing.

Holy One of Hospitality, surround us with community.
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

There will be a cure; there must be a cure! Put a stone in the water for all who believe in and work toward the day when cancer does not take the lives of women.

Divine Healer, send your healing spirit to bring a cure for cancer now. 
Let every woman hear: I am with you; you are not alone.

renewing water

© Diann L. Neu is co-founder and co-directior of WATER. This ritual is published in Seasons of Healing: Prayers for Women with Cancer,WATERworks Press.


September Ritual: The World Needs Peacemakers by Diann L. Neu

power-of-light
People worldwide are praying and working for peace, especially in the midst of the Syrian crisis and in the wake of the Navy Yard mass shooting. Most have a desperate desire to end violence in all forms. 
What kind of peacemakers do we need today?  Where are they?  How will we know them?  Now more than ever, we must call one another to be peacemakers.  Let us glimpse what peacemakers throughout the ages have passed on to us.
For this ritual, pick three favorite candles for the “Call to Gather” and provide a candle for each participant.

Circle of Peacemakers

We gather in a world at war.  We come not to debate politics but to pray for peace, not to create military strategies but to open our hearts to the Spirit of Love and Justice and to be part of the force that creates peace.  We gather to call forth peacemakers. (Light a candle)

We gather in the spirit of those who have died—may they rest in peace.  We gather in the spirit of those who are making decisions, hopeful that our prayers will warm their hearts and open their minds to a moral creativity that will bring peace without bombing and killing.  We gather in the spirit of the Divine who calls us to live in peace from generation to generation.  We gather to call forth peacemakers. (Light a candle)

We gather because we must.  We can’t keep from singing for peace.  We can’t keep from praying for an end to violence and the beginning of a new day for our children’s children and for us.  We gather linked in a special way to the people in Syria, praying for their safety, and hoping with them that this war will end. We gather mourning all who are killed in mass shootings. We gather to call forth peacemakers. (Light a candle) 

 

triad candles cropped

 

Naming the Circle

Let us create a circle of peacemakers.  When you hear the word “peacemakers,” who do you think of?  Speak your name and say, “I am a peacemaker.” (Sharing)

 

Chant: “Give Peace a Chance,” John Lennon

All we are saying is give peace a chance…

 

Prayer

All merciful God of Many Names,
Yahweh, Allah, Holy One, Wisdom-Sophia,
Your power and grace, not ours, sustain the universe.
Teach us to hallow your names throughout the world.
Response:  In your mercy, grant us peace.
You chose Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar
to birth many nations.
And you continue to speak through prophets and peacemakers in every land.
Forgive us, their offspring, for our wars and misdeeds toward one another.
Save us from further terrorism and destruction that all children may live in peace.
Response:  In your mercy, grant us peace.
Compassionate and merciful God,
Change the hearts of extremist organizations, hate groups,
And those who turn to violence as a solution.
Help us find together a way to peace that serves each nation and its people.
Response:  In your mercy, grant us peace.
Guardian of all life,
Guide the leaders of the United States and its allies,
Guide the rulers of Syria, Russia, and the Middle East
To act responsibly to bring peace and welfare to humankind.
Response:  In your mercy, grant us peace.
God of Peace and Justice,
Guide all religious communities around the world
To work for peace with justice
So that all may have food, housing, prosperity, and peace.
Response:  In your mercy, grant us peace.

 

Chant: “Give Peace a Chance,” John Lennon

All we are saying is give peace a chance…

 

Calls for Peace

Women have long called for peace.
Listen to some of them.

 

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace.  One must believe in it.  And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt, radio broadcast (1951), in Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor: The Years Alone (1972)

 

“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”
–Indira Ghandi, in The Christian Science Monitor (1952)

 

“September 11 changed the world.  Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.”
–Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) who cast the only  vote in opposition to S. J. Res. 23, Authorizing the Use of  Military Force (2001)

 

“New horrors require new moral creativity. The tragic events of September 11 challenge people of good will, especially religious people, to find new ways of handling conflict and dealing with difference… Moral creativity requires the deepest resources of our various religious traditions and the most profound insights we can muster. It is a process that prioritizes careful listening over reactive speech.”
–Mary E. Hunt, “A Call for Moral Creativity,” WATERwheel (2001)

 

“The quietly pacifist peaceful / always die / to make room for men / who shout.”

–Alice Walker, “The QPP,” Revolutionary Petunias (1971)

 

“Peace is when time doesn’t matter as it passes by.”

–Maria Schell, in Time (1958)

 

“Peace as a goal is an ideal which will not be contested by any government or nation, not even the most belligerent.”

–Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize, (1991)

 

“The struggle to maintain peace is immeasurably more difficult than any military operation.”

–Anne O’Hare McCormick, in Julia Edwards, Women of the World (1988)

 

“Indeed women have a place to fill and a stake to claim and a role to play in the world’s pursuit of peace. Indeed women have a right to … demand the feminine alternatives of listening and seeing and caring and relating and reaching out and feeling for the other that lead the world away from war.”

–Joan Chittister, OSB, Women & Power Conference, Omega Institute (2004)

 

“Acquire inner peace and a multitude will find their salvation near you.”

–Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Poustinia (1975)

 

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” 16th Century, Anonymous

Dona nobis pacem pacem, Dona nobis pacem.

Give to us peace…

 

Sharing and Candle Lighting

Take a candle, light it for world peace, and share your reflections, if you wish? 

(Sharing…)

 

many candles cropped

 

Litany of Peacemakers

Let us remember those women and men who, down through the ages, have worked for peace.  Let us ask them to pray with us for peace at home and in the world.

 

Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed, pray for peace.

Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham, pray for peace.

Anne Frank and Rabbi Heschel, pray for peace.

Mary of Nazareth and Francis of Assisi, pray for peace.

Martin Luther King and Mary McLeod Bethune,
pray for peace.

Pope John XXIII and Dorothy Day, pray for peace.

Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark, and Jean Donovan, pray for peace.

The Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers and Mahatma Ghandi, pray for peace.

Please share the names of other peacemakers,
pray for peace.

 

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” 16th Century, Anonymous

Dona nobis pacem pacem, Dona nobis pacem.

Give to us peace…

 

Greeting of Peace: The Prayer of St. Francis

Let us pray together:
All merciful God of Many Names,

Yahweh, Allah, Holy One, Wisdom-Sophia,

Make us instruments of your peace;

Where there is hatred, let us sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

And where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

Let us exchange a greeting of peace with one another. (Peace greetings)

 

Sending Forth

Go forth committed to work for peace.

May peace be before us and behind us,
beside us and around us.

May peace be above us and below us,
inside us and throughout the world.

So that all generations may live in peace forever and ever. Amen.  Blessed Be.  Let It Be So.

 

© Diann L. Neu is co-founder and co-directior of WATER. A variation of this ritual is published in Peace Liturgies, WATERworks Press.


August Meditation: God Laughing Out Loud by Mary E. Hunt

Below is a reading for you to meditate upon as Summer comes to a close. If you would prefer to listen to the meditation, click here.

In the beginning God enjoyed herself. She laughed out loud and laughed some more because it was good. She sat back and smiled. She clapped her hands in glee and imagined her sisters dancing.

She did nothing but enjoy and it was everything.

God knew that there was work to be done—a world to create, people to form and a whole cosmos to plan. She even glimpsed the fact that creation would include meetings and that there would be injustice to right, and still she laughed, knowing that in the end it was all about pleasure.

She explained to no one in particular that enjoyment is what she intended life to be about: pleasure is the first principle.

She knew that other would-be divinities stressed work and obligation. She reasoned quite astutely that if joy were the goal, then everyone could rest and relax, at least some of the time.

Just thinking about this made her grin.

Lightyears later, when creation came into being and people began to toil and sweat their way, she noticed that her first principle had been replaced by work and pain.

So she sent a reminder of her legacy. She gave it several names: celebration, recreation, fun, potluck dinners, fellowship. Some thought it was a vestige of days gone by. But God knew that it was the real thing.

She called it salvation.

Published in WaterWheel Vol. 1 No. 2 c 1998
Mary E. Hunt co-founder and co-directior of WATER


July Ritual: Rest at the Reflecting Pool Ritual by Diann L. Neu

For this ritual, pick your favorite bowl and fill it with water. When you are ready click here for a guided audio version of this meditation.

Or, if you would prefer to read the ritual, follow the text version below.

Rest your body in a comfortable place and relax.

Look into the water and calm yourself.

Come rest at the reflecting pool.

Blessed are you, Holy Wisdom,
for bringing rest to my body.

Blessed are you, Well of Stillness,
for surrounding me with calm.

When you are ready, dip your hands into the water.

Vietnam-water-bowl-rfw-1

Touch your forehead saying,

Bless me, Holy Wisdom, and bring rest to my body.

Touch your heart saying,
Bless my heart and rest my loving.

Touch your eyes saying,
Bless my eyes and rest my seeing.

Touch your ears saying,
Bless my ears and rest my hearing.

Touch your mouth saying,
Bless my mouth and rest my speaking.

Touch your breasts (or where your breasts used to be) saying,
Bless my breasts and rest my nurturing.

Touch your womb (or where your womb used to be) saying,
Bless my womb and rest my creating.

Touch your hands saying,
Bless my hands and rest my touching.

Touch your feet saying,
Bless my feet and rest my walking.

Take a deep breath and exhale saying,
Bless me, Holy Wisdom, and bring me rest.

Pause and enjoy your restful state for as long as you desire.

Think about how you incorporate times of pause into your daily and monthly schedule.

Imagine how you will take time to rest tomorrow.

Imagine how you will take time to rest this month.

Take time now to meditate, write in a journal, converse, draw, dance, or do something else that gives you pleasure.

You may pause this audio now, and press play when you are ready for the ritual’s closing.

Look into the water now, and calm yourself.

87614922 2

Give thanks for this time.

Go forth, refreshed from the reflecting pool.

Blessed are you, Holy Wisdom,
for bringing rest to my body.

Blessed are you, Well of Stillness,
for surrounding me with calm.

Drink from the water of your reflecting pool and/or pour it around your plants.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
www.waterwomensalliance.org


June: Summer Solstice Ritual by Diann L. Neu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59E85KdKSzM


April Pentecost Prayer: Come, Sophia-Spirit by Diann L. Neu

pentecostimage

Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon her people. It is the birthday of the Christian church. The Holy Spirit’s Greek name is Sophia. Wisdom is her English name; Chokmah is her Hebrew name; Sapientia is her Latin name.

 

Divine Wisdom, Sophia-Spirit, calls for the liberation of all from patriarchy and kyriarchy. This is what we celebrate today as we bless bread, wine, juice, and food.

 

Blessed are you, Womb of All Creation, Spirit-Sophia. With joy we give you thanks and praise for creating a diverse world and for creating women in your image.

Come, Sophia-Spirit, come.  

 

Blessed are you, God of our Mothers, Spirit Sophia. You call diverse women to participate in salvation history: Eve, Lilith, Sarah, Hagar, Miriam, Naomi and Ruth, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Tecla, Phoebe, Hildegard of Bingen, Sor Juana, Sojourner Truth, Mother Theodore Guerin, all WATER women, and countless others.

Come, Sophia-Spirit, come.  

 

Blessed are you, Creator of all seasons and all peoples, Spirit-Sophia. You call us to be prophets, teachers, house church leaders, ministers, saints, and to image your loving and challenging presence.

Come, Sophia-Spirit, come.

 

Blessed are you, Companion on the Journey, Spirit-Sophia. In your abundant love you welcome all to come and dine. You proclaim from the rooftops, “Come and eat my bread, drink the wine which I have drawn.”

Come, Sophia-Spirit, come.  

 

Come, Holy Sister, Spirit-Sophia, upon this bread, wine, juice, and food. Come as breath and breathe your life anew into our aching bones. Come as wind and refresh our weary souls. Come as fire and purge us and our communities of sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and all evils.

Come, Sophia-Spirit, come.  

 

As we eat, drink, and enjoy the Pentecost banquet, may Sophia-Spirit rise within us like a rushing wind. May Sophia-Spirit spark the churches like a revolutionary fire. May Sophia-Spirit flow through the world like a life-giving breath.

Amen. Blessed be. May it be so.


March Prayer: Praise Women Leaders for International Women’s Day
by Diann L. Neu

internationwomenleader

Praise to you, women leaders of the seven continents, for your many works of justice.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of Asia, for confronting trafficking of women.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of Africa, for raising your voices to stop AIDS.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of Europe, for your peacekeeping.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of North America, for confronting economic inequities and racism.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of South America, for struggling against U.S. domination of your land.

 

Praise to you, women leaders in Antarctica, for your scientific research.

 

Praise to you, women leaders of Australia, for supporting indigenous cultures.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

February: Celebrating Brigit, Goddess of Healing, Holy Saint by Diann L. Neu

February 1, Brigit’s Day in the Celtic calendar is the ancient feast of Imbolc which marks the beginning of spring. Brigit, the female figure of divinity from Old Europe, was said to “breathe life into the mouth of dead winter.”

Gather with friends or by yourself with a candle, a bowl of water, and a little milk, honey, and Irish Soda bread. (Recipe below).

Brigit’s Fire (Light a candle.)
From Brigit’s Arrow Invocation, Traditional
Most Holy Brigit, Excellent Woman,
Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;
May your bright fiery Sun take us swiftly to your lasting kin-dom.

Brigit’s Story by Diann Neu and Anna Roeschley
Greetings, Sisters! I am Brigit of Ireland. The stories and legends about me run deep and wide, but I will highlight a few for you. I was born in the middle of 5th century CE. My mother was sold to a Druid by my father, a chieftain, while she was still pregnant with me. Thus, I was born into a Druid household and taught the secrets of the old religion by my stepfather. It is said that my Druid stepfather had a vision that I was to be named after the great goddess Brigit.

Ancient Brigit was goddess of the hearth and of the sacred practice of smithcraft, which involved the mastering of fire. Because I channel Brigit’s characteristics, I am known as the Mistress of the Mantle. I represent fire and sun, and I am also seen as a sister and companioning figure. Some believe I was the midwife to Mary and the foster-mother to Jesus.

The context of my birth has great significance. I was born during a transitional time, as Ireland was moving from a time of the old religion into an era where St. Patrick and others were bringing the message of Christianity to the people. I was also born in a transitional location, the place of the threshold.

It is said that my mother was carrying a pitcher of milk at the time, probably coming in from milking the cows. As she crossed the threshold into the house, she gave birth to me, in a place neither in nor out, neither day nor night. In Celtic spirituality thresholds are seen as sacred places where the veil between heaven and earth seems especially thin, and people feel keenly the presence of the sacred. Even today, many hang my cross on their threshold or hearth to seek my blessing and to remember that the sacred is part of our everyday life.

Later in my life I returned to my biological father’s house. He and his sons tried to force me to marry, but I refused. Instead, I was the first person to free and organize Irish women into Christian communities.

I also founded a famous monastery in Kildare, which housed a sacred flame until well into the 16th century. As the story goes, I asked a rich man for land to build the monastery. He offered to give me a site as far as my cloak would reach. When I spread my cloak it encompassed all of Kildare.

Thus became the tradition of placing newly woven cloth outside one’s home on the Eve of Brigit for my spirit to pass over it. It is then torn into strips and offered to loved ones for healing. This blessing is my gift to tired and weary spirits coming through the darkness of winter.

St. Brigid’s Well in Kildare is reputedly a “healing well,” one of many in Ireland.

Brigit’s Well (Put your hands in the bowl of water and let water flow through them.)
As abbess of her vast monastery, Brigit performed many miracles of healing using water. There are hundreds of holy wells in Ireland and Europe dedicated to her and alleged to have healing properties. Wash your hands and face and ask Brigit to heal you or a loved one in whatever way you need.

Brigit’s Cross
Brigit was a form of the sun goddess, and her symbolism remains attached to the sun in the form of Brigit’s crosses. On the eve of Brigit’s Day, January 31st, people honor her memory by weaving crosses from rushes or straw. These “Brigit’s Crosses” are believed to bestow the saint’s special blessing on their households. On February 1st the old cross is burned, and the new cross replaces the old one above the door, hung each year to protect the house from fire. (Hang a Brigit’s Cross and pray:)

Holy Brigit, watch over this house and this community.
Mother of the Earth and Sun,
Keep us safe and keep us warm.
Give your blessing to each one.

Ritual of Bread, Milk, Honey
In Brigit’s role as Mother Goddess, one of her symbols is that of a cow. She is often depicted carrying a milk pail. The milk of the Sacred Cow was one of the earliest sacred foods throughout the world, equivalent to our present day communion. Milk represented the ideal form of food for its purity and nourishment. Milk from the Sacred Cow was believed to provide an antidote to the poison of weapons. Mother’s milk was especially valuable and was believed to have curative powers.

Take a piece of Irish Soda bread, dip it in milk and then in honey, and pray “Brigit’s Table Grace.”

Brigit’s Table Grace from St. Brigid’s Monastery in Kildare, Ireland

I should like a great lake of finest ale
for all the people.
I should like a table of the choicest foods
for the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
and the food be for giving love.
I should welcome the poor to my feast,
for they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast
for they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Sophia at the highest place
and the sick dance with the angels.
Bless the poor, bless the sick,
bless our human race.
Bless our food, bless our drink, all homes,
O God embrace.

Reflection
Invite Brigit into your heart. What do you resonate with in these stories of Brigit? What aspects of Brigit’s life do you relate to in your own? Open yourself to newness and to a connection to Divine Wisdom.

Brigit’s Blessing
May Brigit’s flame give you inspiration.
May Brigit’s girdle give you healing.
May Brigit’s creativity guide your way.

Recipe for Irish Soda Bread
Mix 4 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda,
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 c. sugar.
Add 1 1/2 c. raisins and 1/4/ lb. softened butter.
In a separate bowl, mix 3 eggs and
1 c. buttermilk. Add to above mixture.
Bless the dough by cutting a cross into it.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour in an iron skillet.

© Diann L. Neu, D.Min., is cofounder and codirector of WATER, dneu@hers.com. Special thanks to Mary Condren of the Institute for Feminism and Religion in Dublin, Ireland, for her groundbreaking work on Brigit. We are indebted to her for many of the ideas contained in this ritual. For an excellent guide to planning and preparing Brigit’s festivals see www.instituteforfeminismandreligion.org.


January: A Cup of Blessing for the New Year
By Diann L. Neu

Our lives can be viewed as three cups. Sometimes we are empty, waiting to receive. Other days we are filled with possibilities. Another time we are overflowing. 

Choose your favorite cup. Be ready to fill it with a drink you enjoy. Invite a friend or several to join you, if you wish.

Centering
This is the season of endings and beginnings.
Spirit of Blessing, surround me as I pause and give thanks.

Story of Three Cups
Once upon a time there were three cups.
The first was empty, waiting, ready to receive & hold whatever was poured into it.
The second was filled with possibilities, pleasing the senses with anticipation.
The third brimmed to overflowing, inviting the thirsty to receive its powers.

Look at Your Empty Cup
My cup, empty now,
will soon be filled
with drink.
Blessed are you, Holy Vessel, for the potential you offer.

Fill Your Cup Slowly with a Drink of Choice
As I fill this cup,
I see possibilities
pouring forth through me.
Blessed are you, Source of Life, for filling my cup again and again.

Hold Your Brimming Cup
This brimming cup, my cup,
is full of refreshment
and renewing powers.
Blessed are you, Sacred Well, for connecting me with new ways, new words, new feelings.

Drink from Your Cup
What do I need from this cup?
What do I accept from this cup?
What will I give from this cup?
Take time to meditate, write in a journal, talk, draw, dance, or do something else that gives you pleasure and insight.

Closing
This is the season of endings and beginnings.
Spirit of Blessing, surround me as I give thanks.

© Diann L. Neu, cofounder and codirector of WATER, dneu@hers.com


December: World AIDS Day Ritual – Remembering Love’s Story
By Diann L. Neu

World AIDS Day draws attention to the reality of HIV/AIDS that faces the world. The theme for this year’s World Aids Day is “Getting to Zero”: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination.

Light a candle.

Think of those you know who are living with HIV/AIDS, those who have died of AIDS-related causes, those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS.

These beloved ones are with us now. Remembering them reminds us that we are all people living with HIV/AIDS−those we remember, those who have lost loved ones, those who care for them, and every one of us struggling to eradicate this virus. HIV/AIDS has changed our lives.

Remembering the Face of HIV/AIDS

We are friends, partners, lovers, family, and neighbors.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

We are care-sharers, justice workers, health care professionals, social workers, and ministers.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

We are students, teachers, parents, sisters, and brothers.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

Some of us are wise elders; some are caring adults; some are searching youth; some are wonder-filled children.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

Some of us are lesbian; some of us are gay; some of us are straight; some of us are
bi; some of us are trans; some of us are queer.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

Some of us have or might get HIV/AIDS.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

Some of us feel angry and sad, fearful and fragile, vulnerable and alone.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

We are multi-colored and many cultured people.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

All of us are people of faith who long for the day when HIV/AIDS is a distant memory.
We know the face of HIV/AIDS. We are here, right here in your midst.

Poem: “The Concert” by Ken Cierpial, who died with HIV/AIDS October 23, 1992.

For my soulmate, Bob Canavello
I have learned how to learn,
How to read,
How to practice.

But today, I am getting ready for my life’s performance
By forgetting everything I know
And letting everything go.

Look! How I am now dancing between the notes
Of the music that my soul plays!

Reflection

HIV/AIDS affects all of us and takes us to places where we would rather not go. How does HIV/AIDS affect you? What love story do you tell?

Prayers of the Faithful

Compassionate Holy One, open our hearts and minds and hands so that we may connect ourselves to the global community responding to HIV/AIDS as we pray:

We remember all women, men, and children in this country and around the world who are living with HIV/AIDS.
Justice demands that we remember and respond.

We remember all who care for people living and dying with HIV/AIDS in their homes, in hospices, and in support centers.
Justice demands that we remember and respond.

We remember all who are involved in research and hospital care that they may respect the dignity of each person.
Justice demands that we remember and respond.

We remember all partners who are left mourning their beloved ones.
Justice demands that we remember and respond.

We remember all parents who learn the truth of their children’s lives through their process of facing death.
Justice demands that we remember and respond.

Prayer of Hope

We bring together many candles, many lights.
As those who keep the night watch await the dawn,
We remain vigilant,
Until a cure for HIV/AIDS is found,
Until those dying with HIV/AIDS are comforted,
Until truth sets us free,
Until love drives out injustice,
Until we get to zero.
We shall not give up the fight.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, www.waterwomensalliance.org


December: World AIDS Day Ritual – Remembering Love’s Story
By Diann L. Neu

Words of Gratitude
“I grind with gratitude for the richness of our harvest, not with cross feelings of working too hard. As I kneel at my grinding stone, I bow my head in prayer, thanking the great forces for provision. I have received much. I am willing to give much in return, for as I have taught you, there must always be a giving back for what one receives.”
−from Polingaysi Qoyawayma (Elizabeth Q. White), No Turning Back: A Hopi Indian Woman’s Struggle to Live in Two Worlds (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1964)

Prayer of Thanks
Thank You, God, for the miracle that we are gathered together at this table.
All: Thank You, God!

Thank You, Allah, for making us mindful of the needs of others.
All: Thank You, Allah!

Thank You, Yahweh, for your gracious blessings, especially for (invite each person to name one).
All: Thank You, Yahweh!

Blessing the Food
Thank You, Great Spirit, for this abundant food that is a gift from Earth and a gift from (name those who made it and bought it).
All: Thank You, Great Spirit!

Thank You, Holy Wisdom, for teaching us to give back for what we have received.
All: Thank You, Holy Wisdom!

Song
Use a song of gratitude from your own tradition, or sing the following to the tune of the African Amercian spiritual “Amen,” using many languages, in order here, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese.

We give thanks. Merci. Danke. Gracias. Xie Xie (shea-shea).

© Diann L. Neu is co-founder and co-director of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, dneu@hers.com


October: Ritual to Honor Hildegard of Bingen
By Diann L. Neu

Angelic Choir from Liber Scivias, Hildegard of Bingen 
ca. 1180, St. Hildegard’s Abbey, Eibingen

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) will be named Doctor of the Church on October 7, 2012 – an honor that so far only four women (and twenty-nine men) have received! She was the founder of the Rhineland mystic movement, a healer and composer, administrator and preacher, theologian and artist, visionary and author, a Benedictine Abbess of the famous monastery at Rupertsberg. Hildegard’s concept of veriditas (greening life-force) expresses divine justice rolling down like water.

Hildegard was well known for her healing powers involving herbs. To honor her and to generate your own power, gather sage, thyme, and mint to brew a cup of tea, scent a comforting bath, or season a soup or salad. Play music by Hildegard. Her words inspire this ritual.

Centering Prayer
Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars.
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings.
Now, think.
What delight God gives to humankind with all these things.
–Hildegard of Bingen

Story of Herbs
Hildegard used herbs for food, medicine, and good luck. Faith in herbcraft kept her close to Earth. Herbs healed the sick. Herbs nourished body and soul.

Water…gives the herbs their green power. –Hildegard of Bingen

Sage for Wisdom
Sage means wise! This miracle medicinal herb reportedly cures many ills, among them colds and sore throats. It is a cornerstone of many herb gardens.

The soul that is full of wisdom is saturated with the spray of a bubbling fountain – God herself. –Hildegard of Bingen

Pause and ponder how your wisdom inspires life. Return thanks.

Thyme for Inspiration
Thyme is of the essence! This lively perennial is a symbol of courage and inspiration. In its infinite variety it creates an ever-evolving pageant in the garden. Thyme spreads.

Like the incessant gurgle of the brook, the longing of the soul can never be stilled.
–Hildegard of Bingen

Pause and ponder how you take time to replenish your spirit and act justly. Return thanks.

Mint for Strength
Mint is widely treasured. This deliciously refreshing herb is most popular and well known. It has a take-charge personality.

Humankind demonstrates two aspects: the singing of praise to God, and the doing of good works. –Hildegard of Bingen

Pause and ponder how you share your resources. Return thanks.

Reflection
Close your eyes and breathe in the scent of the sweet herbs. Reflect on the words of Hildegard of Bingen. (Pause) Return thanks.

Blessing
Return thanks to herbs that act as medicine to cure diseases, season foods, and nourish body and soul.
Return thanks to all women who are healers.
Return thanks to Hildegard of Bingen for a spirituality that feels divine pleasures and does divine justice.

Brew Tea, Scent a Bath or Season Food with the Herbs
Play music by Hildegard of Bingen.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
Hildegard quotes from 
Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen by Gabriele Uhlein.


August Ritual: Wisdom Cries Out


This ritual was created for the Catholic Feminist Movement Building Gathering sponsored by WATER and Call To Action in July 2012 at the Retreat and Conference Center of Bon Secours in Marriottsville, MD.

Chime bell three times
Wisdom cries out in the street;
In the squares she raises her voice.
At the busiest corner she cries out;
At the entrance of the city gates she speaks: (Proverbs 1:20-21)

Chime bell once
“Once again, we watch dumbfounded as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith directs a ‘doctrinal assessment of’ or a ‘calling attention to’ or the ‘punishment of’ those who, according to the CDF, break away from the proper observance of Catholic doctrine.”
–Ivone Gebara, feminist theologian from Brazil
Pause

Chime bell once
“Our rituals threaten the social cohesion of patriarchal society.”
–Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, mujerista theologian born in Cuba
Pause

Chime bell once
“Truth suffers, but never dies.”
–Theresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church from Spain
Pause

Chime bell once
“Although silence explains much by the emphasis of leaving all unexplained, because it is a negative thing, one must name the silence, so that what it signifies may be understood. Failing that, silence will say nothing, for that is its proper function: to say nothing.”
–Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, feminist scholar and poet from Mexico
Pause

Chime bell once
“Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”
–Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church from Italy
Pause

Chime bell once
“Love abounds in all things…”
–Hildegard of Bingen, Rhineland mystic from Germany
Pause

Chime bell once
“If my sister or brother is not at the table, we are not the flesh of Christ. If my sister’s mark of sexuality must be obscured, if my brother’s mark of race must be disguised, if my sister’s mark of culture must be repressed, then we are not the flesh of Christ. For, it is through and in Christ’s own flesh that the ‘other’ is my sister, is my brother; indeed, the ‘other’ is me…”
–Shawn Copeland, womanist theologian in the United States

Chime bell three times

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


June 20 Summer Solstice: Praise the Sun
By Diann L. Neu

Sunlight, bonfires, and candlelight reflect the power of the sun.
Feel the richness of Earth’s summer colors.

Red: the longest wavelength, the flow of life in your blood, the color of courage…. Be attentive to your courage.

Orange: the action color, the primary ray connected to the womb center, the color of passion…. Be attentive to your passion.

Yellow: the expanding wavelength, the color of transcendence, the color of women’s will…. Be attentive to your openness.

Green: the middle of the spectrum, the color of sympathy and emotion, the color of balance…. Be attentive to your growth.

Blue: the creative color, the color of the sky, the power of decision making…. Be attentive to your calm.

Indigo: the passive wavelength, the color of psychic knowing, the color of awareness…. Be attentive to your intuition.

Purple: the shortest wavelength, the color of the older woman, the color of introspection and spiritual development…. Be attentive to your spirituality.

Brown: the stable color, the color of security, the color of centering….
Be attentive to your center.

Draw in what you need and want from these Solstice colors.
Draw in fulfillment, passion, and abundance from the gifts of Earth,
and release them to the universe.

Happy Summer Solstice!

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


April Earth Day: We Praise You, Divine Providence!
By Diann L. Neu

We call upon Earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon the mountains…the high green peaks and meadows filled with flowers, the knobs and the foothills. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon the waters that rim the Earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon the land that grows our food, the nurturing soil, the fertile fields, the abundant gardens and orchards. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon the forests, the great trees reaching strongly to the sky with earth in their roots and the heavens in their branches. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon creatures of the fields, forests and seas, our brothers and sisters, the wolf and deer, the eagle and dove, the great whale and the dolphin, the beautiful orca and salmon. With all creation, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

We call upon all those who have lived on Earth, our ancestors and our friends, who dreamed the best for future generations and upon whose lives our lives are built. With them, we praise You, Divine Providence….

Breathe Your Life into us!

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


March Ritual: Celebrate Women’s History Month!
By Diann L. Neu

(L to R) Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Leymah Gbowee

Gather a globe, candle, pitcher of water, bowl, chimes, flowers, bread, glass of water, glass of wine, news articles of women.

Welcome

Telling the Story

March 8, 1857: Hundreds of women workers in garment and textile factories in New York City staged a strike against low wages, long working hours, and inhumane working conditions – one of the first organized labor actions by women in the world. They were attacked and dispersed by police but returned two years later to form their first labor union.

1908: 15,000 women laborers marched through New York City with the slogan “Bread and Roses,” demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to child labor.

1910: Clara Zetkin, a German Socialist, proposed the observance of International Women’s Day to mark the 1857 strike, and it was accepted by the Women’s Socialist International at its meeting in Copenhagen.

March 8, 1911: Over a million women in Germany, 45,000 in Berlin alone, marched to demand the right to vote.

1917: Russian women call for a strike on February 23rd for “bread and peace” to protest poor living conditions and food shortages. This date in the Julian calendar (then used in Russia) falls on March 8 in the Georgian calendar.

1975: International Women’s Year proclaimed.

1977: The United Nations proclaimed a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace that is observed on March 8.

2000: The World March of Women 2000 demanded that the UN and its member States take concrete measures to eliminate poverty and ensure a fair distribution of the planet’s wealth between rich and poor, between men and women, eliminate violence against women, and ensure equality between women and men.

2005: In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the Supreme Court rules that Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, also inherently prohibits disciplining someone for complaining about sex-based discrimination. It further holds that this is the case even when the person complaining is not among those being discriminated against.

2009: President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which allows victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint with the government against their employer within 180 days of their last paycheck. Previously, victims (most often women) were only allowed 180 days from the date of the first unfair paycheck.

2012: Solidarity with women sets the tone for our ritual.

Source Facts: United Nations Department of Public Information, Susan B. Anthony Slept Here by Lynn Sherr and
Jurate Kazickas, and POWR-L email from Susan Franzblau. Some rewording by Diann L. Neu.

Lifting Up Women’s Lives

What women come to your mind and heart as you think about March, Women’s History Month? Bring specific women from around the world into your consciousness. We will pass the globe around. When you receive it, speak your name, name the woman, and tell us a piece of her story as you locate her on the globe. Let us assume that among us we cover this globe, country by country, though some say women have no country. Begin with, “I am part of a world which includes….” (Naming)

Blessing of Solidarity

In solidarity with women around the world, we bless the four elements.
As the world needs earth, air, water and sun, so the world needs women.
We unite with you, Sisters of the South, and share our hearth. (Light a candle.)

We unite with you, Sisters of the East, and share our music. (Play the chimes.)

We unite with you, Sisters of the North, and share our soil. (Place flowers on the altar.)

We unite with you, Sisters of the West, and share our wells. (Pour water into the bowl.)


Song: “We are a Wheel,” words Hildegard of Bingen, musical round, by Betty Wendelborn, Sing Green, © 1988.

We are a wheel, a circle of life.
We are a wheel, a circle of power.
We are a wheel, a circle of light,
Circling the world this sacred hour.

Women around the World

We all brought women we know into the circle. Now let us take a little time to stretch to women we do not know. Take one of the news clips from the last week or so. Read it and learn something about women you may not know. Bring a brief prayer about them to the circle. (Sharing)

Blessing Bread

(One woman holds bread and prays:)
We bless this bread in solidarity with our sisters in Africa. From the land of the Nile in Egypt to the land of apartheid in South Africa, women struggle with famines and wars and unite to work the fields.
Women of Africa, we are in solidarity with you.

(Another woman holds bread and prays:)
We bless this bread in solidarity with our sisters in Central and South America. From the highlands of Guatemala to the rim of Antarctica, women struggle against U.S. domination of their lands and unite in demanding democracy and justice of their own governments.
Women of Central and South America, we are in solidarity with you.

(Another woman holds bread and prays:)
We bless this bread in solidarity with our sisters in Eastern Europe. From the land of the former Berlin Wall to the highlands of the new Russia, women struggle to exercise their reproductive rights in this new time.
Women of Eastern Europe, we are in solidarity with you.

Blessing Drink

(One woman holds the water and prays:)
We bless this water in solidarity with our sisters in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. From the outback to the seaside, women struggle to retain their ancient cultures and their dreamtime.
Women of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, we are in solidarity with you.

(Another woman holds the juice and prays:)
We bless this juice in solidarity with our sisters in Asia. From the Middle East to Beijing, from the Islands of Japan to the Philippines, women toil in rice fields, sew in sweatshops, and now struggle to live after the destruction of the earthquake and tsunami.
Women of Asia, we are in solidarity with you.

(Another woman holds wine and prays:)
We bless this wine in solidarity with our sisters in North America. From the tip of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, indigenous women struggle against racism and call all to care for the earth.
Women of North America, we are in solidarity with you.

(Share Bread and Drink)

Praising Women of the Seven Continents
 


Let us praise women of the seven continents for the unique resources they bring to the world.

Praise to you, sisters of Asia, for your strong resistance to oppression.
Praise to you, sisters of Africa, for raising your voices in public squares.
Praise to you, sisters of Europe, for your leadership in peacekeeping.
Praise to you, sisters of North America, for confronting inequities of race and class.
Praise to you, sisters of South America, for struggles that bring about equality.
Praise to you, sisters in Antarctica, for your scientific research.
Praise to you, sisters of Australia, for your steadfast demands for justice.

Greeting of Peace

Breathe deeply. Take in the energy of the candlelight. Play the chimes.
Smell the flowers. Bless yourself with the water. Send peace to women in your family, in your community, in your country, and around the world. Blessings to you during Women’s History Month!

Closing Song: “Dancing Sophia’s Circle,” by Colleen Fulmer, Dancing Sophia’s Circle, © 1994.

Ring us round O ancient circle,
Great Mother dancing free,
Beauty, strength and Holy Wisdom,
Blessing you and blessing me.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


February: Women’s Words on Love
By Diann L. Neu

“Love alone matters.”
–Therese of Lisieux (1897), quoted in Dorothy Day, Therese (1960)

“Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace—that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
–Coretta Scott King, quoted in The Black Woman’s Gumbo Ya-Ya (1993)

“Love opens the doors into everything, as far as I can see, including and perhaps most of all, the door into one’s own secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self.”
–May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965)

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
–Helen Keller, We Bereaved (1929)

“’Till I loved / I never lived – Enough.”
–Emily Dickinson, Poems by Emily Dickinson (1862)

“I venture to say that for women friends, love is an orientation toward the world as if my friend and I were more united than separated, more at one among the many than separate and alone.”
–Mary E. Hunt, Fierce Tenderness (1991)

“Talking with one another is loving one another.”
–Kenyan Proverb

“I love you means let the revolution begin!”
–Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God (1982)

“Love is concerned / that the beating of your heart / should kill no one.”
–Alice Walker, Love Is Not Concerned (1983)

“The final word is love.”
–Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness (1952)

Your Thoughts

What is love for you? Whom do you love? How do you love?

A Prayer for Love

May love be within you.
May love be around you.
May love be beside you.
May love fill your days and your nights.
May love be between you and others.
May you walk lovingly with the Earth.
May love fill the Earth and increase.
Amen. Blessed Be. Let It Be So.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

Make 2012 a year of generous love and join us in working toward a more just world for all. Share with WATER some of your love and generosity. Honor your significant other or your loved ones by donating in their name. It’s a nice gift to express how filled you are with caring and good will.


January: Human Trafficking Awareness Month Resources
By Diann L. Neu


The Call

January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking, referred to as modern-day slavery, is the fastest growing and second most profitable criminal industry in the world. More than 27 million women, men, and children have become victims of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking can and does occur in all parts of the world, including the U.S. Large sporting events like the Super Bowl attract human trafficking, especially for sexual exploitation of women.

Stories of Trafficking
Excerpted from www.polarisproject.org

Amanda learned that her cousin was with a pimp who was advertising her for commercial sex on various websites.

A teacher became concerned about one of her students, a 14 year-old girl, and spoke with classmates who directed the teacher to multiple postings advertising the young girl for commercial sex on backpage.com.

A woman in Cameroon contacted the National Human Trafficking Resource Center about a friend who had moved to the U.S. several years ago whom the caller feared was a victim of domestic servitude.

With four children between them and a 16-year relationship, Mari couldn’t imagine leaving Darrell. She didn’t see any viable options, even though he was physically abusive and forced her into commercial sex when money was tight.

Brittany met a man at her local mall who offered her a job at his restaurant. Instead of working as a waitress, Brittany was forced to sell sex in a hotel room.

And many more….

Prayer of Solidarity
© Diann L. Neu, Co-director of WATER, dneu@hers.com

Holy Compassion, you who hear the cries of those in anguish,
Be with us now to bring them to safety and to speak out against those who exploit.

Holy Love, you who shout with us “No” to human trafficking in all its forms,
Be with us now to restore freedom to the trafficked and their families.

Holy Justice, you who rage with us against the injustices of trafficking,
Be with us now to take action to prevent and end this violence.

Holy Wisdom, you who know the worth of every human being,
Be with us as we erase this sinful practice from the face of the earth.

Take Action
Compiled by Diann L. Neu, WATER, www.waterwomensalliance.org

Seek Help. Report a tip. Call the Polaris Project trafficking hotline 1.888.37337.888:
www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/report-a-tip

Recognize the signs of trafficking:
www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs

When you travel, check out the “Human trafficking letter to hotels” developed by the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team:
www.mercyinvestmentservices.org/component/content/article/476

Learn more about human trafficking by reading the recent issue of Centerings on trafficking by the 8th Day Center for Justice:
www.8thdaycenter.org/pdf/centerings/WinterCenterings2011FINAL.pdf

Use prayer services from the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center: www.ipjc.org

Support the International Violence Against Women Act:
www.ucc.org/justice/human-rights/human-trafficking.html

Prevent trafficking at the Super Bowl:
www.ucc.org/justice/womens-issues/human-trafficking.html

Watch Lives for Sale, a documentary on immigration and trafficking produced by Maryknoll and Lightfoot Films in association with Faith & Values Media:
http://www.livesforsale.com/index.html

Encourage airlines to sign The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children so that their employees will be alert to the warning signs that traveling children might be victims of trafficking.

Find additional resources and “Take Action” steps at ECPAT-USA.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


December Giving and Receiving: A Cycle of Blessings
By Diann L. Neu

Sacred Earth: Air, Water, Fire, Food,
To you I give protection, from you I receive energy.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Beloved Ancestors, Elders, Sisters, Brothers,
To you I give honor, from you I receive wisdom.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Children of all races, countries, creeds,
To you I give lobe, from you I receive the future.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Creatures great and small,
To you I give respect, from you I receive balance.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Trees, Flowers, Rivers, Mountains,
To you I give reverence, from you I receive beauty.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Changing Seasons,
To you I give attention, from you I receive peace.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

Gracious and Loving Providence, Creator of All,
To you I give thanks, from you I receive life.
May the cycle of blessings continue!

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


November: Women’s Harvest Festival
By Diann L. Neu


Call to Gather

Preparation: four candles, cider, bread, apples, honey

Welcome to our Women’s Harvest Festival. We celebrate and give thanks for a harvest that is often overlooked: the contributions of women. We honor the ancestors who have passed on to us over the generations their wisdom and insights, their memories of the past and present. We honor women who have gone before us and made the world a more livable place for us and for the next generations. We intertwine our stories with women of ancient traditions, women of recorded history, women who have been disappeared, and grandmothers and mothers.
The four candles on the table symbolize the four parts of this ceremony. We invite women from the North, South, East and West to join us in our harvest festival.

Bless the Bread and Cider

Blessed are you, Source of Creation, Who brings forth bread and drink from the earth.

Gratitude to Women of Ancient Traditions

Light a Candle

We are grateful to the women of ancient traditions and ask them to be with us now.

Share the Apples and Honey

Let us share apple and honey together; by this, we reclaim the apple as a positive symbol of women’s history. We as women need to reach for knowledge, break taboos, and know that it is good. The honey symbolizes our hopes that our memories of the past will help sweeten the future. Take a piece of apple and dip it in the honey.

Bless the Daughters of the Great Mothers

May the blessings of Gaia, Lilith and Eve, Sarah and Hagar give you strength for your journey.

Song: “You Can’t Kill the Spirit…” (original words by Naomi Little Bear, additional lyrics by the Women of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp)
You can’t kill the spirit, She’s like a mountain
Old and strong, she lives on and on and on.

Gratitude to Women of Recorded History

Light a Candle

We invite women out of our recorded history, women from our own and other cultures, to intertwine their stories with ours during our harvest feast, and ask them to be with us now.

Bless the Source

Praised is the source of the many fruits of the earth.

Song: “You Can’t Kill the Spirit…”
You can’t kill the spirit, She’s like a mountain
Old and strong, she lives on and on and on.

Gratitude to Women Who Have Been Disappeared

Light a Candle

We remember the women and children who have been disappeared through war, violence, and the miswriting of history. We especially name and remember those who have been killed and disappeared by soldiers trained at the School of Americas where thousands gather in protest. We remember the Mirabal Sisters from the Dominican Republic. On November 25, 1960, Patria, Antonia, and Maria opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and were assassinated. We ask them to be with us now.

Bless the Souls

Praised are the souls of the living and the dead.

Song: “You Can’t Kill the Spirit…”
You can’t kill the spirit, She’s like a mountain
Old and strong, she lives on and on and on.

Gratitude to Grandmothers and Mothers

Light a Candle

We are grateful for the women who have guided us on our journey, and ask them to be with us now.

Bless the Women

Praised are the mothers and grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts and elders who nourish and sustain future generations.

Song: “You Can’t Kill the Spirit…”
You can’t kill the spirit, She’s like a mountain
Old and strong, she lives on and on and on.

Sending Forth

By claiming what is ours from the past, we enable our daughters to create the future. Let us go forth, giving thanks for what has been and opening our selves to the power of gratitude for the future. Happy thanksgiving to all and to your families!

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


October: Celebrating Autumn
By Diann L. Neu

Generations before us have been attentive to the seasons changing. The light and the dark in the North and in the South of our Planet are balanced by being of equal length at this time of year. September 21st is the Autumn Equinox in the Northern hemisphere and the Spring Equinox in the Southern hemisphere.

Ancient people celebrated each changing of the seasons, knowing that nature’s changes outside corresponded to inner changes as well.

The Autumn Equinox invites us to balance our lives, to begin again as the seasons change, to reflect on the bounty of our hard work, to give thanks for the blessings we have received, and to clean out our clutter to prepare for the coming of winter.

Light Candles
As the nights of autumn grew longer, the Druids, priests of the Celtic people of Ireland and the British Isles, feared that the sun might cease to shine, leaving the Earth to the forces of evil. They believed fire re-energized the sun and drove away evil spirits.

Light candles to bring new balance into life.

Receive the Blessing of Autumn
Come, Spirit of Autumn, and bless me!

As the sun sets in the west, teach me to let go of my stress.
As the trees let go of their leaves, teach me to let go of my baggage.
As the birds wing swiftly southward, teach me to let go of my fears.

Come, Spirit of Autumn, and bless me!

To balance my life.
To embrace my changes.
To begin again.

Come, Spirit of Autumn, and bless the Earth!

Make A Wish for Balance in Life
May autumn lead me into deeper balance.
May autumn lead Earth into deeper balance.
Amen. Blessed be. May it be so.

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


September: Remembering 9/11
By Diann L. Neu

Where were you ten years ago on 9/11 when planes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and when a plane crashed in the field in Pennsylvania? Where are you now ten years later? Let us pray together that wars may cease and peace may come so that all generations may be safe.

Prayer for Peace

Compassionate and merciful Divinity of many names,
Allah, Yahweh, Holy One, Wisdom-Sophia, Goddess, God of All, Providence,

We pause and remember in honor of 9/11 as we reflect on and work for peace.
We gather with your people through the ages who have turned swords into plowshares that peace may be harvested.

Litany of Women Peacemakers

We ask peacemakers to pray with us for peace at home and in the world.

Sarah and Hagar, pray for peace.
Anne Frank, pray for peace.
Mary of Nazareth, pray for peace.
Mary McLeod Bethune, pray for peace.
Coretta Scott King, pray for peace.
Betty Shabazz, pray for peace.
Dorothy Day, pray for peace.
Rosa Parks, pray for peace.
Harriett Tubman, pray for peace.
Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark and Jean Donovan, pray for peace.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, pray for peace.
Women of Greenham Common, pray for peace.
Women of Code Pink, pray for peace.
Please name other peacemakers, pray for peace.

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” 16th Century, Anonymous

Dona nobis pacem pacem,
Dona nobis pacem.
Give to us peace…

© Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, cofounder and codirector of WATER,
the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual


© Diann L. Neu | Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual | dneu@hers.com