March 2021 WATERritual

Water to Make All Things New

By Diann L. Neu and Anali North Martin

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Listen to the audio of our March 2021 WATERritual here.

Preparation: Set your ritual space with your favorite spring elements or decorations, a bowl (well), and a pitcher of water.

Call to Gather

Welcome to this WATERritual, “Water to Make All Things New.” March 22, World Water Day, calls attention to a very precious resource. All nations require a safe, plentiful supply of water. Perhaps all planets do too. We also look forward to the Spring Equinox on March 20 starting at 5:37am in the Northern Hemisphere. We recognize that it is water from which all life emerges, and its innate properties sustain that life, quench thirst, cleanse, purify, and restore clarity.

Today, we call attention to the global water crisis. We know from the United Nations that 3.2 billion people live in agricultural areas with high to very high shortages or scarcity of water (FAO, 2020), and 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high “water stress” (UN, 2018). Many of us, because of our privilege, economic status, and geographic location, are able to ignore this crisis, and push the effects of climate change and over-consumption from our minds. However, as just recently millions in Texas and other southern U.S. states went without water and power for days, many were reminded, from personal experience or watching from afar, the preciousness of water and its accessibility.

Our circle today is not limited to those of us here on this Zoom call, but includes all living things that need water: not only people, but plants, animals, fungi, microscopic bacteria. The world needs oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, wells, spring protections, rainwater tanks, small dams, sanitation, and hygiene for all. We all need water that is safe, clean, reliable, and free. Without water, life as we know it would not exist. And life exists wherever there is water.

We gather for a ritual to restore our personal, collective, and international balance. Let us pause and take a deep breath as we celebrate the return of spring, give thanks for the life-giving element of water, and pray for healing of all waters.

 

Come to the Water 

Water refreshes, soothes, and anoints the parched body and dry Earth. Creation celebrates the turning of Earth, tipping the balance towards the sun, allowing for new growth, birth, awakening, renewal, and warmth. We open our hearts towards water, towards life, remembering this element that unites us all.

 

Song: “Living Water/Agua Viva” © Colleen Fulmer, from Her Wings Unfurled

Come, you hungry, come, you thirsty;
Drink living water, come to the well.

Vengan, los pobres, vengan los humildes;
Tomen agua viva, vengan a mi.

Come, you weary, bring your burdens;
Drink living water, come to the well.

Vengan, heridos, vengan sufridos;
Tomen agua viva, vengan a mi.

Come, rejected, come, abandoned;
Drink living water, come to the well.

Vengan, las viudas, traigan a sus niños;
Tomen agua viva, vengan a mi.

Come, you empty, come you barren;
Drink living water, come to the well.

Vengan al pozo, vengan a mi corazon;
Tomen agua viva, vengan a mi.

 

Invoking the Spirits

Adapted from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice by Diann L. Neu

We gather from the four corners of the Earth, from above, below, and center, to remember all people who come to the waters today.

East: Breath of Life, Creator of Dawn, Faithful Rising Sun, come!

        By the air that is your breath, send forth your light of joy.

North: Mysterious North Star, Fierce Winter Wind, Nourishing Earth Mother, come!

        By the Earth that is your body, send forth your strength for growth.

West: Cycle of Change, Ever-Colorful Sunset, Peaceful Night Wonder, come!

        By the waters of your womb, send forth your ebb and flow of life.

South: Flame of Justice, Torch in the Night, Liberator of the Oppressed, come!

        By the fire that is your passion, send forth your flame of justice.

Above: Dreamer of Visions, Soaring Mother Eagle, Cloud of Unknowing, come!

        By the sky that is your presence, send forth your spirit of wisdom.

Below: Hidden Treasure, Undiscovered Nourishment, Connector of Continents, come!

        By the sea that is your depth, send forth your revelation for peace.

Center: Rock of Ages, Untapped Energy, Enduring Strength, come!

        By the mountains that are your integrity, send forth your sacred love.

Response:

        Spirits of the East, North, West, South,
        Above, Below, and Center,
        We invoke you and praise your names.
        Holy Spirits, enkindle countries with your peace,
        So safe, clean, reliable and free water is available to all worldwide.

 

Reading: “He Na Tye Woman” by Paula Gunn Allen, one of the foremost Native American scholars, from Shadow Country, © 1982

Water.
Lakes and rivers.
Oceans and streams.
Springs, pools and gullies.
Arroyos, creeks, watersheds.
Pacific.  Atlantic.  Mediterranean.
Indian.  Caribbean.  China Sea.
(Lying.  Dreaming on shallow shores.)
Arctic.  Antarctic.  Baltic.
Mississippi.  Amazon.  Columbia.  Nile.
Thames.  Sacramento.  Snake.  (Undulant woman river.)
Seine.  Rio Grande.  Willamette.  McKenzie.  Ohio.
Hudson.  Po.  Rhine.  Rhone.
Rain.  After a lifetime of drought.
That finally cleanses the air.
The soot from our eyes.
The dingy windows of our western home.
The rooftops and branches.  The wings of birds.
The new light on a slant.  Pouring.  Making everything new.

 

Song: “Water is Life/Mni Wičoni” © 2016 by Sara Thomsen, from Song Like a Seed

All my relations, come
Every nation, come
All my relations under the sun
We are one

We are praying, come
We are praying, come
We are the song and we are the drum
We are one

We are the river, come
We are the river, come
We are the boat, the paddle, the shore
We are one

Chorus: Mni wičoni, sing
Mni wičoni, sing
Mni wičoni,
Water is life for everything
We are the water, sing
We are the water, sing
We are the water
We are where all life begins

We are the ancient ones
We are the ancient ones
In your breath and bones we sing on
We are one

We are the meadow, come
We are the meadow, come
We are the lark that sings
the new day has begun

We are the new day, run, run, run
We are the new day, run, run, run
We are the old and we are the young
We are one

Chorus

We are the Earth and sky
We are the thunder cries
We are the fire,
We are the light in your eyes

We are standing strong
Like a rock, like a stone
On this sacred ground we belong
We are home

Chorus

All my relations, come
Every nation, come
All my relations under the sun
We are one

 

Give Thanks for Water
with the words of Aurora Levins Morales in “The Shalom Report: Water is Life! The Sacred Waters of Life Must Not be Poisoned by the Dakota Oil Pipeline,” the Shalom Center, November 14, 2016:

We are made of water: Salty rivers run in our veins, lymph ebbs and swells, saliva and tears leak into the air and dry. We are always changing: wide seas into clouds, rain into puddles, rivers into muddy fields that run along ditches into the sea. We flow, freeze, boil, rise, disperse, are hurled this way and that. We declare that we are the blue edge of glaciers, the great ocean swell, stagnant teeming ponds, months long tropical downpours, the delicate tracery of frost on a dry leaf, rusty drip of a faucet. We are the shape of what’s happened to us. We are caught up in doing, and whirl through our lives, suffering, joyful, filled with doubt. And yet we return to ourselves again and again, to the Self that is all there is. We are made of water, called to find our true level by that great force of love we call gravity. We are made to trust our destination. We are not lost.

 

Reflection & Sharing
What are your reflections about Earth and water in light of the Spring Equinox and World Water Day?

 

Litany of Water
We are lucky to have water, as so many go without. Let us each pour water from a pitcher into our bowls. Hold your bowl of water.

Wisdom Sophia, the Source of Life, blesses creation with water. Let us remember the presence of the Creator Spirit through water and respond in our own spaces: “Blessed are you, Source of Life.”

Living Water, River of Mercy, Source of Life,

Your spirit moves over the waters at creation.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You form new life in the waters of the womb.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You renew Earth with winter snows and spring rains.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You dance your people through water to promised lands.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You weep with us over the violence creation experiences from abusers.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You water our gardens to bring forth food.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You give us water to wash our hands and cleanse our wounds.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

You quench our thirst and refresh our weariness.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

Be for us always a river of hope springing up in the midst of the deserts of despair.
        Blessed are you, Source of Life.

Amen. Ashe. May it be so.

 

Blessing Ourselves

Hold your bowl of water, look into this well, and see your reflection. Let us bless ourselves with water. Touch the water. (Pause) Think of a part of the body you would like to bless. (Pause) Let us bless ourselves.

Touch your mouth as we say:
Bless my mouth that I may speak truthfully about the water crisis.

Touch your ears as we say:
Bless my ears that I may hear the rain and hail.

Touch your nose as we say:
Bless my nose that I may smell the Earth after a storm.

Touch your eyes as we say:
Bless my eyes that I may see children who need a drink of water.

Touch your hands as we say:
Bless my hands that I may remember those who do not have clean water to wash their hands.

Touch your feet as we say:
Bless my feet that I may be a water carrier for justice.

Let us extend our hands to the world, saying:
Bless the Earth with water.

Let us bless one another, using a water gesture like falling rain.

 

Take Action

  • Welcome those who need an invitation to come to the water, to be filled and renewed.
  • Clean up the trash around water in your area – a stream, river, pond, lake, well, ocean, creek.
  • Keep track of how much water you use each day; challenge yourself and those you live with to use less. Check for leaks around your house and fix them. Reuse water when you can, such as bathwater to water gardens.
  • Follow the World Council of Churches’ “Seven Weeks for Water” from the Ecumenical Water Network newsletter, using the season of Lent to reflect on God’s gift of water: https://www.oikoumene.org/what-we-do/ecumenical-water-network#seven-weeks-for-water
  • Learn more about the status of water around the world and its effect on daily life through the United Nations: https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/

Sending Forth

by Hannah Dorfman © 2017

As we return to life, let us carry the promise of spring in our hearts.

Let us find balance as we promote equity,
so that all may share in Earth’s bounty.

Let us find pause as we welcome new light,
so that all may recognize Earth’s beauty.

Let us honor all creation as we act for justice,
so that all may celebrate the Earth.

Blessed and restored, let us cherish the water that gives us life.

Let us wash ourselves in oceans of justice,
so that we may stand in solidarity with water protectors worldwide.

Let us nourish ourselves from rivers of fairness,
so that we may find the strength to conserve and heal our waters.

Let us connect with the element that runs through our veins,
so that we may act for justice for water everywhere.

 

Song: “Wade in the Water,” sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Written by Mae Thornton and Willie Thornton © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

Chorus: Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water.

See those children all dressed up in white
They must be the children of the Israelites

Chorus

See those children dressed in black
They come a long way ain’t turnin’ back

Chorus

See the children they dressed up in blue
Look like my people they comin’ on thru

Chorus

See those children dressed in red
Must be the children that Moses led

Chorus

See those children all dressed in green
They movin’ down to that Jordan stream

Chorus

Some say Peter and some say Paul
But there ain’t but one God made us all.

Chorus

 

© 2021 Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, adapted from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice and Return Blessings: Ecofeminist Liturgies Renewing the Earth.