November 2015 WATERritual

Thanks for Wise Women

By Diann L. Neu and Mallory Naake

          This Thanksgiving season we express our gratitude for the wise women in our lives. In the following ritual, we honor wise women from goddesses to biblical women, women of recorded history to the women in our lives. This ritual will help you connect to women’s wisdom, and invite you to dive into your own lived wisdom. Share with a close-knit or newly formed group. Or enjoy it on your own.

Audio available here.


          Place a basket of acorns, a plate of apples and honey, a lit center candle, three unlit candles that you will light during the ritual, and an unlit candle for each participant on a center table or altar.

Welcome and Naming the Circle

Share your name, where you are from, and something you are grateful for.

Chant: “A River of Birds,” author unknown, Songs for Earthlings: A Green Spirituality Songbook, compiled and edited by Julie Forest Middleton © 1998.

There’s a river of birds in migration, a nation of women with wings.


Holy One of Gratitude, Wisdom Sophia, we remember today the women, named and unnamed, who throughout time have used their wisdom and gifts to transform the world. We call upon these foresisters to help us discover your wisdom – and the ways to use it to bring about your kindom of justice and peace. Be with us on this journey. Amen. Blessed Be. May It Be So.

Litany of Goddesses and Biblical Women

Light a Candle

Chant: “We Give Thanks,” adapted from “We Are One” by Andras Corban Arthen, in Songs for Earthlings: A Green Spirituality Songbook, compiled and edited by Julie Forest Middleton.

Chant: We give thanks. We give thanks. Women wisdom, we give thanks.

In gratitude, let us remember women who imagined they could make a difference in the world, and did. Our response to each name is: Thanks for your Wisdom.

We remember Kwan Yin, a Buddhist Bodhisattva from China, the Goddess of Compassion whose name means “She who hears the cries of the world.” Response:  Thanks for your Wisdom.

We remember Gaia, the Goddess that embodies Earth itself. R.

We remember Eve and Lilith for claiming their power by reaching for knowledge and finding that it was good. R.

We remember Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah for answering the call of Sophia-Wisdom and putting their faith in a covenant with the Holy One. R.

We remember Judith for fighting for the freedom of her people, and in her leadership for not conforming to any one idea of femaleness. R.

We remember Mary, a Galilean Jew, mother of us all, for listening, pondering and knowing that she had been chosen to give birth to Jesus, one who is Powerful Liberator. R.

We remember, Mary Magdalene, the foundation of Women-Church, the apostle to the apostles, for sharing with them the first news of the resurrection. R.

Litany of Women of Recorded History

Light a Candle

          Chant: “We Give Thanks”

We remember Junia, Phoebe, Priscilla, Thecla and the other women leaders of the early house church movement for being called to a discipleship of equals. Response:  Thanks for your Wisdom.

We remember Sojourner Truth for her “Ain’t I A Women” defiant declaration as she advocated for freedom by fighting for abolition and women’s rights. R.

We remember Dorothy Day for founding the Catholic Worker movement and believing in radical hospitality with those who are poor. R.

We remember Dolores Huerta for founding the United Farm Workers and continuing to work tirelessly to support immigrants and health care reform. R.

We remember Sally Ride for showing the world that women can reach for the stars and fly into space. R.

We remember Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks and the brave women who sparked the Civil Rights Movement, for refusing segregation. R.

We remember Malala Yousafzai for defying the Taliban in Pakistan and demanding that girls be allowed to receive an education. R.

Litany of Women in Our Lives

Light a Candle

          Chant: “We Give Thanks”

We remember our Mothers, Grandmothers and all who have been Mothers to us whose powerful lives have shaped ours. Response:  Thanks for your wisdom.

We remember women in ministry, women theologians, women prophets and all women who speak out against oppression in all of its forms. R.                               

Spend a few minutes in silence reflecting on wise women in your lives.

Let us speak aloud the names of other wise women who imagined they could make a difference in the world, and they did. Light a candle and name a wise woman who is special to you. Describe who she is/was, and why she has made an impact. Response:  Thanks for your wisdom.

          Chant: “We Give Thanks”

Blessing Apples and Honey

Extend your hands over these apples and honey and let us bless them:

Blessed are these apples that are a symbol of women’s wisdom. Remember Eve who reached for knowledge, took a bit, and found that it was good. She was a wise woman!

Blessed is this honey that adds a touch of sweetness to our wisdom. Remember sweet honey in the rock! Let us pass the apples and honey around our circle and connect with wise women.

Blessing Wisdom Acorns

Since symbols help us remember sacred and holy times in our lives, let us share a small wisdom acorn with one another. Acorns come from oak trees and grow oak trees. Let these acorns remind us of the wisdom, holiness and strength within us.

Please stand and extend your hands over the wisdom acorns as we pray together:

Wisdom Sophia, we ask you to bless these wisdom acorns as symbols of our holiness, our wisdom, and our strength.
May Wisdom be in our minds and in our thinking;
May Wisdom be in our hearts and in our perceiving;
May Wisdom be in our mouths and in our speaking;
May Wisdom be in our hands and in our working;
May Wisdom be in our feet and in our walking;
May Wisdom be in our bodies and in our loving.
May Wisdom be with us all the days of our lives.
          adapted from Sarun Primer Benediction, 1636

Closing Song: “Blessing Song” by M. T. Winter, Woman Prayer, Woman Song  © 1987.

Greeting of Wisdom

Filled with this Wisdom, let us embrace one another as wise women.

© 2015 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). Planned by Diann L. Neu and Mallory Naake