November 2018 WATERritual

Thanksgiving: Gratitude for Women of Vision

By Diann L. Neu and the WATER Staff

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.

–Polingaysi Qoyawayma

November, the season of Thanksgiving, offers us an opportunity to say thank you. This Thanksgiving we invite you to join us to express gratitude for the wise women in our lives. Let us take some time to thank them for their wisdom.

In this ritual we will honor women of vision – from goddesses to biblical women, notable women in recorded herstory to the women in our personal lives. It connects participants to the wisdom of women or holy women icons (www.holywomenicons.com), and invites them to dive into their own lived wisdom.

Preparation

Place a plate of apples, cider, honey, and bread, three unlit candles that you will light during the ritual, and a cut out paper heart for each participant on a center table or alter. String photos of wise women, lights, and hearts around the room.

Call to Gather

Welcome to our Thanksgiving celebration. This is the season of gratitude. This is the time of remembering ancestors. This is the season of giving thanks for all good blessings. Lift your spirit and give thanks today for women of vision. Lift your voice and give thanks for life.

Naming the Circle

Let us create our thanksgiving circle by sharing our names, and something we are grateful for this season.

Centering Prayer

Let us breathe together in order to center our bodies and release the negative feelings that manifest in our bodies and minds.

Breathe in hope

Breathe out anxiety

Breathe in gratitude

Breathe out tension

Breathe in rest

Breathe out anger

Breathe in the calm space around you and the energy from the women who are sharing this experience with you near and far

Breathe out any stress or burdens you may have brought into this space

Song: In honor of Ntozake Shange (1948-2018), author of “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf.”

i found god in myself (2x)

and i loved her fiercely (2x)

i found god in myself

Prayer

Holy One of Gratitude, Wisdom Sophia, we remember today the women, named and unnamed, who throughout the ages have used their wisdom and gifts to transform the world. We call upon these foresisters to help us discover within ourselves your wisdom and the ways we can use it to bring about 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

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 and all that live and breathe within. 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 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:

Chant: (sung to the tune of “Amen.”)

We give thanks. Toda (Hebrew). Asente (Swahili).  Merci (French). Xie-Xie (Chinese).

Litany of Women of Recorded History

Light a Candle

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 defiant declaration of “Ain’t I A Woman” 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:

Chant: “We Give Thanks”

We give thanks. Gracias (Spanish). Danke (German). Arigato (Japanese).

Litany of Women in Our Lives

Light a Candle

We remember our Mothers, Grandmothers, Ancestors, and all women who have been our guides and whose powerful lives have shaped ours.

Response:  Thanks for your wisdom.

We remember women in ministry, women theologians, women prophets, the 100 women who were just elected to office, and the all women who speak out against oppression in all of its forms. R:                                

Chant: “We Give Thanks”

We give thanks. Shukran (Arabic). Grazie (Italian). Obrigato (Portuguese).

Reflection

Spend a few minutes in silence reflecting on wise women in your life. (Pause) What women of vision came to your mind and heart as you listened? Take a heart, hold it, and write on it the heartfelt gratitude you have for these women and for yourself. (Sharing)

Blessing Apples, Honey and Bread

We bring forth apples, honey, and bread to taste and see the wisdom of women. Taste the sweetness of the harvest and enjoy community with each other. Extend your hands over these harvest foods and let us bless them:

Blessed are these apples and this cider that are symbols of women’s wisdom. Remember Eve who reached for knowledge, took a bite, 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! We will pass the apples and honey around our circle later and connect with wise women.

Blessed is this bread that nourishes and strengthens us to be wise women.  

(We will eat and drink at the close of this ritual.)

Reading: 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)

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.

Closing Song:

i found god in myself

and i loved her fiercely

i loved her fiercely

i found god in myself  (x3)

Sending Forth

Let us go forth in peace

With every breath of gratitude

for the wise and visionary women in our lives, communities, and world.

Let us go forth in joy

With every ounce of knowledge

that wise women are changing the world

Let us seal our prayer with hugs of gratitude.

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

Take Action

Let us put our prayers into action this month.

~ Place your heart somewhere you can see it everyday (examples: keyboard, door, mirror etc.).

~ Plant a garden as a form of self-care.

~ Take a walk outside and enjoy the beauty of Earth.

~ Express gratitude to wise women in your life by giving them a call or writing them a card.

~ Learn about and support current justice movements such as #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, local issues organizations led by people of color, women, or LGBTQ+ people.

~ On #GivingTuesday, consider donating to organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, National Immigration Law Center, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or WATER who works to inspire women of vision.

Eating the Harvest Feast!

Let us share our harvest foods.

© 2018 WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual dneu@hers.com