The words “On Feminine Ground” stir in me dreams of a transformed world. On Feminine Ground everyone has freedom to become all we are created to be in the divine image. On Feminine Ground all creation flourishes.
For too long our world has been out of balance with the masculine dominating and the feminine subordinated or excluded. We have all suffered from this imbalance. On Feminine Ground there will be a healthy balance that encourages all of us to embrace our wholeness and to experience our full humanity. This balance will give equal value to traits, such as compassion and nurturing, that have often been labeled and disparaged as “feminine.” Compassion, nurturing, collaboration, and peacemaking will be revalued and reclaimed not only as feminine traits, but also as human traits. On Feminine Ground we find gender equality, racial equality, marriage equality, economic justice, environmental justice, and justice for all. We find peace and sustainability. On Feminine Ground we will reclaim the heart of our humanity.
Feminine Ground is level ground with circles replacing hierarchies. Hierarchies create the illusion that some people are more valuable than others. Circles symbolize the equal value of all. In circles people share power, and everyone’s gifts have equal value. People of all faiths, races, genders, and nationalities come together to collaborate in a spirit of mutual respect.
At the 2014 and 2015 UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW), I had some of my most profound experiences of circles. In circles we shared our stories and dreams of a transformed world. These circles provided sacred space for every voice to be heard and for making spiritual connections to empower our social activism. One of the circles was entitled “Remembering the Sacred Heart of Your Activism: An Evening of Prayer, Reflection and Inspiration.” I resonated with this title that expresses my deep belief that spirituality empowers our social activism. The evening of prayers from many faith traditions and circle dialogue inspired our continued commitment to gender equality for the women and girls of the world.
On Feminine Ground we reclaim our sacred value. We experience the Divine within us, within all people, and within all creation. We balance female and male names and images of the Divine, so that we all know ourselves more fully in the image of the Divine. Reclaiming the Divine Feminine in our religious traditions will empower our work together for justice, peace, and sustainability. Restoring female names and images of the Divine will contribute to healing our wounded world. Including multicultural female divine images in our sacred rituals affirms the sacred value of females throughout the world who continue to suffer from violence and abuse. The earth, traditionally referred to as feminine, likewise suffers from exploitation and abuse. Rituals that include the Divine Feminine can make a powerful contribution to a more just and peaceful world.
“Wisdom” is among the female divine images common to many religious and spiritual traditions. “Wisdom” is Hokmah in Hebrew, Hikmah in Arabic, and Sophia in Greek. She also comes as Kwan Yin and Tara in Asian spiritual traditions and as the Black Madonna in Catholic traditions.
On Feminine Ground we discover that Divine Wisdom lives in all of us and that we can join Her work of transforming our world. I wrote this hymn, “Celebrate the Works of Wisdom,” to express some of my dreams of a transformed world. This hymn is set to the tune “Hymn to Joy,” which you may also know as “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”
Celebrate the Works of Wisdom
Celebrate the works of Wisdom, shining forth in all that’s fair;
Wisdom shows us peaceful pathways, calling us to dream and dare.
Like a vision bright and golden, Wisdom comes to light our way,
bringing us Her gifts most precious, leading to a better day.
Wisdom works in every nation, guiding us to live in peace,
teaching healing care and kindness, She will help all violence cease.
Wisdom works through men and women, prophets bold throughout the years,
speaking up for truth and justice, crying out for all to hear.
Works of Wisdom bring abundance, lovely works beyond compare;
Wisdom opens doors of freedom, calling everyone to share.
Like a Tree of Life She blossoms, spreading beauty through the earth;
we can join the work of Wisdom, new creation now to birth.
Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton HYMN TO JOY
Jann Aldredge-Clanton is an ordained minister, teacher, chaplain, and author of She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World and other books on inclusive theology and ritual.