Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice is a balm for these times. I could imagine gathering a few friends, going through a liturgy together, and having a soulful and connecting experience. It surprised me how much reading this book felt like coming home: like I mattered and belonged as a woman, as a feminist, and as an activist. Having grown up in a liberal Presbyterian church, it took me a long time to recognize how much damage was done by soaking up the male-dominated stories and images during my formative years. In contrast, I felt understood, nurtured, and hopeful when I read through the liturgies of Stirring Waters.
Author Diann Neu is cofounder and codirector of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual. As part of WATER’s 35th anniversary celebration this year, they have compiled these liturgies developed over the years. In Stirring WATERs, I’m grateful to have over fifty complete rituals at my fingertips.
Stirring WATERS includes four liturgies for each month, with themes inspired by the seasons, holidays from various religions, and wise women from history, mythology, and the present. Each liturgy features songs, readings, and others elements including prayer, blessings, and ideas for taking action. Each chapter highlights resources for further learning. Here are a few of my favorite liturgies in the book:
- February: Embraced by Brigit with a Breath of Spring
- March: Thank ReSisters Worldwide
- May: Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride on National Space Day
- July: Stand with Malala Yousafzai
Of course, this book was written and published right before the Coronavirus shut down most gatherings. Just when I would love to try out some of these accessible, affirming roadmaps for in-person connection, I’m needing to stay physically distant. But in difficult times, we need to be creative. One option could be to gather with just a few folks outside, with masks, at a safe distance. Another would be to take advantage of the now ubiquitous Zoom, or other video platforms.
A workshop coming up in a few weeks here at RCWMS may offer ideas about creating such gatherings. Creating Your Own Council Circle, led by Sherylyn Pitt, will explore ways to engage the relational aspects of the sacred feminine within the framework of virtual platforms. Learn more and sign up here.
I even got a lot out of reading Stirring WATERS on my own, as I learned new songs, read about different movements for justice, and felt connected to voices of women from all over. Neu invites us all to “drink from the well of Divine Wisdom, to step into the pool of waters for healing, and to take action that justice may flow like water.” There are many ways to do that, and Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice is a great place to start.