Ancient Wisdom for Today

These challenging days invite us to return to the ancient Wisdom in the Bible and other sacred texts. We need Her guidance for our transformation and empowerment to bring healing to our wounded world. Now return to Her during this Christmas season and beyond.

“Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” celebrates the Divine in diverse genders, races, and cultures, bringing healing, hope, love, justice, and peace.“ This song video contributes to racial and gender equality and justice by celebrating multicultural, gender-inclusive names and images for Deity.

Ancient Wisdom, Mother of earth, bringing all creation to birth,
with Her power, we will flower, feeling our sacred worth.

Black Madonna, Mother of all, loving us whatever befalls,
always guiding and abiding, within our hearts She calls.

Guadalupe, Lady and Queen, from Her holy treasures we glean;
She is healing and revealing more than we’ve ever seen.

Christ-Sophia, Mystery of Old, in our souls Her blessings unfold,
Love abiding, always guiding into a future bold.


O now return to Her for peace;
hope and justice will increase.
Re-creating, liberating, She will all our dreams release.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton (from Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice by Jann Aldredge-Clanton with composer Larry E. Schultz)

“Wisdom” is an ancient divine name, common to many religions and cultures. She is Hokmah in the Hebrew Bible (e.g. Proverbs 1:2-25, 3: 13-18, 4: 8-9), and Sophia in the Greek New Testament (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). Visual images of Wisdom have traditionally been dark or a combination of dark and light.

painting by Katie Ketchum

The Black Madonna is prominent around the world because of the miraculous nature of this image. Since the Middle Ages, the Black Madonna has been associated with miracles. Miracles have been attributed to the Black Madonna of Montpellier in France since 878. She is believed to have saved Montpellier from drought and plague. She is a stronger image of the Eternal Feminine than light-skinned Madonnas, and a more historically accurate image of Mary, a Semitic woman of the Middle East.

painting by Stacy Boorn

Our Lady of Guadalupe is another widely venerated, miraculous Divine Feminine image. She first appeared to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego and gave him roses in the midst of winter. When Juan Diego took the cloak that Guadalupe had filled with roses to the archbishop to prove the miracle, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric of the cloak was Her image. Our Lady of Guadalupe has become a powerful sacred symbol of hope and help.

painting by Jennifer Mantle

The name “Christ-Sophia” is a symbol of divinity that makes equal connection between genders, races, and faith traditions, thus providing a foundation for partnership instead of hierarchies. “Christ-Sophia” draws from the biblical and historical connection between Christ and “Wisdom,” a female name for the Divine in Hebrew Scriptures (Hokmah) and in Christian Scriptures (Sophia). The apostle Paul describes Christ as “the power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Sophia from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the way, the life, and the path (Proverbs 4). The writer of the gospel of John refers to Christ as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). For a fuller explanation, see In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians.

painting by Stacy Boorn

Multicultural, gender-inclusive names and images of the Divine hold promise for inspiring social justice through shared power. This Christmas season we can sing and celebrate the Divine coming into our world in diverse races and genders. Our inclusive worship inspires powerful partnerships that contribute to peace and justice.

Video Credits

Performed by: Spiral Muse (formerly Devi Vaani)—Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, and Alison Newvine with Lana Dalberg on violin—from album Sing of Peace, recorded at Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA   

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Visual Art:

Katie Ketchum: Sing of Peace album cover and “Ancient Wisdom”

Stacy Boorn: “Black Madonna,” “Christ-Sophia, and “Purple and Orange”

Shonna McDaniels: “Black Madonna”

Katherine Skaggs: “Black Madonna and Child”

Jennifer Mantle: “Our Lady of Guadalupe”

Mirta Toledo: “Christ-Sophia”

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