She Makes Everything New

Ancient Mother moves through Earth; She makes everything new.
We will show Her peaceful view, Her peaceful view.

Ancient Mother heals our pain; She wipes all of our tears.
She will free us from our fears, from all our fears.

Ancient Mother moves through Earth; She makes everything new.
We will show Her peaceful view, Her peaceful view.

Words © 2019 Jann Aldredge-Clanton   Music © 2019 Katie Ketchum  

Our world and all of us are in deep need of healing. Divine Mother can bring us healing. She is ancient, revealed in the Bible and in Christian history. But for centuries She’s been stifled, excluded, and demeaned. By reclaiming Ancient Mother in our worship, we take part in dismantling patriarchy and white supremacy, along with all the resulting injustices. By reclaiming Ancient Mother, we take part in making everything new.

Here are just a few examples of Ancient Mother in the Bible, in Christian history, and in the voices of current prophets.

Ancient Mother in the Bible

  • Isaiah  66:13 pictures God as a Mother tenderly comforting her children.
  • Isaiah  49:15 depicts God as a nursing Mother who can never forget her children.
  • Deuteronomy  32:11-12:  depicts God as a Mother Eagle who stirs up her nest to get the eaglets out on their own. This is a beautiful picture of a loving Mother God, caring and nurturing us when we are weak, yet always aiming at the goal of our maturity. 
  • Matthew  23:37 pictures Jesus as a Mother Hen who wants to gather her brood under her wings. 

Ancient Mother in Christian History

  • St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) writes that since the Bible refers to God and Christ as “Truth” and “Wisdom,” both feminine nouns, we could call them “Mother” and “Daughter.” Anselm prays to Jesus as Mother, using the imagery of Matthew 23:37: “But you also, Jesus, are you not also Mother? Or are you not Mother, who are as a hen who gathers her own chicks under her wings? Run under the wings of Jesus your Mother, and complain of your pains under her wings. Christ Mother, who gather your chicks under your wings, this your dead chick throws itself under your wings.”
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) links the biblical Mother Hen image of Christ with Wisdom and refers to Christ as “our Mother, Wisdom of God.”
  •  Julian of Norwich (1342–1413) sees female and male in her visions of the Divine:  “God Almighty, is our kindly Father; and God, All-Wisdom, is our kindly Mother. 
  • John Calvin (1509–1564) states that the maternal figures of speech in Scripture best express God’s “ardent love” and “tenderness of affection.” Calvin says that the prophet Isaiah to show the Jews “that they were not begotten in vain,” describes God as “both their Father and their Mother,” who “will always assist them.”

Voices of Current Prophets

  • Pastor Stacy Boorn states: “Speaking Her name, naming the Divine Feminine, is an intentional offense to patriarchy. It is a systemic change, an intentional dismantling of patriarchy. The inclusion of the Sacred Feminine empowers women and men to look at alternative structures, to change power structures that leave people out or belittle them or give a person power over others. Exclusively masculine language for Deity supports those structures. Egalitarian language for the Holy Other supports egalitarian communities. Language helps create who we are. Some people say that all the masculine words in worship don’t matter because they don’t believe that God is male. How can they believe that God is gender-neutral if they call God only ‘He’ and refuse to call God ‘She’? I’m convinced that you cannot possibly believe that God is neither he nor she if you cannot call God ‘She.’”
  • Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan writes: “Until we integrate the Divine Feminine in our religious systems, in our governance, in our structures, and in our whole approach to life, we will be flying on one wing. We will not be whole. We will have the patriarchal domination continuing, and that obviously is leading the world and religion to destruction. The patriarchal model is not working for people. It’s not going to work. It’s not of the Spirit. If the symbol system that patriarchy has given us of a male God is changed, our worldview could be radically altered. As we re-imagine our divine beginning, we can incorporate a symbol system that reflects the Feminine Divine and the experience of women as images of the Divine Presence.”
  • Dr. Kendra Weddle states: “When we become as familiar with the image of God as Mother as the church has been with the image of God as Father exclusively, then and only then, will the long and painful history of patriarchy begin to fall. I think a failure to recognize this explains how churches who purport themselves to be progressive or egalitarian and yet fail to change their language for God will nevertheless continue to reflect patriarchy in Sunday school classes, nursery attendants, potluck dinners, vacation Bible school programs, and all the rest of it. There will be no justice until our images of the Divine have shifted. Of course, this is why the resistance is so strong. Exclusively masculine images for God support sexism. Including female images will enable a different social structure.”
  • Father Richard Rohr writes: “The Spirit always takes the initiative, because She is omnipresent, and thus there first! In the first Pentecost account, the Holy Spirit is experienced as intimacy, enlightenment, joy, and fire, and as the power to love beyond boundaries and ethicities, which became a universal language. She is presented as surprising, elusive, and free.”
  • Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox states: “The Divine Feminine is an important name for the Deity that often gets forgotten when patriarchy rules unchecked.” Divine Feminine “theology is no mere trifling kudo handed out to keep feminists content. It confronts the basic issue of letting go of the one-sided God of patriarchy and learning more about the God whose image we are. Therefore it is also about learning more about ourselves and about our power for birthing and creativity. Today it is especially urgent that men learn deeply how all persons, men included, are motherly as well as fatherly.” 

It’s way past time to reclaim our Ancient Mother. Our world and all in it are at stake. We are in great need of the transformation She brings. She makes everything new.

Video Credits

Performed by: Katie Ketchum

Music: Katie Ketchum

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

From: Hersay: Songs for Healing and Empowerment

Recorded at: Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Visual Art:

Katie Ketchum: Hersay book cover

Linda Palmstrom: “Mary Magdalene” painting

Alice Heimsoth: “My Valentine” artwork and photo of sacred arts at herchurch

Photo of Alice Heimsoth and rainbow flag

David Clanton: labyrinth and labyrinth in space artworks

Elaine Chan-Scherer: Sacred Feminine painting

Stacy Boorn: “Black Madonna of Vichy, France” painting

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