The Sacred Feminine

8 March 2024
Global Council Chair; Executive Committee Chair; Global Council Trustee (At-Large); Senior Advisory Council Member

Today, March 8, International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide. On this day, we honor the sacred feminine spirit in all beings  – an energy that both manifests in form and that allows for shape-shifting and fluidity among forms in the service of life. The “sacred feminine” is an energy often associated with coherence and connection – as well as with suppleness, service, and surrender.

In ancient times, and still in so many cultures today, a young woman is raised to serve her family and yet also to leave her family in order to serve and propagate a new family when she marries. The female and feminine are celebrated for their ability to adapt, surrender, connect, and humbly weave a resilient net for the support of all life – old and new. The feminine spirit is often represented in interlocking circular or spiral, rather than sharp pyramidal or hierarchical, shapes.

Given its vital role in creating and maintaining life, the sacred feminine or goddess energy is vibrant and fierce, not weak and anemic.

At the heart of the United Religions Initiative is this sacred feminine spirit, embodied by men as well as women. A movement of everyday people making positive change in local communities, URI is a strong, global grassroots network of interfaith groups bridging differences to undertake common action and find solutions.

Organized into Cooperation Circles, individuals in these groups remain rooted in their traditions while also reaching beyond their own religious and spiritual forms to tap into and build bridges with that which is sacred in other manifestations of spirit. It is by remaining supple and connecting across and beyond one’s own form that one surrenders more deeply to the sacred formless and to the essential wholeness lying at the heart of all traditions – a vital energy that drives positive, concrete, creative, collaborative action in the world.

The empowerment of women is a focus area for a large percentage of URI’s 1100+ Cooperation Circles in over 112 countries. In today’s world, we collectively face an acute and growing global polycrisis – a crisis of democracy, heartbreaking conflict and violence, climate emergency, and the growing intelligence of machines – all arguably manifesting a pervasive “wounded masculine” energy. In these times, URI circles’ predominant focus on lifting up women and the feminine is reflective of the wisdom expressed by Einstein, that “problems cannot be created at the same level of awareness that created them.”

While International Women’s Day is often an occasion for celebrating gendered women for their achievements and contributions, let us recommit to honoring the sacred feminine – and the varied, often invisible, ways in which committed grassroots volunteers, men and women, across the URI network embody feminine spirit in order to serve and hold up the emergence of new creative possibilities in our world. 

As indigenous Australian artist Lilla Watson has said, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

On this International Women’s Day, let us recommit to working together – not in a spirit of charity or conferred benefit, but in a sacred feminine spirit of circle – to build a resilient web of interconnection for the liberation of ourselves, one another, and our world.


Principle 8 of the URI Charter focuses on the practice of equitable participation of women in all aspects of URI.