20200208PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

For services during the season of Conflatorium you will need the following:

  • a bowl of ice cubes with a fossil frozen into each (one for each participant and several additional ones)
  • A bowl of hot water
  • A hand snack for each participant in the shape of an aquatic creature (gold fish crackers, shrimp, strips of Nori glued together with honey to look like jelly fish)
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff

Check-in

Leader: Who would like to share?

The participants briefly update each other on how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.

Opening Ritual

The season of Conflatorium (melting) is the second Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolizes and celebrates the emergence of complex life in the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, after the melting of Snowball Earth 590 million years ago. During this season the Weekly Service Calls use the following Opening ceremony:

We gather to mark the passing of a week
To align our hearts as one.

Conflatorium Service Altar

(Light the Sol candle) (take an ice cube from bowl and hold it in your hand)

Ice ... just ... ice ...
and then ... [gasp] ... Melting

(Drop the ice cube into warm/hot water)

Warm Sun! Open Water! Dry Land! Scented Breeze!
The sea teems with new lifeforms ...
As the ice melts, they emerge to tell their story!

(pour the ice cubes (or big block of ice) that have things (e.g., trilobites) frozen in them, into the bowl of warm water)

Cells transcend themselves
Uniting with multitudes of sisters to become something more;
Complex life explodes into a dazzling diversity of forms!

(Participants clasp hands, or join two hands clasped if you are alone)

Next opens the mouth, the first structure,
Both the feeder of animals,
and the singularity that
gave animals direction.

("Chase" and then eat some food, e.g. seaweed, suishi, shrimp, or goldfish crackers ... participant's choice)

Then come the senses!
Taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing
((Put fingers on mouth, nose, eye, temple, and ear, thus touching all five senses))
The sensing which gave the first animals reason to swim.
The sensing which still directs us today!

Finally, Animals secrete calcium,
Armour, Shells, Teeth, Bones,
Massive, piling, surfaces fold through open water,
A billion allies emerge,
Life learns to make new reefs, new worlds,

(building motions of one hand on top of another going up up up?)

Cells Join to Cells.
Mouths. Senses. Shells.

From silent ice ... teeming reefs!

(schooling fish motion where each finger is a fish)

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are scuba diving with your elephant through a deep dark ocean. Ahead an orange glow catches your attention. Curiosity draws your elephant toward the glow and you follow without thinking. You see that the glow is coming from fresh pillow lavas cracking and revealing the red hot lava inside them. Nearby a giant black smoker towers above the ocean floor, black smoke flowing from multiple vents in its side and top.

Gaia and Terra are each sitting in crooks between the smoker's branches. Both appear barely in their teens, Gaia has only underwater lifeform tattoos, mostly bacteria and protozoans. Gaia is yelling at Terra. You can hear her even through the dense water, after all she is a goddess, "Make more carbon dioxide, I need it."

Terra yells back, "Your the one who pulled it all out of my atmosphere making this oxygen crap; you managed to oxidize all of my surface iron."

Gaia yells back, "Well I need more carbon dioxide. You are freezing me to death."

Terra scoffs, "So freeze to death. What do I care? I can be an ice world. Ice is as alive as anything that ever was a part of you."

Gaia is offended, "Not true, it doesn't grow."

Terra laughs derisively, "Ice crystals grow."

Gaia is confused, "It doesn't move around of its own accord, locomote."

Terra shrugs, "Neither do plants."

Gaia points a finger at Terra triumphantly, "It doesn't reproduce."

Terra is nonplussed, "If you chip a tiny bit of ice off a big crystal and drop it into a pool of super-cooled water the entire pool with freeze solid almost instantly. That is reproduction isn't it."

Gaia shakes her head, no, "Only under very special conditions. Life can reproduce under any conditions."

Terra points back at Gaia triumphantly, "Then why do you need more carbon dioxide? Earlier you were complaining there was too much. You have been fiddling with the salt concentrations in my oceans for eons because you say that they have to be just so for Life. And you say that super-cooled water is a special condition."

Gaia leaps from the black smoker cracking a branch which bleeds more black smoke, "Well if you won't help me then I am going to create a creature which can release the carbon dioxide I need."

Terra stands and calls after Gaia as she swims away into the dark water, "Watch you don't go too far."

You are drawn back to reality by a noise outside. You watch a logging truck climbing the slope of the highway outside your window trailing a long trail of black diesel smoke. "Watch you don't go too far," you think to yourself.

Silent meditation

Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...

(Service Leader rings the bell)

(silence)

(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)

Discussion

Leader: Who would like to share?

The participants take turns talking about what they were thinking about during the meditation.

Reading of the SolSeed Creed

Please respond to the portions of the Creed highlighted in bold in unison:

Life is precious.
It has always been precious,
it will always be precious.
Life exuberant
bursting through boundaries
to flower and spread
creates the conditions for more Life,
in an Upward Spiral
of ever-growing possibilities.
As you are alive, and I am alive,
and in kinship with all other beings
who call Terra home,
we are Gaia --
the body of all Life.
The Destiny of Gaia
is to take root and flower amongst the stars --
to give birth to a family of living worlds.
As intelligent sparks of Gaia,
we are called to express her excellent nature,
we are called to attend the Great Birthing.
We who answer this call
dedicate ourselves to Gaia,
We join together
in a community of practice
to align our words and actions
with our highest aspirations.
Through awesome experiences
of cosmic, biological, and cultural creativity,
we awaken within ourselves and others
the Cosmic Religious Feeling
that ignites wonder,
fosters compassion, and
inspires invention.
Our three sacred duties are to
embrace Passion,
cultivate Empathy, and
pursue Wisdom,
So that our being honors Gaia
and our striving hastens the Great Birthing.
Passion drives us.
Without Passion
Empathy and Wisdom are lethargic.
I pledge to stoke the fire in my belly,
to compassionately care for my inner elephant ---
to really be me, Happy in the Sun!
Empathy is transcendent.
Without Empathy,
Passion and Wisdom are evil.
I pledge to love others as I love myself,
to consider their needs as if they were my own --
to Grow Ours, not just Get Mine!
Wisdom is effective.
Without Wisdom,
Passion and Empathy are reckless.
I pledge to train my elephant through regular practice,
to stand ready to transform my worldview in the face of new evidence --
to cultivate sound instincts.
Through Passion, Empathy, and Wisdom
we have come to know that:
We are Gaia's People --
children of the Earth and Sun,
awakened by starlight,
growing,
nurturing,
discovering --
We Bring Life!

Closing Words

Leader: We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fires of commitment ... these we carry in our hearts until we are together again.

Leader extinguishes the candle with the Candle Snuff

Leader: May your week be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.

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