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
- a bell or signing bowl
- a candle snuff
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.
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.
(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)
Quote of the Day
"For example, if the big bang had been one-part-in-a billion more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies to form and for life to begin." - Robert Lanza
"I do not claim any ability to read God's mind. I am sure of only one thing. When we look at the glory of stars and galaxies in the sky and the glory of forests and flowers in the living world around us, it is evident that God loves diversity. Perhaps the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity." - Freeman Dyson
Thoughts for the Day
This week let's think about galaxies. Consider this image taken by Hubble. It is an image taken of the darkness between stars. In the darkness between stars Hubble found not just the odd galaxy but billions of galaxies:
The universe is made of vast amounts of empty space and then within that empty space is dotted billions of galaxies. Why is the universe filled with a hundred billion galaxies? Why would the universe need that many galaxies? What is the relevance of all that matter and space to us, as humans, here on Earth? Is it just to make us feel small and unimportant?
We live in one not-particularly-notable galaxy out of those hundred billion. From the point of view of creatures made of matter, such as us, galaxies are where it is happening. In fact, Robert Lanza is right; if galaxies hadn't formed, life might not have begun. The existence of life is indirectly powered by the gravitational potential energy released in the coalescence of our galaxy.
In actual fact, most of life is powered by the energy emitted by the Sun. And that energy comes from the nuclear potential energy inherent in hydrogen. But to fuse hydrogen the Sun had to be heated up and its own gravitational collapse and the gravitational potential energy released by that collapse is what heated it up. In order for something the size of the sun to collapse gravitationally from a cloud of gas and dust, the gas and dust must begin as a reasonably dense cloud to begin with. This was the role fulfilled by the galaxy. The collapse of galaxies, out of the more or less evenly distributed hydrogen gas of the early universe, created pockets of stable matter density within the expanding universe where stars will be able to continue to form for a trillion years.
So that explains why we need one galaxy. But why are there a hundred billion galaxies? The answer is opportunity. There are three reasons why opportunity is the answer. The first reason is that complex, intelligent life which can ask the question, 'Why a hundred billion?', is rare in this universe. How rare we don't know. But SETI has been looking for it for decades and has not found it yet. It may be that the universe needed to be this big in order to be home to at least one species that could ask the question. This is called the anthropic principle. Of course, the better way to state it is backwards, 'The question is meaningless because you couldn't ask it if you didn't exist and you wouldn't exist if there wasn't a significant probability of your coming to exist in this universe, and there wouldn't be a significant probability of your coming to exist if the universe didn't have a large number of chances to create you, given that you are so improbable.'
The second way in which opportunity is an answer is that an expanding universe allows the quantum state of the universe to change continuously forever without ever repeating. A universe of static size could reach the same quantum state as it occupied before and, therefore, enter an ever repeating loop. In such a universe there would be no opportunity to explore ever new states. The universe would become repetitive and boring.
The third way in which opportunity is an answer is that in a massive universe full of lifeless worlds there is plenty of opportunity for life to flower and spread and flower again and again.
Contemplation for the Day
Quietly contemplate the opportunities afforded to the universe, humanity, and Life in general by a hundred billion galaxies.
Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...
(Service Leader rings the bell)
(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)
Leader: Who would like to share?
The participants take turns talking about what they were thinking about during the contemplation.
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,
- discovering --
- We Bring Life!
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.