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
- A Leafless Tree Model to which "leaves" can be attached
- "Leaves" made of paper, paperboard, cloth or real ones
- A siphon or wick system which can transfer coloured water between two containers
- Two containers
- Green food colouring
- Models of roots which can be attached to your Tree Model
- Musical Sticks
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.
Each season has an end and when it ends, the next season begins. At these times we celebrate the change of season by doing a special double service.
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)
Tired of the Buckleberry winter, you have decided to take a vacation on the beaches of a tropical island. Luckily the airline let you bring your elephant, because it turns out that your elephant is really good at vacationing, especially at an all inclusive beach resort. When you are offered a fruity drink or a rich desert, his trunk reaches out and takes two (one for you and one for her) and you don't even have to interrupt your conversations with the other guests to think about it.
Your elephant likes to try all the activities available at the resort, scuba, surfing, parasailing. The sight of a parasailing elephant, even a metaphorical one, was pretty funny. And you would never have tried a lot of these activities if you had taken the time to think about the dangers involved. But because you are with your elephant, you don't have to think.
Still, one afternoon, you decide to escape from all the conversation and activities and overeating and over-drinking. It isn't that you aren't enjoying it all, it's just that you need some quiet alone time to process it all. You noticed at one point that hardly anyone goes to one end of the beach because it's all rocky and covered in rotting kelp.
You walk there now, and as you wander among the cliffs and rocks, a peace descends on you. You begin to notice little things. Insects feeding on the kelp, barnacles in tidal pools, crabs scuttling into the water as you approach. Your elephant, who was at first reluctant to leave the busiest parts of the resort and was complaining that she was missing out on a sale of really cute sundresses at the resort boutique, is now leading you along the beach, as fascinated as you by the little fauna populating it, but you notice, still carrying a fruity drink with its over-sized straw and paper umbrella.
Up ahead you spy something greenish blue lying on the beach. Your elephant leads you towards it and before long you see that it is a person, a pregnant woman, yes, Gaia. As you approach, her you see that she is sipping on a fruity drink while reading a bright yellow book through sunglasses. She is lying directly on the sand. As you sit on the sand by her feet with your elephant, she slips the sunglasses down her nose so that she can look at you and half puts aside the book.
"Oh, it's you! How are you enjoying your vacation, little one?" she asks, putting the book down entirely. You see that the title is 'Chemistry for Deities'.
"It's wonderful!" you cry out enthusiastically and then you say, a little guiltily, " but I will return to my life of devotion to you soon!" and then, in order to change the topic, "What brings you here?"
Gaia laughs, "Little one, I am everywhere that there is Life. Especially at this resort where all the people are so alive. And lying on the beach in the rays of Sol feels so good."
"You like the feel of the Sun on your skin?" you prompt, just hearing Gaia's words soothes you. Your elephant looks deeply contented.
"I like the taste of Sol's light in my plants. It tastes so sweet. Sugar blossoming into existence at a rate of thousands of tons per second. No thought on my part goes into it. It just happens because all the individual plants and animals and fungi and algae and bacteria each do their thing. So sweet!"
"Literally!" you laugh.
Gaia closes her eyes leaving the sun glasses slipped down her nose so that she can feel the sun on her eyelids.
As you think about what she said, your elephant reaches out with its trunk and gently lowers you onto the sand beside her so that you can enjoy the warm sun also.
You think about how the speedy thoughts of your conscious mind seem so important but how they are supported by so many layers of activity that you don't have to think about. "Gaia, I am blessed to be a part of you, " you tell her. "I am blessed that so much supports this train of conscious thought that forms the core of me: my mammal brain, my reptile brain, my fish brain, all the complex chemical machinery of my body." Your elephant notices that you are getting too hot and uses its trunk to put the straw of that fruity drink to your lips. You suck in a cool swig from amongst the ice cubes and the cool and the sweet is welcome.
"You are blessed, little one," she says without opening an eye or moving a muscle. "And it doesn't end there. You are also supported by the labour and organization of billions of humans who work to supply your needs, the functioning of unimaginably large numbers of animals who provide crucial ecological services to this biosphere, the plants who form all that sweet sugar, more than 100 times the mass of all human beings each year in net new sugar."
"You seem obsessed with sugar Gaia." you laugh. Your elephant wipes a trickle of sweat from your forehead just before it would have dripped into your eye.
"Of course I am." she laughs with you, "Sugar is the main currency of my energy budget." she dozes a bit in the sun and then says, "You know, I too am blessed to be part of such a perfect universe. And you are also blessed for that through me. There are all the inorganic processes that you don't have to think about too, Sol burning millions of tons of mass per second to produce the light that we are enjoying, Terra rotating on her axis each day, like a rotisserie, keeping her one side from burning and the other from freezing. The moon and its tides which made the transition of Life from sea to land so much easier."
"All that is there in order for us to be!" you cry out joyously. Your elephant trumpets enthusiastically.
Gaia laughs, "No little one. We are blessed that it is all there but it is not there for us. All this may be happening without a thought from us, but it is also happening without a thought about us. If I am lucky and you do your job and the Destiny comes about, I may yet become an important player in the universe, I might even shape the fate of the universe, that is a topic for another season. But right now I am a thin, spotty green film on a pale blue dot and none of this was made for me or you.
"Yes we are blessed but we are not chosen."
As you continue to doze on the beach thinking about this, you sleep and when you wake you are back in this world at service.
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 meditation.
The third Liturgical Season runs from the spring equinox to mid-spring (approximately May 5th) and covers the period from the Cambrian explosion to the invention of trees in the Devonian. The major advances of this period are leaves, veins, roots, and wood.
- We gather to mark the passing of a week
- To align our hearts as one.
(Light the Sol candle)
- Bare rock ... still ... bare rock.
- And then ... <gasp> ... Green!
- Cells clump. Organs specialize. Life senses Sol. Structures harden.
- Forests grow.
- In the lush green forests, species are born.
- And for every species ... there was a story!
(Stand up a tree cut-out, leafless but dendridic)
(As one person stands it up, the others raise their hand and wiggle their fingers like a growing tree)
- This is the story of how they came to be,
- these trees with whom we breathe!
(Breath deeply three times contemplating that the oxygen you are breathing in came from green plants)
- First came the leaves, ?floating? leaves,
- the surfaces on which Sol's fire was captured!
(Pin or clip leaves to the tree cut out)
- Next came the veins, organizers of resources,
- Both Xylem and Phloem,
- raising water and minerals,
- and storing sugar.
(suck some water through a syphon tube from an elevated bowl, then let it flow up and down into a lower bowl)
- Then came the roots!
- Digging deep, searching for minerals.
- Digging deep, anchoring stems fast.
(Add roots around the base of the tree cut-out)
- Finally, plants invented wood!
- Turning soft cells into tall trunks,
- Reaching high into the air, thickening the biosphere,
- Making 100 meters of air freely available to crawling and jumping animals.
(participants play musical sticks, and dance around the tree.)
- Leaves. Veins. Roots. Wood.
(Squat with arms crossed and then, as you stand, spread your arms and fingers like a tree growing)
- From bare rock ... Forests!
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.