You will need:
- 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
- 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 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!
Quote of the Day
"We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct." -Niels Bohr
Thoughts for the Day
Yesterday we contemplated the idea that we are not made of atoms but instead that we are patterns imprinted on atoms. Today, let us consider the Big metaphysical question, "What is matter?" We need not start with debates between Democritus and Aristotle as to the existence of atoms. We now know that almost all matter is made of atoms and that all atoms are made of sub-atomic particles such as electrons, protons and neutrons and that all sub-atomic particles are made of quarks. Perhaps it is possible to break quarks down into yet more basic particles. But string theory models the most basic particles as just folded space-time. This is why string theory requires eleven dimensions; that makes space-time complicated enough for folds in it to account for matter.
String theory isn't necessarily the best model for explaining matter. The jury will always be out on that question. But with more work, someone might prove that it is an exceptionally good model, like relativity, quantum mechanics or evolution by natural selection. If that happens then we will be able to say that space-time and matter-energy have been unified into a single concept.
Unification is important in science. Relativity unified space and time into one concept and that is why we talk about space-time. Einstein's equation, E = mc^2 unified matter and energy into a single concept that we now call matter-energy. A basic understanding that sound and light travel at very different speeds allowed us to unify the once separate concepts of thunder and lightning, although, it never became fashionable to talk about thunder-lightening.
The unification of space-time and matter-energy would result in a single concept we might call space-time-matter-energy but that is an awful mouthful. Instead we could call it spimanergy.
But if all matter and energy is actually just complex folds in space-time then as it moves around it must fold and unfold space-time the way a single ripple bends and straightens the surface of a still pond. Just as water doesn't cross the pond with the ripple, no spimanergy is actually traveling when an electron crosses the vacuum tube in an oscilloscope. The pattern of folding that the electron represents moves but the spimanergy just wobbles a bit. The electron is like a magic bit of origami where all the folds are concentrated in one part of the paper but the folds themselves perform expert origami and create a copy of themselves in the next segment of paper and smooth themselves out as they do so and so the origami moves about the paper while the paper remains pretty much still.
Contemplation for the Day
If you can, perform this contemplation sitting near a stone or rock.
So if matter-energy is really just a pattern of folds in space-time, does anything really exist? The answer is yes. If you yell, "I refute it thus!" and kick a stone, the folded spimanergy that makes up your toe will not just pass through the folded spimanergy that makes up the stone. Don't actually do this, because, your foot will come to a painful stop.
This is rather unlike ripples on a still pond which can pass right through each other. But it is a bit more like large waves which as they pass through each other create superimposed crests which then break losing much of the waves' energy. Eleven-dimensional spimanergy can be folded in complicated enough ways to represent a toe breaking when its owner kicks a stone.
So, even though they are just folded space-time, matter and energy still exist. Just as life is a pattern imprinted on atoms, those atoms are a pattern imprinted on space-time. The universe is like a gigantic eleven-dimensional sheet of origami paper and we are all complex patterns of folds in that same sheet of paper. The entire universe is a single object and the Body of All Life on Earth is a pattern of complex folds in that object. All the other bodies of all life on other worlds out there in the gigantic origami universe are folds in the same space-time sheet of paper.
Quietly contemplation this idea for a while. Open your mind to being a part of one eleven-dimensional biosphere-pattern folded into the same sheet of space-time origami-paper as the patterns of every other object alive or inanimate in the universe.
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.