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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
  • Water
  • Green food colouring
  • Models of roots which can be attached to your Tree Model
  • Musical Sticks
  • a candle
  • matches
  • 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.

Opening Ritual

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!

The Reading

Let us imagine

Imagine you are the line segment living in Lineland that we talked about a few days ago. You can travel forward and backward but you cannot even conceive of any other directions. Now imagine that the line you live in is curved. Everything in your universe can only go forwards and backwards along the line and is physically incapable of interacting in any other direction. Imagine you have eyes on each end of your body that can emit light. You emit a burst of light from your forward eye. The light, being made of Lineland matter-energy, heads off in the forward direction along the line. But even if the line is curved to the left, the light will follow the line.


You could imagine this as the light driving along a single lane freeway with concrete sides and which curves to the left. The light tries to go straight forward and rubs against the concrete sides and is redirected slightly to the left. But this would be wrong. The light doesn't bump against any kind of wall. If Lineland is curved then the line the light is traveling along is curved and the light will curve without interacting with anything to the side; remember nothing in Lineland can interact with anything to the left or right; left and right are not in their physics.

Now let's imagine another line segment is hiding somewhere off around the curve of Lineland. Your burst of light hits that other segment in the face and some of it bounces back. The light comes back along the same path and hits you in the eye. Of course you weren't so foolish as to emit a burst that was so bright it would blind you when it came back. By the colours that were removed from the light before it returned you conclude that your neighbour has a green eye.

Can you also tell how far away your neighbour is? If you could measure the time it took for your burst of light to return to you, then, yes, provided light travels at a constant speed in Lineland just as it does here.

Can you also tell which direction they are from you? Yes and no. The light came from forward so they must be in front of you. Can you tell that they are to the left? No. You can't even conceive of the direction left. When you look ahead you do not see something like that freeway curving to the left. Just as in our universe you see by light but in your universe all light comes from directly ahead or behind. All you see is light that bounces off or is emitted by your neighbour on each side. The light can't miss you because it can't move to the left or right out of the curved line that is Lineland. So, no matter how far to the left or right the curvature of Lineland takes them, light from your neighbours always comes from directly ahead or behind you. To you they are directly ahead and behind you, there is no way that you can know that they are also to the left or right of you. Seeing as they can't move aside to let anyone else get past, you can never have a different set of neighbours. Lineland is a boring place to live.

Now imagine instead that you are alone in Lineland and that Lineland is so curved that it is bent into a circle. You go forward. As far as you can tell you are going in a straight line but because the linear 'space' of Lineland is curved into a circle you eventually come back to the same place. Of course, Lineland being such a boring place, there is no way that you can tell you have arrived back at the same place because all places are the same in Lineland. So you emit a burst of light from your forward eye. It goes all the way around Lineland and hits you in your rear eye. Some of it reflects off your rear eye and goes all the way around Lineland and hits you in your forward eye. Again from the missing frequencies you can tell the colour of your rear eye. Essentially, you can see your own eye staring back at you. From your forward eye, you can see your rear eye and from your rear eye you can see your forward eye. From your point of view Lineland is a straight line but for some reason if something goes far enough it arrives back at the same point. To you the universe is a straight line of a finite distance (the distance you have to travel to get back the same point; the circumference of the circle that you cannot imagine) where the two ends of the universe just happen to be the same place.

Contemplate how lucky we are to have three space dimensions which we can explore.

Silent contemplation

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!

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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