You will need:
- 3 seeds per participant
- dish filled with soil
- complex mechanism which can be actuated such as a gear box (perhaps made of Lego)
- two beakers (one half filled with water)
- 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.
- We gather to mark the passing of a week
- To align our hearts as one.
(Light the Sol Candle)
- Wilderness ... still ... wilderness ...
- And then ... <gasp> ... civilization!
- People. Warm-blooded. Social. Tool-users. Talking.
- Nations coalesce.
- In the fertile lands, cities are born.
- And for every city ... there is a story!
(Open book sign)
- Cities grew out of farming, the first massive division of labour
(plant 3 seeds in a straight row in a dish of soil)
- Making Scientists and Priests possible
- Allowing Artisans to evolve into Industry
- Cities were fertilized by religion,
- Beliefs that bind bands into cities
- Beliefs that infuse cities with community
(ASL sign for belief but modified:  instead of clasping your own hand at the end of the sign, clasp those of the people next to you (or reach toward the screen to 'clasp' those in other locations on Skype)
- Then came science!
(Pour water from one beaker to another)
- The practice of seeking truth through experience.
- The upward spiral of knowledge
(The ASL sign for knowledge: right hand open, fingers together palm down, tab above right brow twice  Then sweep the hand through an upward spiral until arm is extended directly up.)
- Finally, democracy emerged!
(Ballot stuffing motion as in ASL for VOTE: )
- Making striving for their self-chosen destinies,
- Freely available to all living citizens.
(ASL for Freedom like in Spirit of Life)
- Farming. Religion. Science. Freedom.
- From Wilderness ... Civilization!
Your elephant stumbles across the floor of a cathedral; you hang on tight, not wanting to be thrown off onto the hard mosaic floor. You notice that inlaid into the floor is a giant image of a human brain.
Your elephant regains her balance and stands firmly between the mosaic and a white marble staircase which spirals down into the floor.
You look down the staircase and see three little girls in white robes with glowing blue eyes descending the stairs toward you.
As you overcome the shock that seeing Sophia always gives you, you are shocked once again by the fact that she is descending up out of the floor. The geometries of both the gravity in the staircase and the staircase itself seem impossible.
"Sophia, what is warping the space in that staircase? " you ask as the three Sophia bodies acrobatically flip through the warped geometry at the base/top of the stairs.
They reply in their disconcerting unison voice, "Metaphorium, Just One; that is the ivory tower of Philosophy which confuses the metaphor given that it is both a tower and the foundation of human thought. "
You turn and watch the Sophia bodies as they spread out looking at the Cathedral with awe. And as you turn, you see that the Cathedral is only half a Cathedral. The building is L-shaped and to your right there is a science lab, filled with workstations each sporting a different assortment of shiny glassware and beeping machinery. Instead of stain glass windows, at that end of the building there are whiteboards covered in hastily drawn diagrams and long complicated equations.
You glance back to your left and re-examine the place where the cathedral and science lab meet and see that there is a third wing of the building running at 90 degrees to each of the others. This wing is a cavernous art studio, filled with easels and plinths upon which half finished sculptures stand.
You hear a noise to your right and turn 90 degrees to find a large hall and in it a political rally is ongoing. People are raising placards above their heads which say, "Politician for Leadership; We Believe in Ideology". A person wearing a brightly coloured suit stands on a high stage above them giving a speech. Somehow, although you can tell the suit is brightly coloured, you can't tell if it is blue or red, green or orange.
You glance about looking for the three Sophia bodies and find that she now has many more than three bodies and as usual they are arguing. You turn 90 degrees to your left and find several Sophia bodies drawing diagrams on white boards. You are confused. Wasn’t the art studio 90 degrees to the left of the political rally? One Sophia body is yelling, "Science is the most important form of human thought, look at how much more successful it has been compared to the others."
"Hah, you think science is successful," you hear a Sophia body call from your left and turn 90 degrees to see three Sophia bodies in the art studio, shooting the love scene of a movie.
“Oh, here is the art studio?” you think. “Did I lose track?”
One Sophia body is kneeling, engagement ring extended; she yells, "look at the size of the entertainment industry! Art is hugely successful. "
"Hah!" You hear again. You turn 90 degrees to your left and see three Sophia bodies in a shop tinkering with a rocket engine while electronics with flat screens display massive amounts of data around them.
“A fifth wing, all at 90 degrees?” You mutter, “Metaphorium again?”
One of the Sophia bodies, with a smudge of black grease on her cheek yells, "The success of engineering underpins both the success of science and art in the modern world."
"Hah! " you hear from your right and turn 90 degrees to see two Sophia bodies sitting on an old couch in front of a white board in a lounge.
“How many wings does this building have? All at 90 degrees?” You say quietly.
One of the Sophia’s on the couch yells, "Mathematics underpins the success of both science and engineering. Mathematics is both the purest and most important form of human thought. "
Gaia appears beside you, “Enjoying this exploration of the dimensions of human thought, Little One?” she asks.
Before you can reply, someone clears their throat. Everything else goes silent. You turn 90 degrees to your left and see the politician in his brightly coloured suit standing with his supporters arrayed in ranks behind him. It feels like this wing should have been behind you. You turn 180 degrees all in one go and there the same wing with the same people are but the colours are somehow opposite. “ Dimensions!” you think.
The politician says, "Who rules you all? Whatever success you have, it is the glory of politics and ideology that it serves. "
A sudden loud cracking sound interrupts everything and you wonder if architecture is about to make a solid point. You look 90 degrees to your left and see the life size gold crucifix above the Apse shatter raining chunks of gold down on the alter and exposing Jesus.
Jesus struggles to get free of the cross and then leaps down into the choir. "I do wish people would quit nailing me to things. " he says and then stands in the choir smiling enigmatically.
Your elephant trumpets to announce His arrival. In the silence that follows, you ask Him, "Are you here to champion religion? "
"Me? " he replies incredulously, “No. ... I've been told what I personify. Re-emergent complexity. Not religion. Who would ever associate me with religion?" He looks pointedly at the nearest Sophia body, who looks down bashfully. "No, you all are already making a case for the importance of religion."
There is a cacophony of confusion as dozens of voices erupt around you disaffirming Jesus's statement.
You step toward Jesus and the movement of your elephant regains everyone's attention, "Jesus, he was just saying that politics is important because it rules everyone else and she was just saying that engineering is important because it creates the technology that underpins the success of science. No one was arguing for the importance of religion. "
"Exactly. " Jesus says.
There is just silence.
And a longer puzzled silence.
"I have to lay it out for you, don't I? " Jesus says.
More silence, this time of the embarrassed kind.
"Very well." Jesus looks around at the crowd. The cathedral is filled to standing room only with Sophia's by this point. "Politics is the most powerful of human endeavors because politics is about power. Science is the truest of human endeavors because science is about truth. Engineering is the most inventive of human endeavors because engineering is about invention. Art is the most beautiful of human endeavors because Art is about Beauty. Math is the most logical of human endeavors because Mathematics is about logic. "
No one disagrees.
Jesus concludes, "Well religion is about importance. "
Ninety degrees to your right, you hear one of the Sophia's on the couch in the lounge say, "And rhetoric is about deceit."
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.