20200926PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Gaia mask for each participant. A simple plain green Colombina will do or a more complicated mask featuring landscape elements such as mountains, rivers, and forests, or anything in between.
  • A bowl of dry potpouri, flower petals or small dried leaves
  • A large bowl of water
  • A maple key or other large floating seed for each participant
  • An ice cube for each participant
  • A set of 9 stones
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff

Check-in

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

Repartum is the seventh Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolizes human care for the life from Earth. It runs from the Fall Equinox to Mid Fall. 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)

A Hurting World ... everywhere ... Pain and Loss …
But is it ... <gasp> ... the pain of rebirth?

<Baby cradling motion>

Farming. Religion. Science. Freedom.
A civilization aching with conflict, yet bursting with potential.
Will we learn to tell a new story?
A New Story where we are parts of Gaia.
A New Story where we contribute to her flourishing!


<make book-opening motion>

This story is about letting go
Abandoning the delusion that we are separate from Nature
Abandoning our attachment to our existing civilization
Sparking a new story into being
A New Story where a reborn civilization flourishes
in alliance with the rest of Gaia

<hold up a Gaia mask in front of our faces>

Next we learn to preserve and regenerate
Both keeping wild places wild
And wilding degraded places to bloom with life again
Speeding Gaia's recovery from the losses we have inflicted

<Pour grass, potpourri flower petals, and maybe some small leaves onto the Gaia statue> (the more diversity the better as Gaia is healed by regeneration of diversity)

Then we learn to empower Gaia
Contributing greater ability to our Goddess
To thrive in greater profusion
To thrive in new places on the Earth

<float an ice cube and a maple seed or pine seed on water in a bowl>

Finally, we learn to spread life beyond Earth
Making millions of barren worlds freely available
To grow new biospheres, Gaia's children

<shower mixture onto a stone the first sabbath of the season and then an additional stone each subsequent sabbath>

A New Story of Life; Life regenerating, Life empowering, Life spreading and flowering.
From a hurting world … Rebirth!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are standing on a rocky beach backed by dense forest. Mountains rise on the horizon across the waves. Gaia approaches you and points to a spot a ways up the coast. “That is the site of the Space Needle, Little One,” she says. There are no buildings in sight.

You look at Gaia and notice that her belly is flat, and the continents laid out on it are in somewhat unfamiliar positions. “Ah, so this must be the distant past, long before Seattle was built, before humans first dreamed of space travel?” you suggest.

“No, little one, this is millions of years after the city and the species that built it destroyed themselves,” Gaia replies sadly. “On this timeline, my pregnancy ended in abortion, for humans never succeeded in spreading Life to other worlds.”

You feel immense grief and despair. “So now you will never give birth to new living worlds!” you say. “All your life will die in a billion years when the Sun grows too hot and boils away the oceans!”

“Perhaps,” Gaia says calmly. “But your pessimism is born of egotism.”

You are perplexed by this rebuke, but before you can ask Gaia to clarify, you hear a splash. Looking back at the waters of Puget Sound, you are amazed to see a peculiar wheeled vehicle topped by a transparent dome, rolling out of the water and up onto the beach. Peering in through the dome, which seems to be made of some kind of crystal, you're amazed to see a being with W-shaped pupils in its eyes and ten short tentacles reaching ahead of its bulbous body, two of them gripping levers that clearly control the strange craft.

“This is one of my new intelligent sparks, the distant descendants of what you knew as cuttlefish,” Gaia says with quiet pride. “For the first forty-two thousand years of their existence as civilized creatures, they never rose above the ocean waves. But now, their curiosity has gotten the better of them.” The vehicle rolls past you toward the forest. “They have chosen to travel into a realm utterly hostile to cuttlefish life,” Gaia continues, “a realm where they cannot breathe without a technological cocoon, simply so they can know My diversity better.”

The Sun, which was shining above you, suddenly accelerates downward toward the distant mountains. Night falls, then moments later the Sun rises again above the forest behind you, arcs across the sky, and sets again. Time continues to accelerate until years are passing in instants, then the Sun suddenly slows to a halt at midday.

Now another vehicle emerges, this time floating up from the deeps some distance from shore. It bears a striking resemblance to a seaplane, and indeed, it roars to life and soon takes to the air. “Traveling over land in wheeled conveyances quickly grew tiresome for creatures accustomed to complete freedom of three-dimensional motion,” Gaia explains. “The amphibious airplane has made it far easier for the cuttlefish to explore the heartlands of vast continents.

“But there's a problem,” she adds as the scene shifts around you. Now you're standing next to a landing strip cut into the middle of the forest, but the airplane approaching it is weaving erratically from side to side, finally careening disastrously into the trees.

“Cuttlefish eyes, with their strange W-shaped pupils adapted for seeing underwater, simply can't see clearly in air,” Gaia explains, still standing next to you. “But look here!” Suddenly you're back on the beach, standing before a large array of brick kilns containing crucibles full of some yellow-glowing liquid, manipulated with long metal tongs by what appear to be cuttlefish wearing transparent spacesuits. “Cuttlefish have learned to make glass,” Gaia says with a proud gesture, “developing their art rapidly in an environment where high heat is enormously easier to achieve than it ever was underwater. Soon they will begin stamping out eyeglasses that bring the fuzzy visions of the world of land and air into sharp focus. Of course this simple technology is a great boon to the work of cuttlefish ecologists and paleontologists trying to piece together the Great Story of Life on land and in the sky. But it also has an enormously significant unexpected outcome, one that may change the fate of the galaxy itself.”

You are shocked at this grandiose statement, but then its meaning comes clear. Your pride is hurt as you realize that these cuttlefish may succeed where humans failed. Then shame rises in you as you realize what Gaia was saying earlier about your egotism.

Now you're back at that forest airstrip, with a seaplane sitting neatly at the end of the runway. It's night, and a cuttlefish pilot wearing a spacesuit—no, you suppose you should call it an airsuit—pauses in some maintenance task to look up at the sky. The suit includes oddly-shaped glass lenses mounted over the pilot's eyes.

“Imagine, little one,” Gaia says, “that when you looked up at night, all you could see was blackness and a fuzzy white patch for the Moon. This cuttlefish is now seeing something different, for the first time in cuttlefish history!” You follow the pilot's gaze up to see the bright points of planets and stars and the soft wash of the Milky Way arching overhead.

Then Gaia gives a sudden gasp of unmistakably sexual pleasure. You look down at her in surprise. “The moment of conception,” she breathes. “This cuttlefish has just imagined jumping into her airplane and trying to fly it high enough to reach one of those mysterious objects. Instead, she will dedicate the rest of her life to convincing her fellow cuttlefish to look up at the heavens. Though physically female, she is now the oneiric father of a potential family of new living worlds!”

Jealousy wars with wonder within you. To numb out the intensity of your feelings, you focus on something trivial. “What does oneiric mean?”

“From the Greek: of or relating to dreams,” Gaia says absently, stroking her belly, perhaps feeling the quickening of new life within.

There is a brilliant flash, and suddenly you and Gaia, her belly now swollen with pregnancy, are standing near the base of a building that looks very like the Space Needle. All around you is a vast crowd of cuttlefish standing on their tentacles. A huge saucer-shaped spacecraft rests on a launchpad nearby. At the base of the resurrected Space Needle is a stage with several finely-dressed cuttlefish standing on it—and you realize that most of them, and many of the cuttlefish in the crowd as well, are wearing only partial coverings, leaving their gills exposed to the air!

“I will translate for you,” says Gaia as one cuttlefish slithers up to the front of the stage and complex patterns of color and texture begin to flow over its flanks, also visible on several huge video screens as cuttlefish camera operators train their lenses on the speaker. “This is a cuttlefish philosopher well versed in what cuttlefish archaeologists have learned of humanity over the past several centuries,” Gaia explains. “He's asserting that history could have gone no other way. 'Humans,' he says, 'never had a real reason to want to live anywhere other than Earth. They never even adapted themselves to life underwater as some of us have adapted ourselves to life in the air.'” The speaker takes a deep breath through his mouth, his body clearly inflating as his dormant gills flutter prettily in the breeze.

“'And besides,'” Gaia continues the translation, “'there is no air of the kind we Earthlings can breathe on any other world in the Solar System—but there is water, water everywhere! Oceans of it lurk beneath the surfaces of Ceres and Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, Enceladus and perhaps Titan and even Pluto! Yes, these oceans are all locked away under thick layers of ice and sometimes stone—but cuttlefish drilling technology is up to the challenge, and curious cuttlefish eyes will soon verify our robots' findings and encounter in person something human eyes never saw—the native life of the ocean of Europa!'”

The crowd cheers wildly—or at least you assume that's the meaning of the exuberant washes of green and yellow spreading over their skins—as with a deep thrumming sound, the flying saucer lifts slowly from its launchpad, accelerates, and arrows away into the heavens. And you are left wondering—is the philosopher right about the difference between humans and cuttlefish? Does the likely lack of dissolved oxygen in the oceans of these other worlds prove him wrong? Or could some humans on another timeline simply be so motivated to explore space and spread Life that they would brave the endless airless wastes and prove that Gaia needs no cuttlefish to attend her Great Birthing?

Silent contemplation

Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...

(Service Leader rings the bell)

(silence)

(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)

Discussion

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.
Gaia's bursting through boundaries is a painful and joyful process.
It is the pain of Earth giving rebirth to herself.
It is the joy of a myriad new possibilities emerging.
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 Rebirthing and 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,
growing,
nurturing,
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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