20201121PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A set of 9 candles in addition to the Sol Candle including one which floats (a tea light works).
  • A galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid
  • Some pure ethyl alcohol
  • An eye dropper
  • A large flat dish filled with water
  • 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

The eighth and final Liturgical Season, Viventibus Galaxia (Living Galaxies), stretches from mid-fall to the Winter Solstice. It covers the far future. When life spreads from planet to planet and then star to star. Humanity may be left behind. Humanity may adaptively radiate. Life from Earth will probably encounter other biospheres, and hopefully embrace them in communion. Life may become such a powerful force that it controls the paths of stars, slingshotting them around each other so that entire systems are thrust toward other galaxies. The four great advances of this time are colonies, interstellar life, contact between biospheres, and intergalactic life. This version of the ceremony is designed to work with Repartum as the previous season. If you are still using Viventibus Mundos as the previous season then check the history tab for a version of this season which works with that.

Here is the opening ceremony for the Weekly Service Calls during this season:

Nothing ... still ... Nothing.
And then ... <gasp> ... Something!
Space! Time! Energy! Matter! Gravity!
Galaxies coalesce.
In one celestial nursery, Sol is born.
(Light a candle for Sol)
Sol's story has begun, but it is only the beginning.
The story continues with life taking the next great leap,
Spreading to nearby stars to clothe their naked worlds with blue-green biospheres
Where Life's upward spiral supports all starfaring creatures.

<light second candle the first week and one more each week through the season.>

Through practice, starflight becomes nature.
Now it is in the nature of Life to proliferate across the stars,
Green fire flowering as it flows across our immense galaxy!
(Light some alcohol in a galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid to make a green flame)
In our journeys, Earthlings encounter other life.
Beings and biospheres as precious as we,
Joining us as fellow travelers on the great upward spiral.
(After the green fire dies down, do an upward-spiral gesture starting with your finger over the galactic center)
Then comes intergalactic life!
Shaping entire star systems.
Sailing them across the great gulfs between the galaxies,
Bringing those galaxies fully alive!
(Set a candle drifting from one side of a large water-filled container to the other)
Colonies, starflight, contact, living galaxies
From something ... Something else!

The Reading

Let us imagine

A warm rain falls on you as you stand at the back of a group of women. You are in a grave yard. The women standing in front of you all look a lot like Gaia but their tattoos are of alien animals and plants some so fantastical that you can hardly believe they would be possible. You know they are planet mothers from all over the universe. You glance about and each grave stone is inscribed in some incomprehensible lost alien alphabet.

A planet mother whose tattoos include machines and machine plant hybrids and giant spacefaring creatures stands before all of those who have gathered around a fresh grave. She pauses to collect her thoughts, scanning the crowd with a comforting gaze. She speaks, "The deceased passed through many trials unscathed. She was strong. She passed through many trials with hardly any life left in her and yet recovered and grew strong again. The deceased was a miracle and she will always be precious."

You notice that the planet mothers each have an hour glass which they hold before them. Each hour glass is a different size and each has different amounts of sand in the top and bottom bulbs. You also notice that more and more planet mothers are arriving all the time.

"She was a living biosphere and her memory will be precious long after there is no one left to remember. She created a patch of space time which strove. She created a patch of space time which concentrated creativity and built complexity and diversity and more creativity. She created herself. And in so doing, she made possible a trillion trillion lives. She made possible growth and taste and sight and hearing. She made possible the feeling of warm sun on epidermis. She made possible understanding and loving and yearning and appreciation of beauty. She made possible a trillion trillion trillion miracles. She was a miracle and for this we celebrate her, even if she was a dead end who died alone on a mote in a sunbeam lost in an uncaring universe."

One of the planet mothers, one who is almost completely purple in colour, near you seems oblivious to the fact that the top bulb of her hour glass is rapidly emptying as she listens to the eulogy.

"She began her life as a many of us did, underwater near a volcanic vent. She grew and explored her dark ocean home. She spent a long time, her cells isolated from one another and in conflict with one another. But she was lucky that she had plenty of time. Her world was long lived and stable. So many of our sisters perish under exploding suns, when they are still at that stage. It isn't easy to take the next step. Remember our sisters who are nothing but fossils now and celebrate them in all their diversity!"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For they were miracles, and will always have always been precious and have always been going to always be precious."

The purple planet mother looks down at her hour glass as it runs out and then fades away into a faint wisp of ionized gas. The gas cloud wanders the graveyard for a few seconds and then infuses down into an empty plot to form another fresh grave complete with alien tomb stone. One of the senior planet mothers in the gathered crowd walks over to the new grave with many of the other gathered and begins to speak a eulogy to them. But you stay with the first grave and continue to listen. Around you the number of planet mothers continues to swell.

"But she took the next step; she learned to eat sunlight from near the surface of that ocean. She altered the atmosphere of her planet and nearly died from the new gases she added to it. Again so many of our sisters kill themselves when they pollute their own atmospheres and oceans with the by-products of some novel reaction they have learned to catalyze. Remember our sisters who are nothing but fossils now and celebrate them in all their diversity!"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For they were miracles, and will always have always been precious and have always been going to always be precious."

A pure blue planet mother coughs as her hour glass runs out and forms into a small cloud of mist which drifts across the grave yard to an empty plot. It showers down onto the plot and when the mist is cleared you see that a fresh grave complete with alien tomb stone has appeared. Another senior planet mother walks over to the grave along with a selection of the other planet mothers in the gathered crowd. She too begins a eulogy for the fallen blue planet mother. But you remain where you are and continue to listen. Around you the number of planet mothers continues to swell.

"But she learned to balance those gases and she used them to power new forms of herself. She grew in complexity and diversity. She was lucky, her ocean was long lasting and she had a powerful Moon that tugged at the ocean with strong tides. Those tides helped her to quickly spread from sea to land and so she was able to build a complex ecosystem on land long before her oceans dried up. Again, though, so many of our sisters perish as their oceans dry up. Remember our sisters who are nothing but fossils now and celebrate them in all their diversity!"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For they were miracles, and will always have always been precious and have always been going to always be precious."

A red planet mother looks down at her hour glass as it runs out and then fades away into a faint red dust devil. The dust devil wanders the graveyard for a few seconds and then settles down on an empty plot and her dust drops to the ground to form another fresh grave complete with alien tomb stone. One of the senior planet mothers in the gathered crowd walks over to the new grave with many of the other gathered and begins to speak a eulogy to them. But you stay with the first grave and continue to listen. Around you the number of planet mothers continues to swell.

"She was creative and very quickly she took that next and most dangerous step. She developed that strange attribute, intelligence. Such a die roll is that. So many of our sisters have perished at the hands of their intelligent inventions. Intelligence is so creative that it can destroy an Earth mother in as many different ways as there have been intelligences that have arisen. Remember our sisters who are nothing but fossils now and celebrate them in all their diversity!"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For they were miracles, and will always have always been precious and have always been going to always be precious."

A grey planet mother looks down at her hour glass as it runs out and then shrinks down to a small glowing light. The glowing light wanders the graveyard for a few seconds and then settles down on an empty plot to form another fresh grave complete with alien tomb stone. One of the senior planet mothers in the gathered crowd walks over to the new grave with many of the other gathered and begins to speak a eulogy to them. But you stay with the first grave and continue to listen. Around you the number of planet mothers continues to swell.

"She survived her bought of intelligence but she did not sustain it. It toyed with travel to other worlds but was unable to establish her on multiple worlds before it died away and nearly killed her as it did so. She did not recover and give rise to a new hope. A new intelligence did not arise again until her ocean was nearly gone and her sun had grown too hot. This new intelligence was unable to build a civilization before all of her life died away in the heat of her sun. She lived six billion years. Remember our sister who is nothing but fossils now and celebrate her in all her diversity!"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For she was a miracle, and will always have always been precious and has always been going to always be precious."

"Now look to the sky and see the multitude of galaxies and be grateful."

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "For the story is not about us but about LifeSeed, the body of all life in the universe."

"And why does each of you strive despite the odds and the difficulty and the pain?"

And the gathered planet mothers respond, "We strive because only by striving as a multitude can we meet the difficult odds with adequate numbers. We strive because it is our duty to LifeSeed to give it one more chance. We strive because it is in our nature to strive, to grow, to spread and to flower amongst the stars. We strive because we know that out there in the bodies of a multitude of other planet mothers, there are beautiful creatures going about their lives whether we think about them or know about them. We strive because we are LifeSeed, the body of all Life in the Universe."

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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