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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

You are sitting on your elephant in a therapeutic massage clinic. The room contains a single massage table. The walls, floors and ceiling are black and there is a single bright lamp in the corner. The contrast is almost blinding. There are pictures of planets being pummeled by asteroids all around the walls: Jupiter being struck by comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, Terra being struck by a large asteroid in Central America, a massive planetesimal striking Ares to form the Hellas crater. You notice tiny tea lights in tiny sconces distributed randomly up and down and across the walls. You wonder what you are doing there.

Terra is Ready for her Massage Illustration by Genevieve Townsend

Suddenly, the door opens and Terra walks in. She is a young woman and not yet pregnant. Gaia is a pair of blue tights embroidered with images of Silurian sea life, a green bolero jacket embroidered with simple and tiny vascular plants, spiders and centipedes and a matching set of green gloves and a green domino mask. Terra strips off Gaia and tosses her in the corner of the room in a crumpled pile and then lies down on the massage table and says to herself, "I am so ready for a massage. After an Eon or two of Gaia covering me and interfering with the circulation of carbon and water and nitrogen, I need to relax and let loose." She closes her eyes and goes to sleep while she waits.

You are about to step forward and start her massage (what else would you be here for?) when Gaia stands up and puts a gloved finger to where her mouth would be, if she had one, indicating that you should be quiet. She steps up the bed and puts her gloved ethereal hands on Terra. It is a strange sight to see a few pieces of clothing floating in mid air. Gaia's gloves spread out just above Terra's back leaving only a few millimeters of space and little rootlets grow down from the palms of the gloves and tickle Terra's back.

"Oooo! That feels good," Terra moans, "Those minerals haven’t moved in ages, they have just been locked in place." Gaia continues to work, building soil between her roots and Terra continues to coo, "Oh, therapeutic mud mask, I like it!"

Gaia focuses her mind carefully controlling a billion trillion tiny rootlets as they probe Terra's stony skin.

Terra responds, "Your teasing me, you are only unlocking trace amounts of Cobalt, Molybdenum, Lithium, Manganese, Chromium, Selenium, Iodine and Copper. Why don't you want to move those elements around in quantity?"

Gaia continues to work while Terra asks, "You are really focused on Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Chlorine, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, Fluorine, Zinc and Silicon. What is up with that?"

Gaia begins to work in circular motions and Terra continues to coo, "Oh cycles! You are cycling all of those elements through my water tables and soils and sediments and in some cases my atmosphere. I like it!"

Gaia expands her movements to cover all of Terra, head to toe.

Terra releases a deep sigh, "I feel so much more than I was; my minerals are circulating all over my surface in such complicated ways. I can feel it all becoming more and more intricate. Plants and animals are concentrating and then dispersing specific minerals, building complex molecules with them. I feel so alive! All of my skin is tingling!"

Gaia works a while longer, but she seems to be melting down, all of the bits of clothing flowing toward Terra. Terra mutters softly to herself, "I feel so complete, I feel so relaxed, I could sleep. I am starting to feel chilly." She yawns a fiery yawn and then falls to sleep.

Gaia collapses, flowing over Terra's body like green lava, forming a thick dark-green terry cloth bathrobe to keep Terra warm. The bathrobe is embroidered with hundreds of animated images of tiny plants.

While the goddesses are sleeping, you sneak out of the room and back to your normal life.

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.
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,
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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