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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 and your elephant are underwater and caught in the embrace of Dimiourgós Zácharis, Goddess of Photosynthesis. Sophia is somewhere nearby observing, watching to see if you drown. Dimiourgós is sucking the breath out of you on a regular basis in order to harvest the oxidized carbon you produce. You can hear Gaia and Sol arguing with each other about Sol's distending belly. You feel that your situation is precarious.

Gaia is speaking, her voice emanating from everything all around you and even from within you, from your very bones, "Maybe you need more exercise, my love." As Dimiourgós listens to her mother she slowly breaths in pulling the air from your lungs, your elephants lungs and undoubtedly all of the other things she embraces, the giant mushroom, the burning and rotting and slowly oxidizing wood.

Sol responds, his voice echoing from on high, "It is just part of aging, Gaia, nothing I can do about it. As I metabolize my hydrogen supply, the helium that is produced bloats me." Dimiourgós continues to listen and continues to slowly draw the air from your lungs. You watch Sol's rays refracted through the waves above, playing on her branches and long to return to the surface.

Gaia replies, "Well it is giving me hot flashes!" Still Dimiourgós pulls air from your lungs. You start to feel the pressure to draw air in but the Goddess is stronger than your chest muscles; you can't resist her pull.

Sol laughs, "That is just the effect of that pregnancy you are going through. If you aborted your pregnancy and got rid of those humans, I think your hot flashes would go away." Your elephant struggles desperate for fresh air but the Goddess' grip is irresistible. Still she lazily breathes in.

Gaia cries, "What don't you want to have a daughter with me? I thought you loved me!" Dimiourgós suddenly sucks the rest of the air from you.

Sol gets worried, "Of course I want to have a daughter with you, Gaia! Just not at the expense of you and that pregnancy is really doing a number on your body." You start to black out.

Dimiourgós speaks up, "Wait you already have a daughter: me! Why do you want another daughter?" She inflates your lungs a little too harshly.

It is Gaia's turn to get worried, "Oh Dimiourgós, we love you. Wouldn't you love to have a sister? She would be a different kind of being from you. We are thinking of naming her Ares. You could help care for her. You could ensure that her creatures have a great supply of sugar. You are such a Sweetie. You could do the same thing for her that you have done for me." Dimiourgós pulls the air from your lungs at a leisurely rate as Gaia speaks.

Dimiourgós sounds uncertain, "Would I still get to hang out on Terra with you?" She inflates your lungs gently as she speaks.

Sol speaks up, "Of course, daughter, you will always have a home here on Terra." Dimiourgós sucks the air from your lungs.

Gaia gets upset again, "Only if you get your belly under control, Sol!" she cries, "If it keeps growing you are going to cook me." Dimiourgós doesn't breath back into you. You feel panic rising in your elephant again, as she isn't getting any air either.

Sol gets angry, "We have been over this, get rid of the humans and get your carbon dioxide levels down and you won't be so hot." You are still waiting for air from Dimiourgós. Your elephant begins to struggle but the Goddess' grip is too strong; you can't escape. You notice a shadow in the refracted light of the waves; a bridge or catwalk hanging above the water.

Now Dimiourgós gets angry, "But I like the high levels of carbon dioxide that the humans are making. If you get rid of them then I will be starving. Even my C4 machines can't manage levels much lower than we had before the humans showed up." She breaths hard in you and you are amazed that your lungs can inflate that fast.

Gaia agrees, "Yes those levels were too low, I was getting chills." Then she gets angry again, "But if your belly keeps growing, Sol, I would have to reduce my CO2 levels below even that and what will become of our daughter then." Dimiourgós sucks hard drawing all of the air from your lungs.

Dimiourgós cries, "Dad, you said you would always take care of me!" and she breaths back into you.

You think hard at the Gods hoping that they will hear your thoughts, "Well he can't always take care of you, eventually he will get too hot and heat Terra way too much for any Life to survive."

Dimiourgós gives you and your elephant a shake sucking the air from your lungs as she does so, "Well, if you are so smart, do something about it." She breaths back into you so powerfully that you feel like your lungs might burst.

You remember thinking about a plan to save Gaia from Sol's expansion, "Well we can just migrate to Mars. As Sol expands, temperatures on Mars will also rise and they will get to be in the right range just as Earth becomes unlivable." Dimiourgós sucks the air out of you again.

Gaia cries out, "Little One, you would abandon me to my fate! I mean, I am happy that you would give me a daughter but I want to live on too." Dimiourgós gives you a sharp blast of air; you feel like a party balloon.

You wish you had actually spoken of your true plan, but at the last minute you had feared that it was too audacious a plan. So instead you suggest, "What if we breed plants and animals with CO2 pressure bladders. Then we can remove all CO2 from the atmosphere and simply store it in bladders. Animals can literally trade CO2 for nectar from plants and your photosynthetic machinery, Dimiourgós, can keep working even without CO2 in the atmosphere." Dimiourgós slowly pulls the air from you.

Gaia asks, "How would you remove all CO2 from the atmosphere?" The air comes back uncomfortably fast.

You have an answer prepared, "Well, we have to do it slowly over hundreds of millions of years, so it won't be that difficult really. First, we have to switch over to a renewable/electric power system. Then, the simplest way is to distill the CO2 out of the atmosphere and then burn olivine in a high pressure reactor in a pure atmosphere of that CO2. Terra has enough olivine to burn up all of the CO2 in the atmosphere a hundred billion times over. We can sustain the process because olivine plus CO2 produces magnesite and quartz and a little heat. The magnesite and quartz can be stored easily enough. We can use that heat to produce electricity to run the mining and distilling equipment. We might have to supplement with renewably sourced electricity if we can't get the efficiency of the process up to a high enough level to run on the heat alone." Dimiourgós pulls the air slowly from you as you think out your answer.

Dimiourgós moans in ecstasy at your words, "Breed me plants with CO2 bladders then, Burning One!" She fills you with sweet oxygenated air.

You hesitate. You eye the bridge that you can see above the water, its image wobbling in the waves.

Dimiourgós pauses in her respiration with you, "Well."

You project your thoughts to her haltingly, "Well, we don't actually know how to do that yet. It will take a while to develop that technology. But I am certain we can do it in less than a thousand years and that is a blink in the eyes of Gods and Goddesses like yourselves, right?"

Dimiourgós is angry. She tosses you and your elephant back up onto the bridge, "Quit teasing us. Do you have a solution that doesn't involve magic?"

Dimiourgós and the Hot Pregnancy by Genevieve Townsend

The bridge groans under the weight of your elephant and you. Sophia in her many-bodied form is standing on the bridge and its railings looking at you, “Well done, Just One, “ she says in her unison-voice, “It is amazing how quickly you can come up with a solution to climate change, if your elephant really believes it is a Life or Death issue.”

Will the bridge hold the weight of your elephant this time? Or are you about to fall back into Dimiourgós' embrace. Do you have another solution for her that doesn’t involve magic?

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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