20210821PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

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
  • 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

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

(Turn gears)

Cities were fertilized by religion,
Beliefs that bind bands into cities
Beliefs that infuse cities with community

(ASL sign for belief but modified: [1] 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 [2] 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: [3])

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!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are climbing the hill at Buckleberry. The slope is strewn with oak leaves half covering mossy rocks. The trees are older and bigger than they are now, but they have only a few small leaves. A patch of snow still lingers at the base of a small cliff. It is early spring. A group of people are walking with you. The path is well established, stones are cemented into place, railings support elderly members of your group as they pause for breath on the path. You realize you are walking with the elders because you are one. Children climb through the railings and scramble up the slope chasing each other, laughing and calling out their imagined experiences. 'My triscanner has detected aliens over the next slope!' 'I'm a wolverine.' 'I'm a giant dung beetle.' Everyone has been painted for the occasion with blue and green face paint. Some have only done their faces, others are completely clothed in paint, painted up as Gaia herself.

'Is she still there?' you ask yourself looking up the slope through the maze of trunks, 'It has been another harsh winter.'

A pregnant woman beside you turns to you and you see her blue green face isn't just paint like everyone else's. Gaia is walking among you, 'The statue will still be there, Little One.'

'You know this, Gaia?' you ask more out of shock that she is there than to really question her knowledge. While you talk you continue to walk around a hair pin turn designed to make the path easy even for a wheel chair to negotiate.

'Little One, remember, none of this is real. This is your hoped for future. A well established seed village, working toward the Destinies and gathering every spring to celebrate the beginning of spring. These are all your hopes. The statue will still be there because it is what you hope for.' You reach the turn that takes you into the final ravine that leads to the top of the hill.

'But if we put one up this year, the real year that I am imagining from that is,' you falter but Gaia smiles allowing you to continue, 'It won't last forever.' You remember this spot, when you first came here there was a huge tree fallen across the ravine here that you had to crawl over. The log is long gone but a patch of particularly mossy ground to one side, hints that maybe it's effect is sill being felt.

Gaia laughs, 'Of course not, Little One, nothing lasts forever. Most things which appear to last, are renewed. Am I the same Gaia who yearned to emerge from the sea four hundred million years ago.' You crouch to pass under a tree that has fallen during the winter and is leaning against a tree of the other side of the path.

'No, I suppose not.' You frown trying to understand what she is getting at. Ahead the view is blocked by a cedar hedge circling the top of the hill.

'So, as long as this community renews itself, it will renew the statue too.' Gaia points to the top of the hill, 'Some young person has already climbed the hill earlier in the spring and checked on her. Probably many have. This land is being worked to keep the community alive,' Gaia points to a nearby tree and you can see that a large portion of its branches were recently harvested, 'If she had been destroyed, then this procession would be carrying her replacement.'

You pass through a gap in the cedar hedge and see the statue. It isn't the one that you imagined. It is carved wood and stands eight feet tall, not a painted mannequin standing six feet tall. There is a fountain at her feet that fills a pond which spills through the cedar hedge into a stand of oaks beyond. Beyond that you can hear the sound of a small waterfall. A young woman, painted thoroughly as Gaia, steps up beside the statue and turns to the group. 'Life is precious', she calls out.

Everyone chants together, 'It has always been precious; it will always be precious.'

The woman calls again, 'Life, exuberant, bursting through boundaries to flower and spread,'

Again everyone chants together, 'Creates the conditions for more Life in an upward spiral of ever growing possibilities.' You chant with the others but your eyes are drawn toward the statue. It seems freshly painted and barren. She has no tattoos of animals, the world is a mere outline on her belly, you wonder why isn't she more ornate.

But the woman isn't calling the full creed she jumps ahead, 'Through art and the natural world, we awaken within ourselves and others.' A few young people wander through the group handing out bits of paper and spray cans of paint.

You chant with the others, 'That Cosmic Religious Feeling, that ignites wonder, fosters compassion and inspires invention.' You are handed your spray can and your bit of paper. The paper is a tiny stencil of a giraffe and penciled onto the edge of the stencil are the words, 'lower back' You look again at the statue and realize what is about to happen. The renewal of the tattoos and the world are done by the group every year. You mutter, 'It is a ritual that binds us to the statue, to the land and to our dreams.'

Gaia, still standing beside you nods, 'It's a beautiful act.'

The woman is finishing the creed, 'We have learned that,'

And everyone together calls, 'We are SolSeed, children of the Earth and Sun, We Bring Life!'

Then everyone forms a queue and each person approaches the statue, bows in reverence and then holds their stencil to the right spot on her body and makes a few quick sweeps with their spray paint can. Some people are better with their cans than others and some tattoos are faint and others are perfect and others still have drips and smudges. Each person calls out a line of scripture as they complete their stencil. Some are lines you don't recognize, some are lines from stories or authors we hold dear. Some are lines from the creed and when it is a call, the group responds.

Your turn comes and you go round to the back of the statue and find a bare patch of her lower back and hold your stencil there. You spray and the paint comes out tan, the colour of light patches of a giraffe's fur. You pull your stencil away and you are pleased with your work, a little giraffe among a plethora of land animals wandering Gaia's back. 'Empathy is transcendent, without empathy, passion and wisdom are evil.' you call

The response comes, the pledge to love others and to grow ours. A tear creeps into your eye and one of your giraffe's feet forms a drip and runs a short distance down Gaia's back. 'Empathy calls us not to demand perfection of each other' you think and step down from the base of the statue and back into the group.

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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