You will need:
For services during the season of Genesis you will need the following:
- One seed for each participant
- A dish of soil
- A small cup of water for each participant
- a candle
- 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.
The season of Genesis is the first Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolises the deep past from the Big Bang to the invention of photosynthesis. 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.
Nothing ... Still ... Nothing
And then ... <gasp> Something!!!!
Time, Space, Matter, Energy, Gravity.
Galaxies coalesce ... in the celestial nursery, stars are born. And for every star, there is a story.
Our story began with Sol, the sun, the fire that sparks life into being.
(Light the candles)
Next came the Earth, our first home, both the shaper of life and the clay from which life makes itself.
("Plant" a seed in the soil)
Then came the water, the sea where the first life swam, the sea that swims inside each of us.
(Drink some of the water and use the rest to "water" the seed)
Finally life made the air, turning sunlight into fuel, freely available to all breathing creatures.
(Take three deep breaths)
Fire, Earth, Water, Air.
From Nothing ... Something
Contemplation for the Day
You are riding your elephant through a Roman military camp. You come to a river and see the Emperor of Rome standing by the bank of the river staring into the water pensively. His entourage seems to be made up of tiny monks in white robes. As you approach one of them turns her head toward you and you are caught in her blue glowing gaze. You realize the monks are actually Sophia, the many-bodied Goddess of Wisdom.
"Ah, Just One," Sophia says in Latin in her many-voiced speech as all of her bodies turn their gaze toward you, "we were just discussing the nature of time with this early part of you." It is strange for although you know she is speaking Latin, and although you don't speak Latin, you understand her perfectly.
You exclaim in surprise, "I am not made of Roman emperors." And you are doubly surprised that it comes out of your mouth in Latin.
The Roman emperor responds, "And I am Emperor Marcus Aurelius, not a mere part of this strange elephant riding barbarian!"
Sophia responds in her multi-voice, "You are both part of the same larger thing."
You respond, "You mean like humanity? Sure but humanity is a collection of beings not a single object, so usually we say that we are both members of the same collection not both parts of the same thing."
Sophia corrects you, "Humanity isn't a collection but a single object. In fact humanity isn't even a whole object but is actually part of a larger object."
One Sophia body speaks alone, "We are getting off topic. Let's ask Marcus again what he means by Time being like a river."
Then Sophia speaks again in her many-bodied unison voice, "Emperor Marcus Aurelius, you have said that time is like a river. Please explain how they are similar."
The emperor begins to explain, "First of all, time flows just as a river flows."
Sophia interrupts him, "No Emperor, time does not flow."
One Sophia body interjects, "Maybe in a blackhole it could be said to flow."
Another one replies, "No that is only a special case. He stated, 'time flows' as if all time flows. Besides, he is an emperor of ancient Rome. Black holes were not discovered until well after the Industrial Revolution."
Marcus Aurelius becomes visibly upset, "What is this revolution? Show me it! I will gather my legions and put it down. Rome will not tolerate revolutions!"
Sophia replies in her unison-voice, "Do not worry about that emperor, the industrial revolution will not happen for about sixteen hundred years."
Marcus Aurelius relaxes, "Oh good we have time to prepare."
Sophia replies again, "Speaking of time, why do you say that it flows?"
Marcus Aurelius looks smug, "Little girls, no sooner can you say that an event is happening than it is swept off into the past and a new event flows to your position on the river of time from the future. That is why time is like a river."
One Sophia body says, "Well that is completely anti-Copernican. How could he imagine that he stays still and all events flow past him? It would be wrong but, at least, far less presumptuous, to say that he was flowing through time encountering stationary events."
Another Sophia body replies, "Yes but Copernicus won't live for at least thirteen hundred years, and this man is the emperor of the greatest empire on Earth at this time. So it might not be surprising that he thinks the world revolves around him."
Yet another Sophia body laughs, "Well his world may revolve around him but he is just another fool who has fallen for the illusion of memory."
You are surprised and ask, "What is the illusion of memory?"
Sophia replies focusing the blue light of her many pairs of eyes on you as she does, "It is the illusion of movement of or through time created by the fact that at each moment in time we experience memories only of that point-in-time's past. It is an illusion which is made more convincing by the fact that those memories include memories of ourselves and those memories of ourselves include memories of ourselves in the act of remembering; we remember having fewer memories in the past."
You feel this is familiar and say, "Yes, I remember once, visiting the far future and having a conversation with a living bust of Ludwig Boltzmann who explained that to me."
Sophia replies, "Yes he understood this."
You consider this for a moment, "So, if we are not moving through time and time is not moving past us, then how can we exist at different times?"
Marcus Aurelius pipes up, "Yes, the Barbarian has a point. I crossed this river yesterday, and today here I am on this bank, ergo, time has passed by me!"
Sophia replies in her unison-voice, "Your visual cortex's are poor but sufficient for your survival."
Two Sophia-bodies take Marcus Aurelius by his hands and lead him into a nearby tent. You follow, still riding your elephant.
Sophia continues, "You form images of objects in three dimensions."
The inside walls of the tent are black but there is a bright lantern burning on a table to one side. Hanging from the top most point of the roof is a black cord and on the end of the cord is a silver ball.
One Sophia body takes the ball in her hands with one hand flat palm down across the top of the ball and the other flat, palm up with the ball resting on it. "You can see how tall an object is," the Sophia body holding the ball moves her hands so that she is holding the ball between her hands, her palms against the left and right sides of the ball, "how wide it is," and then she moves her hands again, so that she has one hand against her chest, palm against the back of the ball and the other hand palm against the front of the ball, "how long it is,” and still Sophia continues in her univoice, “but your visual cortex does not also show you how long the object lasts. It could. Afterall, by the time you consider an image formed in your visual cortex of an object, you are considering the memory of that image."
Another Sophia body turns down the lantern so that the black rope disappears into the gloom of the black tent and only the silver ball remains visible. The other Sophia body lets the ball go and it begins to swing back and forth on its black rope. But with the black rope invisible in the darkness, it looks as if the ball is floating through the air back and forth lazily.
Sophia continues, "If you added those images, " As the ball reaches the top of its ark a ghostly image of the ball appears and drifts slightly to one side, "one", the ball drifts back down its swing slightly and then another ghostly image forms overlapping the first but down and closer to the center of the tent. Both images drift slight to the side, "onto another", the ball swings further down and toward the center of the tent and a third ghost ball appears overlapping both of the others and all three images drift slightly to the side so that together they form what looks like a slightly curving silver worm, "to form a four dimensional image of the object in space-time,"
As the ball swings down through the center of the tent and then back up to the far side of its swing and then down again and through the center and back to its original position, spewing ghost balls the whole way, the long chain of ghost balls appears like a long curving silver worm which arches first to its right and then to its left.
Sophia speaks as this is happening, "then you would see the object's duration in your memory of it. Duration would look just like width or length but in another direction, a time direction."
The lantern is turned back up and the ghostly images disappear. A Sophia body grabs the end of the black cord and unties it from the ball. She hides the ball in her robe and produces from her robe a silver figure of a man and hangs it from the cord. The lantern is dimmed again and the figure is set swinging back and forth across the darkened space.
Sophia continues, “The same applies to any physical thing, including a human body.” The same silver worm ghost appears recording the path of the silver figure. But this worm is a silver worm with a human shaped cross section.
Still Sophia speaks, “But your lives are much more complex than just oscillating back and forth through the same ark over and over. So how can you imagine your whole life, as you wander around the world back and forth to work and on trips to visit your relatives, as you eat food and breath, as women have children and their babies’ bodies leave them and start their own journeys and as you emerge from your mother and she from your grandmother?”
Many silver worm people are now arching through the tent, some appearing through the walls and interacting with the swinging one, others splitting into two (one part remaining the same size and the other starting out small and then growing.
Still Sophia is speaking, “It all gets messy and complicated. Simplify the picture so that your mind can hold it. Focus on your own body shrinking as you mentally 'follow' it back through time into your childhood.”
All the other ghost worms disappear and you see that the original silver figure is now still. A single straight silver worm stretches out from it but tapering as it goes.
Sophia continues, “Picture your body as the blurred together chain of temporal parts tapering as you go back through your childhood to your infancy. Forget about the crazy twists and turns that your body makes as each day you go back and forth from your sleeping chamber to the dining hall. Simplify and focus on the change in your body’s size tapering down from many feet tall to perhaps just a single foot, still human shaped but narrower than the temporal section of you that we call your adulthood.
“All these temporal parts of yourself each have all of your physical parts; your arms and legs, brain and heart, eyes and ears. Each physical part flows smoothly through all of your temporal parts. Your right eye in one temporal part is always connected to your right eye in the next temporal part. Your right eye never suddenly becomes your left kidney. Your heart in one temporal part of you connects directly to your heart in the next temporal part of you despite the fact that both temporal parts of your heart are completely surrounded by different temporal parts of your torso. These two hearts are connected without having to exit your chest at any 'time in-between'. This is hard to picture because it happens in four dimensions and you are only good at picturing 3 dimensions. The best you can do is to kind of blur your image of yourself so that you become a kind of ghostly cloud of a person.
“As we move back through the moment of your birth, you reach the narrow temporal section of you where you were called a fetus.”
Another temporal worm person appears parallel to the first but this one does not taper. The narrow end of the first one curves and intersects the new one, appearing to be a branch of it, to emerge from it.
Sophia continues, “Now akin to how we described your heart, each temporal part of you is directly connected to the next while at the same time entirely surrounded by separate temporal parts of your mother's womb. There is no separation between you the infant and you the fetus. You are a single connected 4-dimentional worm. But now let us look more closely at the temporal part of you that was inside your mother.”
The intersection of the two silver ghost people expands and enlarges until it almost fills the tent. You can see one ghost inside the other. The inner ghost is no longer the ghost of a standing child but that of a floating fetus.
Sophia continues, “Follow the four dimensional blur of the temporal part of yourself that is you as a fetus backward in time as it tapers down to a single germ and merges with your mothers ovary. You are still there, a single germ line within your mother's four-dimensional space-time body but blurred beyond recognition. Again there is no separation between you the zygote and you the germ in your mother's ovary. From your adult self all the way back to that germ is a single four-dimensional object.”
The image zooms back out so that you can see the two parallel worm people again, one emerging from the other.
Sophia continues, “You are literally a branch of your mother; the same object as your mother in four dimensions. You seem like two objects now because you only see the temporal parts of your mother and you that intersect with the time we call now.”
A Sophia-body turns on the lantern again and the ghostly worms disappear in the harsh light and you see just two silver people each hanging from their own black cord.
Sophia continues, “But if you both stretch back through time as four dimensional worms to the point where you were part of her body then you are just connected parts of the same object in space-time.”
The lantern is shut off and the intersecting silver worms appear again.
Sophia continues, “Follow your mother back as she shrinks down into infancy and becomes a germ line in your grandmother.”
A third parallel silver worm person appears and the image zooms out so that you can see more of the mother and grandmother silver worm person pasts. The mother one narrows and curves disappearing into or emerging from the grandmother silver worm person.
Sophia continues, “That germ line isn't just your mother. It is also you. If you have siblings it is also them.”
Several other parallel silver worm persons appear each tapering down and intersecting with, disappearing into, emerging from the mother silver worm person.
Sophia continues, “That germ line in your grandmother doesn't somehow become all these separate people. It is them. They are all a single connected four-dimensional object that stretches through space-time. Each child emerges from its parent like a branch emerging from a trunk. Somewhere back in each child's past, it is still connected to the four dimensional blur that is its parent.
“Now imagine this line stretching back through dozens of ancestors several millennia. Hundreds of branches come off this temporal worm and most of those branches themselves becoming more and more worms until they account at the present day 'end' for our whole human population.”
The image zooms out and keeps zooming out. The individual silver worm people get so small that they appear as silver threads and the branching keeps intensifying until there are thousands and even millions of threads.
Sophia continues, “This isn't a family tree. It is a single four dimensional object. Humanity is not just a group of related people. It is a single four dimensional object. You are not just all brothers and sisters and cousins as we are taught by geneticists. You are all one object when viewed through the eyes of a temporal physicist.”
One line stretching from the “present day” and deeply into the past, turns red. A branch of it also turns red but stretches forward only to the “Roman era”.
“This red line doesn’t connect You, Just One, to you, Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This red line represents the part of humanity that is you two and all of the mothers needed to trace you back to your common mother. It isn’t a theoretical line connecting you through a family tree. It is all those people and you and all of those mothers are a single four-dimensional thread, one thread in many that make up humanity; you are both parts of the four-dimensional worm-tree that is humanity.
“Now imagine the stretching of this branching line further into the past to the common ancestor with all the other mammals.”
The zooming out gets really fast. The number of threads grows to billions and trillions and quadrillions. The whole structure that represented humanity shrinks down to a tiny section maybe a centimeter long at the present day end of the dizzying structure which stretches all the way across the tent.
Sophia continues, “You are not just related to the other mammals. Mammalia is a single four dimensional object. And on further into the past to the common ancestor with all other animals.”
The zooming out speeds up even more. Humanity shrinks to a point and disappears. You realize you were imagining that you could make out individual threads. Those are too small to see. The tiny threads you can see are actually huge bundles of individual threads representing entire clades.
Sophia continues, “You are not just related to all other animals. Animalia is a single four-dimensional object. And on further into the past to the common ancestor with bacteria.”
You reach out and grab a tent post to steady yourself as the zooming out reaches speeds that actually make you dizzy.
Sophia continues, “All life is not just related. All life on Earth is a single four dimensional object of which you are each but a segment or branch.”
The lantern is turned back on and the whole silvery structure disappears. You glance around. Emperor Marcus Aurelius is out cold, collapsed into a stupor on the soft ground of the tent’s floor.
Sophia has all of her eyes on him, looking disappointed, “Well we tried to explain it...”
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!
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.