You will need:
For services during the season of Conflatorium you will need the following:
- a bowl of ice cubes with a fossil frozen into each (one for each participant and several additional ones)
- A bowl of hot water
- A hand snack for each participant in the shape of an aquatic creature (gold fish crackers, shrimp, strips of Nori glued together with honey to look like jelly fish)
- 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 Conflatorium (melting) is the second Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolizes and celebrates the emergence of complex life in the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, after the melting of Snowball Earth 590 million years ago. 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.
(Light the Sol candle) (take an ice cube from bowl and hold it in your hand)
Ice ... just ... ice ...
and then ... [gasp] ... Melting
(Drop the ice cube into warm/hot water)
Warm Sun! Open Water! Dry Land! Scented Breeze!
The sea teems with new lifeforms ...
As the ice melts, they emerge to tell their story!
(pour the ice cubes (or big block of ice) that have things (e.g., trilobites) frozen in them, into the bowl of warm water)
Cells transcend themselves
Uniting with multitudes of sisters to become something more;
Complex life explodes into a dazzling diversity of forms!
(Participants clasp hands, or join two hands clasped if you are alone)
Next opens the mouth, the first structure,
Both the feeder of animals,
and the singularity that
gave animals direction.
("Chase" and then eat some food, e.g. seaweed, suishi, shrimp, or goldfish crackers ... participant's choice)
Then come the senses!
Taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing
((Put fingers on mouth, nose, eye, temple, and ear, thus touching all five senses))
The sensing which gave the first animals reason to swim.
The sensing which still directs us today!
Finally, Animals secrete calcium,
Armour, Shells, Teeth, Bones,
Massive, piling, surfaces fold through open water,
A billion allies emerge,
Life learns to make new reefs, new worlds,
(building motions of one hand on top of another going up up up?)
Cells Join to Cells.
Mouths. Senses. Shells.
From silent ice ... teeming reefs!
(schooling fish motion where each finger is a fish)
Yahweh sits in judgement on the high bench of his court. Before him, forced to kneel by hooded bailiffs, Gaia is in chains, crying and shaking with fear. Gaia is a deep green and blue robe covered in a multiplicity of animated embroidery. Under her, Terra is kneeling calmly. It is a confusing image a calm person wearing a agitated robe. The court is filled with barren [world mothers], personifications of dead planets and moons, their stony skins exposed and cold. The barren world mothers are talking in excited voices awaiting the beginning of the proceedings. You are sitting astride your elephant in the spectators’ gallery watching.
Yahweh slams down his gavel and the court room shakes to a sound like thunder or maybe a supernova. Everyone is silent except Gaia who whimpers in her chains. Yahweh speaks, "Who is the prosecutor of this case?"
You notice El sitting on his golden throne behind the prosecutor’s desk, "I am El, god of hidden stories, and I will prosecute this case." You worry that perhaps, if the prosecution's defining character is that he hides evidence, a fair trial is not likely.
Yahweh says, "Explain your case then."
El speaks without standing, but his golden glowing presence is enough to focus all attention on himself, "This world mother emerged about 3800 million years ago. Her age is 27% of the age of the universe. She is truly ancient. Her time has come and gone. It is time to end her and make room for something new under [Sol]. She is old and ugly and overly convoluted."
Yahweh nods, "I do not like to see my daughters grow old and ugly. Best to end them on a high note. How shall we execute her?"
The barren world mothers in the court cry out, "Renewal, Renewal!" Gaia whimpers with fear.
But a wind blows a wisp of fog into the court room and the fog envelopes the defense desk. From inside the fog a voice has spoken, "What about her defense father? You cannot condemn her without first hearing her defense!" You think perhaps that the memory of the words just appeared in your mind and you are uncertain if they were ever spoken.
The world mothers stop their chant of renewal and speak among themselves in outraged voices. Yahweh slams his gavel down again and once the echoes of the thunderous sound fade, the court room is silent once more. Your elephant shudders with fear.
Yahweh laughs, "There is no defense. The universe is deterministic. What I determine to happen, happens. That is all there is to it."
"Yes, you determine all," The words appear in your mind like they have always been there, and you realize that they must also have appeared in Yahweh's mind, "You even determined that I would exist. Not only that, you determined that I would be here today and that I would speak in her defense. And as you said, what you determine to happen, must happen."
A look of surprise passes across Yahweh's face and then is gone, "Of course this is true. I order you to speak in her defense."
The fog drifts forward and partially envelopes Gaia. She looks up into the fog with reddened eyes and hope creeps into her gaze. The words of Ruach were always there, "I call my first witness,” And a powerful wind lifts El's throne, with El in it, up and onto the witness stand. El just nods like he knew this was going to happen.
You know that Ruach asked his first question, "Is every story which is forgotten, lost forever?"
El smirks, "Quantum information cannot be destroyed, in a sense no story is forgotten by the universe. Stories are forgotten by people."
Ruach also asked, "And people used to say that Gaia was old and when they did so, they meant around 6000 years old, did they not." Gaia looks up into the fog and smiles.
El looks up at you in the spectator gallery and sneers, "People never remembered one ten-thousand-year period into the next despite living on Gaia for nearly half a million years. They made up and forgot more stories then they now remember. Even the 6000-year-old story is now being forgotten."
Ruach replied, "Not so much forgotten as thrown out. Now instead of believing Gaia to be old, they know she is old, older than they ever imagined. 3800 million years old." Gaia look worried and you wonder where Ruach went with this. But then you remember...
El asks Ruach, "Do you have a question for your witness?"
But then everyone in the courtroom seems to remember that Ruach already asked, "What is the standard age at which something or someone becomes old?"
El looks mildly embarrassed as he remembers being asked this even before he asked his question, "There is no standard that anyone can remember, old is relative, but 3800 million years is old by any measure."
But again, Ruach had already questioned this answer, "So a 600-million-year-old rock would be very young relative to the age of Gaia." Again, Gaia looks worried; she fiddles with her chains, testing them to see if she can slip them.
El laughs, "Exactly, even an ancient rock of a billion years of age is young relative to Gaia."
Ruach commented on this, "But on the other hand, a sunrise usually only lasts for a few minutes, so a sunrise that had lasted 10 hours would be old by comparison. Is that what you mean by relative?"
El nods, "No sunrise could last 10 hours but yes, if one did it would be old compared to a normal sunrise."
Suddenly the persons and furniture in the courtroom are standing at the South pole watching a Sun having just broken the horizon with its top edge but moving more laterally across the horizon than up. You shiver in the freezing cold, but the gods and goddesses present are unaffected. Ruach asked a question just before the court was suddenly transported to this frozen locale, "So if no sunrise can be 10 hours long, then, what could I ask about instead? How about a puppy? A 10-hour-old puppy is an old puppy, is it not, relative to a normal sunrise?"
The sun has moved behind El but is still only peaking its top edge above the horizon. Still El’s golden glow is augmented by the Sun's golden light as it continues to creep along the horizon. But he looks annoyed by it, perhaps because it will obviously take hours to rise, "You can't compare the age of a puppy to the duration of a sunrise. A 10-hour-old puppy is young because puppies remain puppies for months. You have to compare a puppy's age to the duration of a normal puppy."
Ruach asked another perhaps unrelated question, "People used to use the word, 'world', to mean all that is, did they not? The story used to be that there was just one world, but they have forgotten that story haven't they?"
El is angry now, "Yes, as I said before," he cries, "they have forgotten more stories than they now remember."
Ruach asked, "They make new stories up too don't they? Now they have a story, do they not, that the Earth is just one world in a huge universe."
El laughs derisively, "Yes, you can call that a story, but it is also the truth, you won't catch me out somehow by making me call that a story. I can tell you are trying to upset me and lead me somewhere." El looks up at Yahweh who is still sitting on the bench, "Elohim, make him get to the point, he is wasting the court's time."
Yahweh slams down his gavel and cracks and crevasses form in the ice for miles around as the sound echoes off of mountains and continents, "The defense will get to the point!" Gaia whimpers again and struggles hard against her chains. Your elephant trumpets in fear. The Gods and Goddesses don't seem to notice.
But everyone remembers that Ruach asked, even before Yahweh used his gavel, "Is Gaia the universe?" A chill breeze passes through the court carrying snow with it. And even the barren world mothers seem to notice the cold.
El cries, "Another strange question that gets us nowhere. Of course not, Gaia is just a planet mother, the personification of Life on Terra."
Gaia bows her head in despair. The case does not seem to be going her way.
Ruach said this a moment ago, "Let the court record show, that it is agreed that Gaia is not the universe and that when determining the relative age of something you must compare like with like, puppies to puppies, sunrises to sunrises and world mothers to world mothers, not universes. It is thus proven that the fact that Gaia is 27% the age of the universe is immaterial to whether she is old or young." Ruach followed this statement up with another question to El, "When talking about dogs, and puppies, being dogs, do we not say that all puppies are young because dogs have an average duration much greater than the age of even the oldest puppy?" Gaia looks hopeful. Perhaps her salvation is emerging.
El is suddenly quiet, having heard what Ruach proved by questioning him already. He is wary before he answers but can see no answer but what is expected, "All puppies are young dogs, yes."
Ruach's question in response to this was, "700 million years ago when Gaia was made up of only protozoans and bacteria, she was like a puppy biosphere, was she not."
El sneers, "That is a matter of opinion."
Ruach asked the father, "Does the court agree that 700 million years ago when Gaia was made up of only protozoans and bacteria, that she was like a puppy biosphere?"
Yahweh replies, "Yes 700 million years ago, but you must prove she is young now." Gaia shivers again as that cold breeze returns.
But everyone knew that Ruach had already replied, "I have so proven. 700 million years ago she was 3100 million years old. She has only aged 22% since then. If she was young then, a puppy in fact, then she could not be more than a young adult now. A puppy remains a puppy until about perhaps 1 year of age. Therefore, a dog 22% older than the oldest puppy would be no more than 1 year and 3 months. No one would call such a dog, ‘old’ as virtually all dogs live to at least 7 years." Gaia laughs with delight. Your elephant trumpets in celebration.
"I move that this case be dismissed. Gaia is still young and will be until she is at least twice as old as she was when she was a puppy. When she is 6200 million years old, she will still be too young to die and yet Sol will cook her long before that time. The court must order that she be saved from that fate. Instead, you would have ordered that she be executed for being too old now. This is unacceptable!"
The barren world mothers talk excitedly amongst themselves. Yahweh slams his gavel down shaking Terra to her very foundations, "I will consider this before I make my decision as to what her predetermined fate shall be. I will retreat to my chambers to decide. Have Civis join me, I would have her counsel. In the meantime, the court is in recess."
Gaia visibly slumps with relief as Yahweh leaves the courtroom which has transitioned back from the South Pole (where the sun had still not fully risen.)
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.