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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 standing on a catwalk over a vast body of water. Dimiourgós Zachris is looking up from the water toward you. She has many heads and even more grappling branches and her eyes glow a pale green from beneath the water. Sol is shining down from above. You can feel his welcome heat on your back as the chill of being under water leaves your body. Sophia is standing all around you in her many-bodied form, her blue gaze adding to Sol's heat.

Dimiourgós repeats her demand, "I want a solution to Sol's expanding belly. And I want it now."

You mutter to yourself, "How can I show her the ultimate plan?"

Sophia speaks in her disturbing unison-voice, "Any way you want, Just One." she says, "You have as much control over the metaphorium as any of us Goddesses."

You wave your hands imagining how you want things to be and the catwalk transforms into a bridge, the bridge of a large space ship. Sophia is manning the stations all around the bridge. The floor is a thick layer of glass. No; two thick layers of glass with a thick layer of water in between. Through the floor you can see the Earth and six streams of hot plasma stretching away from the ship at regular intervals around the floor. Each is angling away so that it misses the Earth by a healthy margin.

You feel a bit hungry so you slip through a doorway into a kitchenette. There you find a shelf of 'Ready to Heat and Eat'(TM) 'Gaia's Ramen Noodles'. You pop one in the microwave and a minute later you are walking back onto the bridge and opening a hot meal. Just after you open the packet and ready your spoon you hear a voice, "Burning One, why did you bring us onto a space ship in orbit around the Earth?"

Ramen by Genevieve Townsend

"It isn't in orbit," you reply automatically looking down into your soup to see Dimiourgós staring back up at you, "What are you doing in my soup?"

"I _am_ the Goddess of Photosynthesis, after all," Dimiourgós replies, "I made the sugars in the noodles in this soup for you so that you could re-oxidized the carbon in them to give to me so that I can do my thing. You wouldn't be able to oxidize much carbon if you didn't have any reduced carbon to oxidize!

"What do you mean, this ship isn't in orbit?" Dimiourgós still is not in a good mood, "There is the Earth and here we are. If we are not in orbit then what are we doing."

"Station keeping," You say.

"Doesn't that burn a lot of energy for nothing, Burning One?" Dimiourgós is obviously confused.

"If you understand energy so well, Dimiourgós," you reply, "Then you understand Newton's laws of motion. One of them says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

"Yes I familiar with Little Newton." Dimiourgós is deep in nostalgia, "He would make these great long sighs as he thought. Deliciously full of oxidized carbon those sighs were. That is why I made the apple and dropped it on him. I reduced some carbon to make the apple and then gave it to him to oxidize."

"The point is, " you say trying to get her back on topic, "we are able to station keep because the Earth pulls on us with its gravity as we push on ourselves with our fusion rockets. The two forces balance."

"Obviously, Burning One," Dimiourgós is perplexed, "A waste of energy as I said."

"No because there are two other balances." you explain, "The force the engines apply on us is counter balanced by the force they apply on our propellent to accelerate it to nearly the speed of light. But that leaves the propellent arching away around the Earth and on into the galaxy. Something has to be thrust in the opposite direction. That is where the other balance comes into play. The force of gravity that the Earth exerts on us is exactly counterbalanced by the force of gravity that we exert on the Earth. Only the Earth has no rocket engine to allow it to station keep, so it is pulled along behind us."

"But the Earth is massive, Burning One." Dimiourgós is dismissive, "What effect could your little rocket ship have?"

"Over half a billion years, it will tow the Earth halfway to the orbit of Mars, well away from Sol's distending belly." you conclude with satisfaction.

You hear Sol's voice shaking the ship with its deep bass tones, "Dimiourgós, quit complaining about my belly! Show some respect for your father."

"I didn't say anything, it was Burning One!" Dimiourgós cries

Sophia replies with her many bodied unison voice, "Sol is eight light-minutes away. He was responding to what Just One just said; he was responding to something you said 16 minutes ago, Dimiourgós."

"Oh. Well then, to get back to the topic at hand, why not just build a rocket engine on the surface of the Earth pointed up and push the Earth directly, Burning One?" Dimiourgós asks.

"Because the exhaust would use up all its energy disrupting the atmosphere and deforming the rock below it instead of moving the planet." you explain, "And the disruption to the atmosphere would be terrible. This way we apply an almost equal force to every atom on the planet."

"Ingenious, Burning One!" She gets excited, "Build a ship like this, Burning One! Build it! Not just from Metaphorium, like this one, but a real one!"

"Well, we need to finish perfecting fusion power first." You say and are a little worried about her reaction.

It isn’t good: “More magic, Burning One!?” she screams, “I told you not to tease us. Now you must pay for your insolence!” she bursts forth from your soup spreading branches and tendrils throughout the bridge of the ship.

One of the Sophia-bodies hits a big red button and a claxon begins to sound loudly and red lights begin to flash while a computerized voice says repeatedly, “Red Alert. Red Alert. Battle Stations. Battle Stations.”

A pair of heavy doors slide open revealing a gaggle of Sophia-bodies armed with laser pistols and wearing red robes in place of their usual white ones. They fire their laser pistols at Dimiourgós but, unsurprisingly, she is barely affected; she is a goddess after all. Dimiourgós reaches toward them with tendrils and branches and, wisely, they turn tail and run back through the doors slamming them shut behind them. Dimiourgós crashes into the doors, swiping at them with her tendrils and branches, trying to get a grip on them and pull them back open.

The Sophia-bodies in white form a semi-circle around her back and focus their blue gazes at her. Sophia speaks in her earie unison voice, “Dimiourgós, you are acting like a human, foolish and impatient. You fell for our decoy, for example.”

Dimiourgós turns her many heads to face Sophia, her green glowing gazes blazing back at theirs. But Sophia’s gazes are more powerful and she shrinks back smoldering in places before the combined brightness of them, “I need a solution to the CO2 vs. Sol’s distending belly problem and I need it now, before all Life on Earth is extinguished. Sugar must always be made!”

Sophia’s gazes do not waver and neither does her unison-voice, “You have a billion years to solve that problem. Plenty of time for Just One to learn the necessary magic. You should instead be focused on the immediate problem; the anthropogenic CO2 spike in the atmosphere which is causing immediate and potentially devastating heating.”

"Yes, we should destroy the humans as Sol suggested and then we will be done with that problem." Dimiourgós turns toward you and you are glad that Sophia has surrounded her and is between her and you.

"Then you get no long term solution to the long term heating problem, Dimiourgós," Sophia reasons, "nor do you get a sister named Ares."

"But all Burning One has done, is tease me with impossible magic technologies." Dimiourgós complains.

"No, she gave you an immediate solution to the anthropogenic heat spike; olivine burning." Sophia replies, "You should be encouraging the humans to work on that problem. As for the magic technologies needed for the long term problem, Just One is completely capable of creating them in the time frames in which they are needed. Have some faith."

Dimiourgós laughs, "I thought you were about reason, Sophia, not faith."

Sophia laughs also, "It is reasonable, in this circumstance, to have faith."

You find your ability to hold the metaphorium together slipping and you return to your regular life, thinking about how you can encourage the burning of olivine.

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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