20220621PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Pitcher of Water
  • A Cup for Each Person attending
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff
  • A Representation of a plant which can be used like a mask
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending

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

Each season has an end and when it ends, the next season begins. At these times we celebrate the change of season by doing a special double service.

The fourth Liturgical Season, Diversitas, runs from mid-spring to the summer solstice and covers the diversification of Life on land. The four advances that we celebrate are legs, air breathing eggs, wings, and flowering things, but the celebration is about diversity of forms and so these are just four exciting examples that are meant to inspire us to think about the wondrous diversity that the upward spiral of evolution has led to.

We gather to mark the passing of a week
To align our hearts as one.

(Light the Sol candle; Each person takes a cup of water and places it next to the flame)

A quiet forest... still ... a quiet forest...
And then ... <gasp> ... Noisy animals!
Chirping Crickets, Roaring Dinosaurs, Calling Birds, Buzzing Bees.

(Make animal noises)

Forests grow.

(Arms up; fingers spread)

In the lush green forests, diverse species are born.

(Cradle baby motion)

And for every species ... there is a story!

(Open book motion)

This story begins with legs.

(Stand and walk around the chalice)

Limbs to cross dry land, climb trees and explore the ever spreading forests
Powerful legs to support the weight of the mighty dinosaurs!

(Roar like a dinosaur)

Insects, and then reptiles, began laying eggs on land
Air Breathing eggs

(Pause reading; three deep breath)

Allowing Birth far from water
Opening the heartland of continents to exploring animals!

(Walk away from the chalice (and the cups of water surrounding it) exploring as you go)

Then came wings!
Lifting insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats into the air,
To escape predators, and strike prey from above
To soar high, one step from space!

(Fly back to the chalice)

Next came the flowers, sharers of food.
Both the nectar of bees,
And the fruit from which
early primates got their energy.

(Place a cut flower in your cup of water)

Legs, Land Eggs, Wings and Flowering Things
From quiet forests... a glorious cacophony of life!

(Arms up like crossing a finish line)

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are on the back of your elephant. Your elephant is trumpeting loudly in pain. You have a crop in your hand and you are lashing your elephant as you too scream in pain. Your elephant is charging across a field, stomping down the grass. In its pain, it feels satisfaction at trampling the grass into a muddy ragged mess. At the edge of the field, forest begins. Your elephant and you hit the edge of the forest like a bulldozer, crushing saplings and young trees with your headlong charge. Your elephant puts its head down and veers into a sizeable tree. You feel its whole body shudder as it head-butts the tree but the tree snaps off like a match stick. Your anger and grief is so powerful that nothing can stand in your way. The collisions with the trees are painful but you feel like the pain is cathartic. Your grief makes you want to die anyway so why avoid the pain.

Why are you in so much pain? Was it that a mate abandoned you? Was it that a loved one died? Was it that a method of livelihood that you had placed a great deal of hope in has been denied you? It doesn't matter anymore. The reason for the grief and anger is no longer important. The grief and anger themselves are palpable things that will not be ignored or let go. You continue crashing through the forest inflicting all the damage that you can. If a beautiful mammal or bird appeared before you right now, you would impale it with your tusk. You want only to destroy and kill. You want others to burn in your grief and anger. You would set fire to the forest if only you had the means.

Suddenly, exhaustion takes you and you can no longer charge forward. You slow, the branches and vines of the forest tangling around you. You come to the base of a huge tree and try to ram it but really all you do is push your head against its trunk for a moment and then collapse in a heap at its feet. You sob and it feels like the tears will never stop, like they are a geiser of pain that is spraying from your eyes and draining your of your very life. But you sob and you keep sobbing. You will be glad when your very life has left you and you can die and stop feeling this pain.

Gaia, in the form of a motherly woman, appears at your side. She caresses you gently on the temples and forehead and kisses you lightly on the nose. Her tenderness is meant to calm you, you know this, but your anger is so hot that you feel like she is trying to interrupt your expression of pain. You turn away from her saying, "Leave me alone." But she is there before you again, caressing, calming. You turn away from her again, feeling a burning sensation where she touches you. You crawl into the space under a nearby fallen log trying to get away from her.

But she is there, under the log, waiting for you. You feel her touch in the moss growing there. You are too exhausted to turn away again. You bury your face in the moss and sob into it. Slowly the pain ebbs enough that you find you no longer need to sob. But the release from the pain and the caress of Gaia feel so good that you don't want to stop. So you try to force yourself to keep sobbing. After all, the betrayal that caused the pain has not been reversed. Why would the pain be gone? Why would the need to sob and destroy be gone?

After a few moments of forced sobbing, you find that you feel foolish. It just isn't in you to cry anymore. You and your elephant are lying in a deep bed of soft moss under the protective cover of underbrush and the fallen log. You sleep for a while.

When you awake, you feel the odd sensation of being both refreshed and sore and achy. You feel purged of your anger and grief but also know that the reasons for it are still there. You will feel it again. While you slept Gaia has arranged you comfortably on the forest floor, with a blanket of moss over you and your head on her lap as she sits on the forest floor, with her back against another log. She is caressing your temple again.

Without moving, you ask, "Gaia, what do I do, the grief will return again?"

Gaia laughs, "Of course, it will; Life is filled with disappointments because Life is always striving to get more. Desire drives you and grief is how your kind reacts to disappointment."

You aren't ready to accept that, "So what do I do?"

Gaia laughs again at your perseverance, "Little one, you will grieve again. That is what you will do. But you do have a choice. You can grieve the way you just did, with fire in your heart, seeking a place of violence to scream out your pain. If you do, you will become practiced at that response. You will get better and better at it until you can scream louder than anyone else and do worse kinds of violence. Or you can choose a different path. As long as you are good at the fiery screaming expression of pain, you will want to continue to use it. It will be its own reward for you. But if you try, you will be able to take another route; one of experiencing the pain and grief as something that washes over you without asking for action. On that path, you will learn to let go of the pain and grief rather than trying to push it out. The first path increases the pain, for your actions in response to the pain, actually inflict more pain on yourself. The second path reduces the pain, by gently helping it to fade faster. It is your choice, little one. I cannot tell you which choice to make but I think the better choice stands out clearly, does it not."

Thinking on her words, and feeling her love, you drift back off to sleep.

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.

Closing Ritual

The fifth Liturgical Season runs from the summer solstice to mid summer (approximately August 4th) and covers the rise of intelligence. What are the major advances during this period. Warm blooded-ness, social interaction, tool use, language?

We gather to mark the passing of a week
To align our hearts as one.

(Light the Sol candle)

Instinct ... still ... instinct ...
And then ... <gasp> ... a spark!
Amidst the growing diversity of SolSeed,
a new attribute emerges,

(hold a picture of a plant on cardboard (or other representation of a plant(s)) in front of your face and then rise up from behind it and look around expressing surprise, awe and/or curiosity)

In the lush green forests, minds are born.
And for every mind ... there is a story!

(open a book motion)

So many stories...
Our stories begin with warm blood, endothermy,
The constancy that lets delicate brain cells flower!

(use prayer hands to hold a flower to your forehead)

Next comes society, groups living together.
Both a shaper of behaviour
and the environment in which behaviour can be taught.

(Everyone hold hands. If there is a connection via Skype then each person or group can reach toward the screen (one person from each end of the chain for groups) and imagine taking the hands of the other people on Skype.)

Then comes tool use!
The sharp teeth and claws we needn't grow.
The hands with which we reach for the stars!

(Make the sign-language sign for rocket ship , then raise your arm high, keeping your fingers pointed up. As your hand reaches zenith open it and change it to a grasping motion)

(Everyone say these words together)

Finally, humans begin to speak!
Turning knowledge into a shareable resource,
freely available to all learning children.
Warm blood. Society. Tools. Speech.
From instinct ... a spark!

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 season be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.

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