20220723PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Representation of a plant which can be used like a mask
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending
  • 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

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!

The Reading

Quotes of the Day

In this analogy,
a black hole is a kind of bottomless pit.
What happens if you fall in? ...
If you could somehow survive the gravitational tides and radiation flux,
and (a likely assumption)
if the black hole were rotating,
it is just possible that you might emerge
in another part of space-time
--somewhere else is space,
some where else in time.
--Carl Sagan, Cosmos, Random House, 1980, p 254
The ring of the wormhole
is actually a sphere
the size of the Schwarzschild event horizon
-- Matt O'Dowd, “| Will Worm Holes Allow Fast Interstellar Travel”, 3:55, 2020-04-22, PBS SpaceTime YouTube Channel

Contemplation for the Day

Let us imagine

You are riding your elephant around the inside of a steel spherical shell. The shell is maybe ten meters in diameter and so, as your elephant’s feet travel along the inside surface of the shell, your head remains almost stationary near the center of the sphere. You are wondering if you are about to get a lesson in why centripetal artificial gravity requires very large radiuses of rotation.

Suddenly the space is bathed in a hot blue light and you fear the reflections off the smooth metal surface will cook you, “Just One, have you been travelling through this tunnel for long?” You recognize the many-bodied unison-voice of Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom.

“It doesn’t seem to be a tunnel. There is no exit or entrance. It is a sphere!” you reply.

“Just One, a spherical shell of limited duration is a four-dimensional tunnel in space-time.” Sophia replies impatiently, “and no physical spherical shell has existed for ever nor will any exist forever.”

“Is that so?” you ask.

“Yes, Just One,” Sophia insists.

Then you hear one Sophia-body speak to the others, “Let’s show her by n-1 dimensional analogy.”

You brace yourself and sure-enough suddenly you are swimming through open space. There is nothing as far as the eye can see, except faint glowing green grid lines measuring out all of the directions, up, left, forward, right, back and down, and the reassuring hide of your elephant under your legs and buttocks. And then the Sophia-bodies appear around you bobbing in and out of existence, shrinking and growing as they try to center themselves on the same three-dimensional brane as you. The Sophia-bodies settle down, each to a single size and position in the space around you and then one says, “Show her a circle.”

The circumference of a circle appears in red directly below you. It is drawn in the horizontal plane so that there is no foreshortening from your perspective and it appears as a circle to you.

Sophia speaks in her many-bodied unison-voice, “Just One. A two dimensional being sees a circle as an enclosed ‘space’, with no entrance or exit.” Two large Sophia-body hands appear; one below you and one above you and clap together squashing you and your elephant into one flat being; surprisingly it doesn’t hurt.

Now you see the world as a single line stretching around you in a circle-like horizon with nothing above it or below it; in fact, you find that you can no longer conceive of above or below. The two-dimensional space around you is dark with a grid of green dots to give you reference points. You feel yourself being moved although you can’t fathom who is pushing you given that you can’t see anything anywhere around that horizon-like circle. Then, quite suddenly, the entire horizon is red. You begin moving through the two-dimensional space and bump into the inside of the red circle and ‘recognize it’, in some sense, as the circle they created below you when you were three-dimensional.

“But,” Sophia’s unison-voice continues, “as a three-dimensional being,” you feel a pinprick and then suddenly you are back to your three dimensional selves: you and your elephant. You are inside the circle and moving upward out of its plane. You just catch a glimpse of a Sophia-hand with a large and nasty-looking syringe slipping out of existence below you, “you are quite capable of seeing how you can pass through a circle without ever passing through its circumference.” As she speaks you and your elephant drift up well above the circle and then a large Sophia hand appears above you and gives you a shove and you and your elephant accelerate downward, falling through the circle, without, as Sophia predicted, ever passing through its circumference.

“Like a lion jumping through a flaming hoop.” You say.

“There were no flames, Just One.” Sophia says sounding puzzled.

“I am not certain she is understanding this!” cries one of the Sophia-bodies floating nearby.

Sophia continues in her unison-voice, “Regardless, Just One, imagine a series of circles all with their planes parallel and their centers aligned along a single axis.”

You don’t really need to imagine. You look up and see a series of circles appear above the red one, all drawn in a horizontal plane and all directly above one another and you so that, from your perspective, they appear as a series of concentric circles. They vary smoothly in colour from red through orange to yellow. As you watch, the number of circles increases until they form a solid tube.

A Sophia-hand appears below you and swats you upward so that you and your elephant shoot upward through all of the circles one after another.

Spherical Tunnel by Genevieve Townsend

“As you can see, Just One,” Sophia’s unison-voice continues, “such a construct forms a sort of tube and …” you emerge from the last circle and it is like emerging from the end of a tube, “ the tube has open ends even though all of the circles it is formed from are complete and without breaks in their circumferences.”

“What was the point of all this again?” you cry, exasperated at all of the swatting and shoving and squashing that has been done to you.

“You need to understand how a series of similar boundaries in n dimensions can be a tunnel in n+1 dimensions.” Sophia replies in her unison-voice.

“If you were a two-dimensional being, “ Sophia begins a new speech.

“Oh no, not again!” you say as the two giant Sophia-hands appear again and squash you and your elephant into one flat being again. Just like last time, it doesn’t hurt and you temporarily lose your ability to imagine up and down.

The world appears to you as a circle, a horizon with no sky or ground in between. And you can’t even imagine sky or ground anymore. You wonder if they would appear as arcs of different colours along your horizon. “passing through such a tunnel, “ Sophia continues and your horizon turns yellow, “It would appear as single circle completely bounding you in all directions. Only if the circles changed in some way from one end of the tube to the other, would you be able to tell them apart.” Slowly the horizon darkens turning more and more orange and then more and more red.

“Just One,” Sophia continues, “When you exit the tube, it will be as if the circle ceases to exist.”

Suddenly the circle disappears and you are out in an open plane again dotted with green dots to show both the left-right and forward-backward directions.

“The same applies in four dimensions, Just One.” Sophia continues and you feel the prick and inflate back into two separate three-dimensional beings again, “A spherical shell that exists for a duration in time, will be open-ended at the past and future ends of its temporal extent. All of the temporal parts of the shell will be connected in such a way that the occupant of the shell can pass from one to the other without having to break through the shell. So the occupant can enter the shell at the moment it comes into existence, …” Suddenly you are back inside your spherical steel shell only the inside is painted red. As your elephant walks you notice that the red paint sticks to her feet as it hasn’t had time to dry “… pass through it for the duration of its existence, … “ The paint on the inside of the shell is slowing changing colour from red to orange to yellow. Your elephant’s foot prints disappear as soon as they are formed. “… and then exit it at the moment of its destruction, … “ and suddenly the steel shell is gone and you and your elephant are back in the empty space with its green gridlines. “ … like passing through a tunnel.”

“Of course!” you exclaim, feigning understanding.

Sophia finishes, “That make sense to you, Just One?”

“Certainly!” you cry as you float back to your normal life, perplexedly convinced that a closed steel spherical shell is actually a four-dimensional tunnel.

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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