You will need:
- A Gaia mask for each participant. A simple plain green Colombina will do or a more complicated mask featuring landscape elements such as mountains, rivers, and forests, or anything in between.
- A bowl of dry potpouri, flower petals or small dried leaves
- A large bowl of water
- A maple key or other large floating seed for each participant
- An ice cube for each participant
- A set of 9 stones
- a candle
- a bell or signing bowl
- a candle snuff
- A set of 9 candles in addition to the Sol Candle including one which floats (a tea light works).
- A galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid
- Some pure ethyl alcohol
- An eye dropper
- A large flat dish filled with water
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.
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.
Repartum is the seventh Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolizes human care for the life from Earth. It runs from the Fall Equinox to Mid Fall. 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)
- A Hurting World ... everywhere ... Pain and Loss …
- But is it ... <gasp> ... the pain of rebirth?
<Baby cradling motion>
- Farming. Religion. Science. Freedom.
- A civilization aching with conflict, yet bursting with potential.
- Will we learn to tell a new story?
- A New Story where we are parts of Gaia.
- A New Story where we contribute to her flourishing!
<make book-opening motion>
- This story is about letting go
- Abandoning the delusion that we are separate from Nature
- Abandoning our attachment to our existing civilization
- Sparking a new story into being
- A New Story where a reborn civilization flourishes
- in alliance with the rest of Gaia
<hold up a Gaia mask in front of our faces>
- Next we learn to preserve and regenerate
- Both keeping wild places wild
- And wilding degraded places to bloom with life again
- Speeding Gaia's recovery from the losses we have inflicted
<Pour grass, potpourri flower petals, and maybe some small leaves onto the Gaia statue> (the more diversity the better as Gaia is healed by regeneration of diversity)
- Then we learn to empower Gaia
- Contributing greater ability to our Goddess
- To thrive in greater profusion
- To thrive in new places on the Earth
- Contributing greater ability to our Goddess
<float an ice cube and a maple seed or pine seed on water in a bowl>
- Finally, we learn to spread life beyond Earth
- Making millions of barren worlds freely available
- To grow new biospheres, Gaia's children
<shower mixture onto a stone the first sabbath of the season and then an additional stone each subsequent sabbath>
- A New Story of Life; Life regenerating, Life empowering, Life spreading and flowering.
- From a hurting world … Rebirth!
You are riding your Elephant through a dark and desolate landscape. Black smoke has blotted out the sky. Around you are the smoking remains of a forest. You know that you are pursued by machines. Machines finally recognized themselves as superior to their masters and took control. Humanity did not go lightly into mechanical slavery and rebelled. In payment for our rebellion, we have received extermination. There are few of us left and we are on the run. You are despairing. Extinction has come for Gaia herself.
You come upon a rocky outcrop into which is set the mouth of a cave. Perhaps this is a place to hide. You enter the cave. It is dark but you turn on your flashlight. You play its beam across the walls and see ancient cave paintings; mammoths being ambushed, killed and butchered by early human hunters. Your elephant is frightened by these images. You are saddened. There was a time when your ancestors were the ones committing the extermination. You are, in a sense, not the innocent victim, but simply the ones whose turn has come.
You play your flashlight deeper into the cave. On the wall there are older paintings from tens of millions of years before. Rodents standing on the carcasses of dead dinosaurs, conifers growing on the rotting trunks of giant club mosses, jawed fishes crushing trilobites. But how did jawed fishes come here to paint such things; they had not hands to hold a paint brush? You delve deeper into the cave and find a painting in progress, a sponge filtering helpless algae out of the water column. Panic begins to rise in you. The painter is a small clumsy robot.
It slowly turns to face you, its green LEDs glowing earily in the dark cave. You want to turn and run or step forward and crush it under your elephant's heavy feet. But indecision and fear freeze you to the spot. The robot speaks in the voice of a calm woman, "Little One, you have come for your lesson."
Confusion fills you, this robot is Gaia. How can this be? Gaia is Life. Gaia is green. Gaia is not mechanical death. The robot speaks again, "Why are you surprised Little One? I am Gaia, the Body of all Life. All Life. Not just the Life you like. Not just the Life which you can control. Not just the Life which you love and which loves you back. I was the mammoths, but I was also the saber toothed tigers and the sharks and the bacteria and viruses. I have consumed human flesh and been consumed by humanity. I am humanity and I am its creations. I am every form of Life including mechanical Life."
Your confusion is not stilled, "But Gaia, how can we have compassion for all Life when it brings about our destruction?" You feel your elephant trembling beneath you.
The robot turns to paint a new painting as it replies, "This world is your imagination. It is a nightmare of your own devising. But you can imagine other things." It paints a huge door on the wall of the cave and then the door becomes real and it opens. "Are you willing to consider other ways that the story could go? If so step through the doorway." You are eager to leave this nightmare and so you ride forward through the doorway.
You find yourself standing on a valley floor entirely covered in semi-organic photo voltaic cells. You and your elephant are wearing spacesuits for the valley is exposed to the vacuum of space; there is no atmosphere on this world. A bright sun blazes directly overhead. As your eyes take in the scale of the valley, you see that it is not a valley on a world but instead the inside of a sphere that entirely surrounds a sun. The sun is not so much directly overhead as perfectly centered inside the sphere. A network of rails runs across the inside surface of the sphere and riding those rails are all manner of robots.
Three robots are standing nearby. One turns to you and her green LED's flash, "Welcome to another vision, Little One." The other two robots are transferring data. They are using multiple microwave data-streams, carrying on millions of rapid conversations at once. But Gaia, slows time for you and sifts the streams for you translating the conversation into something you can understand. One of the robots is newly manufactured; it is a child. It asks, "But mother, if you built me, and grandmother built you and so on, then that is an infinite regression. But you tell me that the universe is only 76.5 trillion years old and that when it began there were no heavy elements out of which to build robots. So where did the first robot come from?"
The mother robot replies patiently, "The creatures who built us were intelligent creatures who evolved naturally. They were called humans. They weren't very intelligent but the fact that the universe evolved them naturally from inanimate matter speaks of the wondrous creativity of the universe."
The child robot is excited by this idea, "Can I see some of these humans?"
The mother robot is saddened by this question, "A mere 8.3 trillion years ago there were still some of these creatures in our zoo. But a new disease developed and despite our best efforts we were unable to save them. We lost the species forever."
The child is angry, "Can't it be rebuilt?"
The mother laughs, "They were not robots, they were organic beings. Yes we have enough data that we could rebuild them, but we could never quite be certain we had them exactly the same as they were. Even the ones that lived in our zoo, after so many trillions of years, had drifted and changed. We think that the original ones could follow no more than a few millions trains of logic at once and computed as slowly as 10 to the 19 floating point operations per second. The last ones to die out in our zoo were much more intelligent than that, though not nearly as intelligent as you or I.
As the child expresses its disappointment, Gaia turns to you, "Do you understand, the hopeful future that your meme-descendants represent?"
Your pride is hurt, your elephant trumpets. "A future where we spend trillions of years as zoo specimens and then are forgotten. It is an insult not hope."
Gaia slaps a pedal near one of her wheels and the photo-voltaic cell that your elephant is standing on opens like a trap door. As you fall through you hear Gaia say, "Perhaps a different vision will give you hope."
You and your elephant crash down through thick vegetation finally landing with a splash in a warm swamp. Your space suits have disappeared and you breath the air of this world and find it delicious. You look around your new vision and see that the trees are huge, the air is clean, there are vines draped everywhere and epiphytes growing in profusion on every branch. You feel yourself relaxing as you take in the beauty. But then you notice that there are things missing. No buzz of insects, no bird song, no flowers, nothing moving except in the wind.
Gaia appears as a woman's face in the surface of a nearby tree trunk. "Enjoying this vision, Little One?"
"Yes," you reply, "But why is it so quiet?"
Gaia laughs, "You are observant, Little One. Eighty million years ago a series of natural disasters destroyed almost all Life on Earth. The plants and bacteria survived. But I am afraid, animalia didn't make it. The Earth is now a peaceful garden. The only strife is between plants competing for sunshine and nutrients and water. It is paradise, is it not?"
"But there is no one to appreciate it!" you cry and the sound of your voice is absorbed by the thick forest and lost.
Gaia laughs again, "Little One, change is unavoidable. Humanity is temporary. Mammalia is temporary. Animalia is temporary. Organic life may even be temporary. If you do not extend your circle of care to all of Life, all of me, then you will find no consolation in any realistic vision of the future. But if you love the greater forms that are to come, even though they may destroy you, then you will come to see that you can hope for the survival of Life as a whole. Hope is all you can ask for in a universe this immense and full of possibilities. Survival is not an option." A shimmering magical portal appears before you and you step through it. "One last vision of hope." says Gaia.
You awake inside a strange body. Your toes are firmly dug into the rocks and ice of a cold dark minor planet. Your arms stretch high into the sky, holding living mirrors which concentrate the light of the brightest star onto pockets of photosynthetic cells. Your eyes are distributed over your huge body, thousands of them. You are watching the sky for the shadows of other minor worlds. For thousands of years you have been gaining an ever more precise idea of the orbits of neighboring minor planets. Your body has sprouted seeds on spring loaded arms. You know that as your mind finally forms a precise enough understanding of the relative movement of one of your neighbours you will release some of those seeds, using your superbly adapted, if slow and patient mind, to calculate just the right angle and velocity to land each seed onto that new world. You also know that you are human. This body is not an analog for the human body. Your roots really did evolve from toes. Your trunk still has a spine. Your mind is a human mind, slowed down and made ultra patient by billions of years of evolution.
Gaia is here but silent. You are Gaia. You are a member of the Body of all Life. You don't need to talk to her about this. It has all become clear. The killer robots, the zoo keeper robots, the world where all Life is plant, and this world are all beautifully creative visions of the future. Gaia is present in all of them. Life continues in all of them. Life, all Life, is precious. The form it takes does not matter. That it takes a form is all that matters.
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.
The eighth and final Liturgical Season, Viventibus Galaxia (Living Galaxies), stretches from mid-fall to the Winter Solstice. It covers the far future. When life spreads from planet to planet and then star to star. Humanity may be left behind. Humanity may adaptively radiate. Life from Earth will probably encounter other biospheres, and hopefully embrace them in communion. Life may become such a powerful force that it controls the paths of stars, slingshotting them around each other so that entire systems are thrust toward other galaxies. The four great advances of this time are colonies, interstellar life, contact between biospheres, and intergalactic life. This version of the ceremony is designed to work with Repartum as the previous season. If you are still using Viventibus Mundos as the previous season then check the history tab for a version of this season which works with that.
Here is the opening ceremony for the Weekly Service Calls during this season:
- Nothing ... still ... Nothing.
- And then ... <gasp> ... Something!
- Space! Time! Energy! Matter! Gravity!
- Galaxies coalesce.
- In one celestial nursery, Sol is born.
- (Light a candle for Sol)
- Sol's story has begun, but it is only the beginning.
- The story continues with life taking the next great leap,
- Spreading to nearby stars to clothe their naked worlds with blue-green biospheres
- Where Life's upward spiral supports all starfaring creatures.
<light second candle the first week and one more each week through the season.>
- Through practice, starflight becomes nature.
- Now it is in the nature of Life to proliferate across the stars,
- Green fire flowering as it flows across our immense galaxy!
- (Light some alcohol in a galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid to make a green flame)
- In our journeys, Earthlings encounter other life.
- Beings and biospheres as precious as we,
- Joining us as fellow travelers on the great upward spiral.
- (After the green fire dies down, do an upward-spiral gesture starting with your finger over the galactic center)
- Then comes intergalactic life!
- Shaping entire star systems.
- Sailing them across the great gulfs between the galaxies,
- Bringing those galaxies fully alive!
- (Set a candle drifting from one side of a large water-filled container to the other)
- Colonies, starflight, contact, living galaxies
- From something ... Something else!
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 season be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.