20221210PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • 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
  • 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 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!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are sitting at a meeting table. Your elephant is in the chair next to you. A woman in a white lab coat is delivering a presentation. The people around the meeting table, dressed in business attire, are listening. The woman says, "With this printing technique, this material is relatively easy to shape but once shaped is virtually impossible to destroy. It can withstand temperatures of a million Kelvin. It can withstand pressures and sheer forces and tensile forces far in excess of any other known material. It is harder than any known material and cannot be cut or scratched by anything we have." She places a single silver and gold pyramid about 2 inches tall into a glass jar on the table top. "This concentrated hydrochloric acid has no effect on it. We know of no other solvent or chemical which can dissolve it."

The person at the head of the table, the chair of the meeting, replies, "So if we built a monument with all of the world's knowledge printed into this material, it would last forever?"

"Yes." the woman says.

"Our linguistics department has designed a primer that would teach even the most alien mind up from basic mathematical concepts to be able to understand all of the languages currently in use." A man near the chair says, "So if we included this primer then any human from the future could understand it and use it to rebuild civilization after even a very bad collapse."

You look at the woman beside you and she turns her green eyes on you and says, "An interesting development, Little One." Then the board room fades away.


You are standing on the branch of a large savanna tree, your thick fuzzy tail twitching behind you, keeping you balanced as you gnaw on a nut. Below you, your elephant is reaching up with its two trunks and gobbling leaves from the same tree. Under your elephants’ feet the point of a little silver pyramid protrudes from the ground. A heard of thousands of heavy-bodied horned herbivores is passing around the tree on both sides like a river flooding by an island. The herbivores are singing together, in rounds, a song about how much their leader farts and how bad it smells and laughing as they do so.

Several feathery bird-like creatures are nursing their young with milk, standing further out on the same branch as you. One complains to the its fellows, "Those browser-people are so crass. Always singing about toilet humour. Why do there have to be so many of them?"

Then you hear a voice, "Little One, I didn't expect to find you now." You turn and see Gaia standing on the branch beside you, her green eyes bright in the savanna sun.

"Gaia, when did you expect to find me?" you ask puzzled.

"Well 50 million years ago, that is where I usually find you. This is 50 million years in your future." Gaia responds. She is squirrel-like, just as you are. Her belly is flat, no sign of pregnancy, the continents woven into the fur on her belly are in the wrong places, the Pacific too narrow and the Atlantic too wide.

"Why do the animals all talk? Is it metaphorium at work?" you ask, indicating the bird-like creatures.

"No not metaphorium, Little One." Gaia responds, "It is adaptive radiation at work. It has been 50 million years since the 6th Great Dying and so many species died out. Humans adaptively radiated into all the niches. Most of the species kept some part of their intelligence but none ever built a civilization again. Turns out that when many species are intelligent, it is difficult to build a civilization. The other animals fight back, and they have the brains to do it with."

"So, no civilization, is that why you are no longer pregnant? No civilization means we will never go to another world." You speculate.

"I think you are right, Little One." But don't eat that nut, it is almost pure metaphorium. Oh too late..." Gaia fades out of existence, along with the tree and the savanna and the herbivores and the birds.


When the world reappears, it is different. The heat is oppressive. You are nosing out of a hole at night. You have ceramic like pads on your feet. You sniff the air. The air is cool enough that it is time to venture forth. Soon it will be morning and you will have to seek shelter in the deep caves under the hill. You crawl away from the hill and look behind you. The hill gleams bright in the starlight, a single gold and silver pyramid with a three-sided base, each made of 5 vertical panels subdivided into 7 horizontal sub-panels, each sub-panel broken into 11 diagonal panels. Its symmetry is amazing to you. You recognize it as something that was made or grown but you have never understood it. The others told you that it has always been. That your ancestors saw it just as it is now generations ago.

You beckon to the hole you came out of and your elephant follows you out. Together, you sneak up on the plant. It is a solid slow growing thing. It survives the heat of the day gathering energy from the bloated sun but using most of that energy to repair damage done by the radiation and heat. Then it grows a little at night. It also has some defences against your teeth. But you pounce and bite and drink the sweet juice that it bleeds.

"Ouch!" it cries, "Little One, I do wish you wouldn't bite me like that."

The juices suddenly become bitter and you back away, "Gaia you are a plant that can talk."

"There have been 28 Great Dying's by this point, Little One." Gaia the plant replies, "All living species are descended from human beings now. It is a billion years in your future. I am dying. Sol is growing. Terra is no longer in the habitable zone. We are holding on by sheer determination. It won't be long."

"What is that symmetrical hill then?" you ask, pointing behind you.

"Something your kind left behind." Gaia replies, desolate, "but it is a dead thing. It doesn't reproduce or grow or move. It just survives. It spent 800 million years buried and now it is exposed. But so what?" Gaia is despondent. The darkness grows until nothing can be seen.


You sit astride your elephant on the bridge of a space craft approaching a white dwarf star. The explorers are aliens with too many tentacles and not enough bones for your liking. The screen in front of you is fed by a camera on the outside the ship. The captain orders the feed to be switched to a camera pointed at the planet below. A barren world fills the screen, grey rock and vacuum. No clouds, no water, no soil, no signs of life. But you recognize the outline of Hudson's and James' Bay. You look around but of course, Gaia is not here. All Earth Life is dead. Gaia is gone.

An alien crewman calls to the captain, "There is an object down there, Captain. About 200 of the king's longest tentacle across. It shows signs of having been made by intelligent minds."

"How can you tell?" The captain asks

"There is just one of it. It has areas of two different albedos. It has three sides. Each side is divided into 5 areas. Each of those is divided into 7 sub-areas and each of those into 11 sub-sub areas." The crewman says.

"The primes!" The captain says. "Launch a lander!"


The alien king is in his chamber. Two alien scientists are reporting to him about the pyramid that they found on Earth. You listen as you sit astride your elephant, "Yes we decoded the object which exploration party 78365 brought back. It is the entire knowledge of a primitive civilization. Already, some useful insights into various sciences have been found. The chemistry of the material of the pyramid itself is novel. But most of what they recorded was specific to their world, the lifeforms which existed at their time, the history of their puny civilization in great detail, their culture, their philosophy, their myth."

The king interrupts, "Were they moral beings? Did they leave the universe in it's natural state?"

"They argue about that a lot, your majesty. But on the whole no. They never got into space because of that. They altered their own world and the effects of that destroyed them. This is why some of them decided to build the pyramid. To record what they had in the hopes that some of their descendants could rebuild their civilization."

"It is, as it was with the other civilizations we have found in our explorations." The king nods glumly.

The other alien scientist stirs and speaks for the first time, "There was one interesting idea that I found encoded in a tiny space inside a single website, a mere detail in a recording of their webspace. It was a recording of blog in which a politician critiques a nascent religion called SolSeed. This politician is moral. He calls for humanity not to disturb the natural state of the universe and critiques the ideas of this religion. I can find no recording of the ideas of this SolSeed religion except in this politician's critique of it. It is not a moral religion. It claims that Life wants humanity to spread Life from world to world until the universe is Green." The alien pauses to cough a little spec of spittle out of its speaking orifice.

The spittle drifts across the room in the thick air and lands on your elephant’s head. You look down at the spittle and see two tiny green eyes floating in the droplet. The eyes look up at you and the droplet speaks with a tinny quiet voice, "Little One, where am I?"

Before you can answer, the alien scientist continues, "I say this just because, the idea that there could be a religion so immoral that it's stated purpose is to disrupt nature on that scale is shocking to me."


You sit astride your elephant which stands at the top of a cliff looking out from a deep rich forest at an expanse of deep rich forest below you. Tentacled aliens tend the trees, helping them grow. The Milky Way rises in the back ground filling the Eastern sky with a billion billion suns. You mutter, "Is it a trick of the light or is the Milky Way green across its entire expanse?"

"There is metaphorium in your eyes, Little One." Theá Me Plokámia says, standing beside you watching the Galaxy Rise, "It lets you see true, Little One, the Galaxy is green. A single meme passed from Gaia to that explorer alien civilization. It was dismissed and talked about as a shocking aberration for a long time. But that which shocked one alien inspired another. Many millennia later, the idea took off. It passed through such a thin place. Gaia seemed dead and yet even from a dead state she brought life to the galaxy. Such is the beauty of the adjacent possible. Out of it allies emerge and amplify the smallest effort until it governs the fate of the universe.

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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