This is the fourth in a 4-part series on a new Humanistic Pagan tradition currently being shaped, called “Earthseed”. If you would like to become a Shaper of the Earthseed Movement, contact John Halstead.
Like many naturalistic religions, the Earthseed described by Octavia Butler in her Parable series is light on ritual. Many naturalists are skeptical of anything that reminds them of theistic religion, and this includes ritual. And yet, as Naturalistic Pagans know, ritual can be very effective in cultivating certain desirable states of mind, while also promoting social cohesion. Ritual helps us feel what we know in our minds, in a way that just talking does not.
So I created this Earthseed ritual, drawing on texts from Earthseed’s “Book of the Living”. It also draws on the Five Elements motif that is common to Neo-Pagan ritual. Adaptation is at the heart of Earthseed, so please adapt this ritual to suit your needs. For example, you may choose other elements to represent change, or choose other texts from the “Book of the Living” to correspond to each element.
Gather together a piece of clay, a bowl and a cup of water, and candle, a scrap of paper, a writing utensil, and matches or a lighter. Find a quiet place to meditate.
To open the ritual, recite the following (change “I” to “We” if done in community):
All that I touch
All that I Change
The only lasting truth
Meditate for a while on Change.
Set the clay, the cup of water, and the candle before you. Recite the following:
Create no images of God.
Accept the images
that God has provided.
They are everywhere,
God is Change—
Seed to tree,
tree to forest;
Rain to river,
river to sea;
Grubs to bees,
bees to swarm.
From one, many;
from many, one;
Forever uniting, growing, dissolving—
is Godʼs self-portrait.
Meditate for a while on the idea of God as Nature to the World.
Take up the clay and mold it in your hands. Recite the following:
God is Power—
And yet, God is Pliable—
God exists to be shaped.
God is Change.
Meditate for a while on the kind of change that is slow and yet inexorable, change that happens over years, over lifetimes, like the slowly churning earth.
Put down the clay and turn your attention to the air around you, the air that you breathe. Recite the following (change “I” to “We” if done in community):
I do not worship God.
I perceive and attend God.
I learn from God.
With forethought and work,
I shape God.
In the end, I yield to God.
I adapt and endure,
For I am Earthseed
And God is Change.
Meditate for a while on the kind of change which is caused by agents which are invisible to us, change that blows through our lives like the wind.
Take up the cup of water and pour it into the bowl and back again. Recite the following:
Is God’s most dangerous face—
Amorphous, roiling, hungry.
Alter the speed
Or the direction of Change.
Vary the scope of Change.
Recombine the seeds of Change.
Transmute the impact of Change.
Adapt and grow.
Put down the cup and meditate for a while on the kind of change that is rapid and hard to hold, that slips through our fingers like water and flows through our lives like a rushing river.
Light the candle with the matches or lighter. Pass your hand over the flame and feel the bite of the flame. Write something on the paper that is important to you, then burn it in the fire. Recite the following:
A victim of God may,
Through learning and adaption,
Become a partner of God,
A victim of God may,
Through forethought and planning,
Become a shaper of God.
Or a victim of God may,
Through shortsightedness and fear,
Remain Godʼs victim,
Meditate for a while on the kind of change that consumes as it transforms, the kind of change that is painful, and yet necessary. Extinguish the flame.
Turn your attention to your body. Recite the following (change “I” to “We” if done in community):
I have lived before.
I will live again.
I will be silk,
I will be scattered,
I will live
And I will serve life.
I will shape God
And God will shape me
Meditate for a while on the changing nature of your life and Life.
When you are done, recite the following to bring the ritual to an end:
Is both creative and destructive,
Demanding and yielding,
Sculptor and clay.
God is Infinite Potential:
God is Change.
The Author: John Halstead
John Halstead is a Shaper of the Earthseed Movement. The essentials of being a good member of the Earthseed Community are to:
- Learn to shape God with forethought, care, and work.
- Educate and benefit your community, your family, and yourself.
- Contribute to the fulfillment of the Destiny.
If you would like to become a Shaper of the Earthseed Movement, contact John Halstead. Joining Earthseed is a simple matter of agreeing to follow the three essentials above and reciting the “Words of Welcoming” to another Shaper.
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