Earthseed

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Earthseed is a fictional religion created by Lauren Oya Olamina, one of Octavia Butler's characters in her wonderful science-fiction novels The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents. Earthseed serves as an intellectual ancestor for its namesake SolSeed, a real-life movement which has some quasi-religious aspects. While SolSeed itself makes no statements about God, it is as compatible with the Earthseed core belief that "God is Change" as with any other belief system.

The following excerpts of poetry from Octavia's Earthseed books (The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents) have been extracted under "fair use" provisions of copyright law. They are intended to provide someone new to the topic with a gestalt of Earthseed as religion. The isolated verses presented below cannot substitute for an actual reading of the highly recommended books from which they have been excerpted.


EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING
by Lauren Oya Olamina
----
The Destiny of Earthseed
Is to take root among the stars.
----
All that you touch
You Change.
All that you Change
Changes you.
The only lasting truth
Is Change.
God
Is Change.
----
A gift of God
May sear unready fingers.
----
We do not worship God.
We perceive and attend God.
We learn from God.
With forethought and work,
We shape God.
In the end, we yield to God.
We adapt and endure,
For we are Earthseed,
And God is Change.
----
God is Power---
Infinite,
Irresistible,
Inexorable,
Indifferent.
And yet, God is Pliable---
Trickster,
Teacher,
Chaos,
Clay.
God exists to be shaped.
God is Change.
----
Intelligence is ongoing, individual
adaptability.
Adaptations that an intelligent
species may make
in a single generation, other species
make over
many generations of selective
breeding and
selective dying. Yet intelligence is
demanding.
If it is misdirected by accident or by
intent, it can
foster its own orgies of breeding and
dying.
----
A victim of God may,
Through learning 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 God's victim,
God's plaything,
God's prey.
----
Prodigy is, at its essence,
adaptability and persistent,
positive obsession. Without
persistence, what remains is
an enthusiasm of the moment. Without
adaptability, what remains may
be channeled into destructive
fanaticism. Without positive
obsession, there is nothing at all.
----
Belief
Initiates and guides action---
Or it does nothing.
----
Drowning people
Sometimes die
Fighting their rescuers.
----
We are all Godseed, but no more or less
so than any other aspect of the universe,
Godseed is all there is---all that
Changes. Earthseed is all that spreads
Earthlife to new earths. The universe is
Godseed. Only we are Earthseed. And the
Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among
the stars.
----
Why is the universe?
To shape God.
Why is God?
To shape the universe.
----
A tree
Cannot grow
In its parents' shadows.
----
To get along with God,
Consider the consequences of your behavior.
----
All struggles
Are essentially
power struggles.
Who will rule,
Who will lead,
Who will define,
refine,
confine,
design,
Who will dominate.
All struggles
Are essentially
power struggles,
And most are no more intellectual
than two rams
knocking their heads together.
----
Civilization is to groups what intelligence is
to individuals. It is a means of combining the
intelligence of many to achieve ongoing
group adaptation.
Civilization, like intelligence, may serve well,
serve adequately, or fail to serve its adaptive
function. When civilization fails to serve, it must
disintegrate unless it is acted upon by unifying
internal or external forces.
----
When apparent stability disintegrates.
As it must---
God is Change---
People tend to give in
To fear and depression,
To need and greed.
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
They divide.
They struggle,
One against one,
Group against group,
For survival, position, power.
They remember old hates and generate new ones,
They create chaos and nurture it.
They kill and kill and kill,
Until they are exhausted and destroyed,
Until they are conquered by outside forces,
Or until one of them becomes
A leader
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
Most fear.
----
Any Change may bear seeds of benefit.
Seek them out.
Any Change may bear seeds of harm.
Beware.
God is infinitely malleable.
God is Change.
----
All successful life is
Adaptable,
Opportunistic,
Tenacious,
Interconnected, and
Fecund.
Understand this.
Use it.
Shape God.
----
We are Earthseed
The life that perceives itself
Changing.
----
There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.
----
We are Earthseed. We are flesh---self-aware,
questing, problem-solving flesh. We are that
aspect of Earthlife best able to shape God
knowingly. We are Earthlife maturing, Earthlife
preparing to fall away from the parent world.
We are Earthlife preparing to take root in
new ground, Earthlife fulfilling its purpose,
its promise, its Destiny.
----
In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix
First
Must
Burn.
----
Kindness eases Change
----
Earthseed
Cast on new ground
Must first perceive
That it knows nothing.
----
Embrace diversity.
Unite---
Or be divided,
robbed,
ruled,
killed
By those who see you as prey.
Embrace diversity
Or be destroyed.
----
Once or twice
each week
A Gathering of Earthseed
is a good and necessary thing.
It vents emotion, then
quiets the mind.
It focuses attention,
strengthens purpose, and
unifies people.
----
Changes.
The galaxies move through space.
The stars ignite,
burn,
age,
cool,
Evolving.
God is Change.
God prevails.
----
God is neither good
nor evil,
neither loving
nor hating.
God is Power.
God is Change.
We must find the rest of what we need
within ourselves,
in one another,
in our Destiny.
----
The Self must create
Its own reasons for being.
To shape God,
Shape Self.
----
As wind,
As water,
As fire,
As life,
God
Is both creative and destructive,
Demanding and yielding,
Sculptor and clay.
God is Infinite Potential:
God is Change.
----
Your teachers
Are all around you.
All that you perceive,
All that you experience,
All that is given to you
or taken from you,
All that you love or hate,
need or fear
Will teach you---
If you will learn.
God is your first
and your last teacher.
God is your harshest teacher:
subtle,
demanding.
Learn or die.
----
Respect God:
Pray working.
Pray learning,
planning,
doing.
Pray creating,
teaching,
reaching.
Pray working.
Pray to focus your thoughts,
still your fears,
strengthen your purpose.
Respect God.
Shape God.
Pray working.
----
Create no images of God.
Accept the images
that God has provided.
They are everywhere,
in everything.
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---
forever Changing.
The universe
is God's self-portrait.
----
We have lived before.
We will live again.
We will be silk,
Stone,
Mind,
Star.
We will be scattered,
Gathered,
Molded,
Probed.
We will live
And we will serve life.
We will shape God
And God will shape us
Again,
Always again,
Forevermore.
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