Mary Ellen Hill ~ Storyteller & Teacher



Experience The Cosmic Spiral Walk

The Cosmic Spiral Walkspiral galaxy

Let me create and facilitate The Cosmic Spiral Walk at your event.

Putting it all in perspective!!!

The Cosmic Spiral Walk

The Cosmic Spiral Walk was originally created in 1985 by Sr. Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm, NJ. It was designed to provide some sense of the awesomeness of the time, space and creativity of the Universe. The walk encompasses the story of each and every life form; reminding us that we all are sacred, unique and interrelated.

My hope is that this meditative walk will assist you in falling more deeply in love with life and awaken your sensitivities to the amazing Earth and wondrous Universe. How delightful it would be to see this walk painted in parking lots, planted in gardens, placed in libraries, sanctuaries, city halls, homes, classrooms, etc. Please let me know about your experiences.

or..

Create your own
Cosmic Spiral Walk as a temporary or permanent installation, using the information below, as a gift from me!

Below is my version I have created with events that I feel are significant and compelling. You may want to adapt the highlighted events according to the significant events in your classroom studies and your students’ lives. Thomas Berry refers to these events as "moments of grace". When planning for outdoors the markers need to be weather resistant and durable. Natural materials such as rocks from the land, metal, wood and ceramics would be Earth friendly choices. Let your creativity shine!

I have used 150 feet of clothesline rope, each 10 feet =1 billion years. Each billion years is marked with a red piece of tape. Each number, 1-33, is marked with a purple line on the rope.

BYA = Billion Years Ago, MYA = Million Years Ago, YA = Years Ago


1. 14 BYA: (13.7 exactly): THE UNIVERSE IS BORN
Once upon a timeless time the Universe was born out of the heart of mystery (God, Great Mother, All Nourishing Abyss). Time, space, matter and energy whirl out in a super hot wild burst. Out of a speck much smaller than a poppy seed came everything that was needed for us to be here today. If the rate of expansion had been a millionth of one percent faster or slower the Universe would not exist.

2. 13,699,700,000 BYA: THE FIRST ATOMS
When the Universe was big enough and cool enough, little bits of matter, called quarks, gathered together in groups of threes. This created the first bonded relationships; neutrons and protons. Later, electrons joined in the dance of creation and formed the first atoms of hydrogen and helium.

3. 12 BYA: GALAXIES & STARS & SUPERNOVAS
Enormous clouds of hydrogen and helium coalesce into galaxies in which stars appear and shine their brilliance throughout the expanding Universe. Giant stars become supernovas, which birth forth newer elements in their exploding death dance, adding diversity and variety to the story. Calcium, carbon, gold, zinc and all the other elements that make up you and me and all life were created out of the hearts of stars!

4. 4.5 BYA: SOLAR SYSTEM
In our home galaxy, the Milky Way, an enormous wave of love (some people call this a gravity wave) rolled into a cloud left over from a supernova and birthed thousands of new stars. One of them was our day star, Sun. After millions of years a family of nine planets ( Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) and many moons were formed.

5. 4.3 BYA: MOON
All the planets had very difficult childhoods! They were constantly hit by asteroids, cosmic snowballs and meteors. During Earth’s early teenaged years, an asteroid the size of Mars crashed into her and little bits of Earth and chuncks of the asteriod flew off. It settled nearby and became our nearest relative, Moon.

6. 4 BYA: OCEANS & LIFE
Now we begin the story of our home, the third planet from the Sun. Early on, Earth was a boiling hot ball of molten rock which eventually cooled, forming a thin rocky crust. The heavy elements sunk into the core and the lighter ones rose up; steam condensed and it rained for millions of years. The oceans were created and magically they were soon filled with single-celled life, known as bacteria or prokaryotes. Wet, juicy Earth became alive!

7. 3.9 BYA: PHOTOSYNTHESIS
The first life forms fed on the rich chemical soup but soon the food ran out. They figured how to eat their wastes but still food supplies were in danger. All did not perish: some of these tiny creatures learned how to capture light for nourishment. Earth eats the Sun. Photosynthesis was invented.

8. 2 BYA: OZONE LAYER FORMED
During photosynthesis oxygen is released and it has a big appetite. Food was running out again. Our single celled ancestors rose to the occasion again and learned how to breathe the oxygen. They invented respiration. This is how the ozone layer formed. The oxygen loving bacteria enter into a deeper more complex structural form. Now within the one cell there is a cooperative: one part makes food, one part makes it move and one part finds food. This is a nucleated cell, the first eukarotic cell.

9. 1.5 BYA: SEXUAL REPRODUCTION
Previously, a cell reproduced asexually, making two individuals from one. Now, two cells came together and made one entirely new being. Sexual reproduction was created and the depth of diversity and communion opened up infinite possibilities.

10. 1 BYA: HETEROTROPHY
Organisms begin to eat one another. This new form of eating was the birth of predator-prey relationships.

11. 700 MYA: MULTICELLULAR LIFE
Communities of cells gather together and create new multi-celled life forms. Extreme temperatures and glaciation periods challenge these new life forms. Most life is still only in the sea! Only bacteria was on land.

12. 600 MYA: FIRST PLANTS & ANIMALS
First animals and plants appear as flatworms, jellyfish and seaweed. With the invention of eyes, Earth sees.

13. 510 MYA: FIRST FISH WITH BACKBONES
The first fish-like creatures with a backbone protecting the Earth’s earliest nervous system, emerge. The development of sensory organs blossoms.

14. 425 MYA: PLANTS GO ASHORE & SOIL
Challenged by weather and gravity, the plants were the first to venture away from their parent sea. They develop a membrane within which they carry their own bit of water. Algae and fungi leave their ocean home and become moss, ferns, lichen clinging to the rocky Earth. This new relationship eventually creates soil.

15. 395 MYA: INSECTS
The first animals to explore Earth were the insects. They formed an interdependent community with the plants. Some eventually learned how to fly.

16. 370 MYA: AMPHIBIANS & CONIFERS
Larger animals came ashore, trading their gills for lungs and continue to return to water to lay their eggs. Large trees marched forward using a hard cone to contain their seed. Over generations forests grow and later become fossilized as coal and oil.

17. 313 MYA: REPTILES
These animals figured out how to grow a shell around their eggs so they could be laid on Earth. They weren’t so dependent on water, growing skin that was tough and scaly, enabling them to travel far inland.

18. 235 MYA: DINOSAURS
For 170 million years, these creatures explore the extremes of size, speed and strength. Staying with their young and nurturing them towards independence, they developed parental care.

19. 216 MYA: MAMMALS & ATLANTIC OCEAN
Live birth and nursing lead to emotional bonding among the very small mammals. Continents continue to shift, crack and drift apart which help to form the Atlantic Ocean.

20. 150 MYA: BIRDS
The first birds took flight and Earth broke into song.

21. 120 MYA: FLOWERS
Earth awakens to color, fragrance, and beauty like never before. The flowers brought concentrated food sources and attractive bodies easy for insects, birds and mammals to feast on. In turn, they would help to spread flowers all over the land.

22. 20 MYA: GRASSES & MOUNTAINS
As the flowers spread across the world the grasses followed, further enabling more variety and abundance of food for the ever increasing mammals population. The Alps, Grand Canyon, Sierra Nevada and Himalayas made their majestic stance upon Earth.

23. 3.3 MYA: BIO-REGIONS
Current ice ages of Earth began, further shaping mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes and streams. Our present bio- regions took shape.

24. 2.6 MYA: FIRST HUMANS
Homo habilis are the earliest hominids to develop brains and nervous systems complex enough for the Earth to awaken into conscious self awareness. They use stones for tools.

25. 500,000 YA: FIRE
The first control by humans of a natural force appears: the primordial technology of fire. Clothing, shelters and more complex tools, such as hand axes, are used.

26. 40,000 YA: LANGUAGE 40,0Iiiii00 Is this correct?????YA: LANGUAGE
Modern Homo Sapiens emerge in Australia and Africa. They develop the ability to use language. The Earth awakens to story, prayer, poetry and song.

27. 11,000 YA: AGRICULTURE
Humans learn how to cultivate plants and to domesticate animals. They begin to shape the environment. Settlements were established throughout Asia and the Americas. (Dogs were tamed 12,000 YA)

28. 3,500 YA: WRITING & THE WHEEL
A new level of creativity brought forth the alphabet and writing, as well as the wheel. A wide variety of civilizations were flourishing and the world population was 5-10 million people. (Cats were tamed 4,000 YA)

29. 2,000 YA: CLASSICAL RELIGIONS
Hinduism, Confucianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam flourish. Earth-based indigenous religions were established thousands of years earlier.

30. ??YA:THIS COULD BE A PERSON, EVENT, COMMUNITY...THAT YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT

31. 34 YA: MOON LANDING (1969)
Earth was seen as whole from the Moon by three United State astronauts for the first time. Earth witnesses her own vast depth of beauty.

32. YOU WERE BORN
Born of GREAT love, Star stuff and Earth flesh, You were born to share your unique gifts with all.

33. TODAY...
Today we know our common origin story. Today we celebrate the sacredness of the whole Earth community and the entire Universe. Today we explore the significance of this and the role of the human in this amazing, creative, ongoing story.


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Contact Me

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Oakland, California, USA, North American Continent, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe
Mary Ellen Hill ~ Storyteller & Teacher
Telephone 510-636-4155
Email mehstories@netzero.com
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