Monday, July 30, 2007


THE THIRD WAY: The God of War and Wrath

Our politically correct culture is reactionary, like an out of control wrecking ball on a long chain swinging from one extreme to the other. Many have correctly observed and become tired of the imbalance in spirituality and religion in America; speaking out against war and violence. As a result, they have gone to the other extreme. They no longer like the masculine images of God found in the Bible as a warring and wrathful deity. They rightly, in my opinion, are seeking to stop violence, war, genocide and all of the atrocities we see being committed in the world.

But many now want to eliminate these 'oppressive' masculine images and make this inferior male God a feminine Goddess of peace and compassion. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people blame all war and violence on the masculine, patriarchal God who has reigned for 5,000 years, and often blamed it on males in general. They tell us it is time to return to the feminine. I give my emphatic Yes to peace and compassion, yes to the beautiful, soft, nurturing feminine; but an emphatic no to the elimination of the masculine metaphors, and an emphatic no to psychological and metaphysical neutrality!

These images are metaphors for God sake, not literal statements or complete descriptions of the Transcendent Realm or God's absolute Nature. Metaphors always conceal way more than they reveal, but what they reveal must be attended to and never lost lest the reactive corrections swing the pendulum too far the other way. In my opinion, as a male, the pendulum has swung too far with the current progressive movement to feminize or neuter our spiritual language, to the exclusion, or inferiority, of the masculine. It is not enough for these 'reformers' to discover, recover or invent feminine metaphors – they want to literally mount a metaphysical coup and replace the bad male deity with the good female deity, or some neutral deity that resembles a blank slate. Some of us call ourselves liberal, but our language, attitudes and ideals are nearly as literal and dogmatic as any conservative Fundamentalist I ever knew. We actually speak as though we are creating a completely new mythology and theology based on what we think best, consigning those ignorant ancients to the scrap heap of metaphysical inferiority . We have forgotten we are using metaphors for the universal Archetypal Energies that will never go away, no matter how we try to mount campaigns to overthrow the Ones we don't like at any given moment.

You see this in the Hebrew Bible. Those who tried to exalt male metaphors to the exclusion of the divine feminine found themselves assailed by the goddesses at every turn – for example, the Northern ten tribes of Israel split off from Jerusalem and recovered the feminine consort of El or Baal, the Goddess Asherah. This national schism or pathology was part of an effort to bring the divine feminine back into Hebrew mythology. You cannot outwit or trump the Infinite Archetypal Sources of Cosmos and Psyche. If you try, they will come through the back door with sometimes catastrophic surprises for being trifled with or ignored; that is what pathologies and psycho-cosmic painful symptoms are – the archetypes demanding to be seen, heard and incorporated into life on all levels.

An example of this is the biblical story of Job which is about a neglected archetype, not the nature of suffering and evil in the world as the story is most often portrayed today. The Hebrews had exclusively exalted the archetype of Prosperity through obedience to the Law of Moses, and had neglected the soul-making archetypal Power of Poverty, what the Greeks called Penia, the mother of Eros or Love. There is a role for Poverty in bringing souls to Love in a way that Abundance cannot. When a person or people focus their sole attention on Prosperity (Euthenia), Penia will rise up from the cellar, demanding attention to make soul.

The contemporary effort to replace the divine masculine with the divine feminine will work no better that past efforts to exclude the divine feminine by solely exalting the divine masculine. Both energies are eternal, normal and necessary. Neither can be quashed. The metaphors or symbols that have been used for millennia may be voted out by synods, changed by translation committees or banned by egoistic members of enlightened Sanghas or churches who have deemed it time usurp the gods, but the Energies will never disappear.

The God of War and Wrath is here to stay, and War and Wrath are metaphors for a psychic Energy Pattern, not an endorsement of war or some God in a celestial Pentegon! They are metaphors!!!!! Metaphor means to carry above or lift beyond the lower literal meaning. Metaphor is simile, imagery, allegory, a figure of speech, a symbol – an attempt to infuse the Archetypal Invisibles with some tangible imagery by using silly, puny human people, places or situations. The God of War and Wrath is a universal symbol of the archetypal Power(s) of wildness, of untamed, unbounded feral creativity that cannot be caged, disciplined or chained with politically correct language or protest marches. It will never happen; if you change the biblical text, or any other sacred text which speaks of the God of War to a Goddess of Peace, then he/she will turn up in some other form, as Kali Durga, the warring goddess that slaughters the enemies. If you turn God from a roaring lion to a purring mother lioness, she will chase down a gazelle and suffocate it with her iron jaws. Or it will come roaring to the forefront as a Hitler or Stalin, demanding attention from the collective psyche; not because It is petty, but because universes and souls cannot be made without all of the Energies being present.

Both, or all, aspects of the archetypal universe are eternal and necessary for the creative and soul-making process - war and peace, chaos and order, life and death, wildness and domesticity. Hera and Hestia champion the peaceful hearth and home, Zeus roams the earth at will, wild and free. Please don't moralize or 'genderize' this idea, because the archetypal deities are beyond morality and gender ultimately; the point is not to say it is ok for males to roam wild and free. The point is that there is an eternal energy in the Universe that is wild, adventuresome and which cannot be caged in a house. This energy is generally seen in males, is recognized ubiquitously as masculine, and yet is a very real part of the feminine Psyche and Mother Earth.

Look at the very Nature of the Physical Universe in its unfettered and wild history, and the Hubble telescope's images in the present universe in its raging expansion; what do we find and see? We see a history of planets, specifically earth, beginning in a fiery red, seething molten state of bubbling ferocity until it cooled and became the pretty blue-green marble the astronauts see from space. Both of these disparate states of earth are historically true and both states are archetypal necessities. We know that the future of this planet will one day see it return to that early molten wrathful condition, or be obliterated, when the sun implodes and incinerates the entire solar system, if we are not hit by an asteroid or comet first. And very likely other realms of the Cosmos will form other serene blue-green marbles. The gods of war and wrath are just two universal metaphors for this geologic, cosmic, chaotic condition which includes volcanoes, earthquakes, rain storms, tornadoes, tsunamis and rolling thunder rife with crackling electrical bolts streaking the sky. These are part of a perfect Nature. This is the metaphor that we find in the biblical name of God, El Shaddai, the deity of the thundering mountain, the god of the roiling sky, the master of the towering nimbus clouds rising like an erect phallus raining moisture onto the fertile soil. You find it in the Egyptian creation myth as Atum masturbates, forming moisture (Tefnut) and clouds (Shu), eventually seeding the earth (Geb).

The Hubble telescope has sent us images that are incredible. We see a million bursting nebulae stretching light years into space, each column or cluster an exploding skein filled with millions of hatching galaxies, each galaxy filled with millions of new stars, planets and moons. These warring, wrath-like aspects of the Cosmos reveal the glory of the divine masculine venting, adventing and inventing. An ancient Hindu myth speaks of a thousand gods gathered in the heavens, debating loudly. Lord Shiva is tired of their haggling and sans Viagra, sprouts a nebulae-like erection and sends the gods scattering like marbles.

As a male, I am getting tired of hearing solely about Mother Earth and the pristine Universe being destroyed by the dunder-headed Patriarchy. Father Sky is as integral to Cosmos and Psyche as Mother Earth, both metaphors speak of a co-creative process. Additionally, it is time we open our exploratory minds to see new aspects of the heavens and earth, finding new metaphors that go beyond the stock few we are stuck in. We must see the thunderous heavens containing her feminine aspects and the nurturing earth containing his masculine aspects. Who has not seen the divine feminine in the soft blue sky and the divine masculine in the muscular mountain ranges? Many of us have tacitly created a gender war between, not only the red states and blue states, but between Father sky and Mother earth. We have even done it with our narrow-minded and uncreative stereotypes of male and female genitalia. Feminine softness and the open womb are balanced by billowing breasts, a firm clitoris and erect nipples; the masculine penis is rarely erect, most often very flaccid, soft and humble; and men have breasts too! In the human body, the immense Cosmos, the universal Psyche and myriad religious texts, we need to recognize the necessary and normal roles of both masculine and feminine archetypes without expunging or erasing any.

Shame on us for our egoistic hubris. Some of us have left those old tyrannical and debilitating religions which used their sacred texts and God to victimize and clobber us, and we've gone to the other extreme of thinking we have exclusive right to pick and choose Who enters our Psyche to make soul. We westerners, because we are the most technologically advanced people in the known history of the planet, believe we can redefine and assign jobs to the gods and goddeses based on our personal desires and ideological job descriptions. It is fine to tend the planet to the best of our ability, but arrogant to think that we can rewrite mythological stories and religious texts because we prefer certain metaphors over others. The old metaphors need to be left alone, reviewed, re-visioned and deliteralized by both liberals and conservatives, and please feel free to invent some new metaphors as your perspective of the Psyche and the Divine evolve. But while we invent metaphors, we do not invent the gods.

Finally, a word of caution…the humanly neglected and eradicated archetypes cannot be expunged; they will always surge forth in our dreams, unconscious social movements, psychic fantasies, human inventions, natural disasters and other ways to reassert their Presences. Jung said, "The gods show up in our symptoms." I take this to mean that planetary or personal tragedies and suffering result often from neglected or dismissed archetypal energies Who come knocking at the door, calling to be attended to in the soul-making and creative process. This is not a gender issue, but an archetypal issue. Taoism likens the Universe to the bending of a bow, when one end is curved too far, the other end must be curved to meet it before the string can be put on the bow.

So then, we must pay attention to the existing metaphors where we find them, and examine their deeper significances before we set about to cancel them or alter them. The God of War and Wrath is still a valid and powerful metaphor for the wild, uncontained, exploratory, audacious Nature of the Cosmos and Psyche. Find it in you, find it in the stars, honor its Presence as necessary and normal for making souls, but don't literalize, eradicate or neglect It.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"Yes, hell exists. It is not a fairy tale. One indeed burns there. This hell is not at the end of life. It is here. At the beginning. Hell is what the infant must experience before he gets to us.”
~ Dr. Frederick Leboyer

When I was an Evangelical Christian, I remember contemplating the notion of 'eternal conscious punishment' and agonizing over the countless millions who were going to the Lake of Fire . When attending a Christian College , I would go to the local town and spend my weekends passing out gospel literature and sharing Christ with all who would listen. I took their doctrine of Hell seriously, afterall, why have a doctrine if you don't take it seriously?

One day I had a great idea. I would put together a gospel band to stand on the back of a flatbed truck. We would drive into town on Friday night, park the truck on main street, let the band attract a crowd and then preach the life saving gospel to those listening in order to save them from eternal, conscious punishment. I decided to ask the President of the college to do the preaching. He was a man in his mid fifties, always neatly coiffed, and an incredibly articulate speaker. When he heard my plan, he turned pale and declined. I was dumbfounded by his tongue-tied backpedaling to extricate himself from what he clearly perceived to be a humiliating situation.

As the years went by, this sort of duplicity showed itself all around me. I met scores of Christians who routinely spoke of the eternally damned in the most nonchalant manner. I had never seen such calloused disregard and inexplicable apathy in the face of such dire consequences.

More recently, Televangelist Carlton Pearson has severed his ties with traditional evangelical teaching on the doctrine of Hell and saw his large conservative church dwindle from 6,000 members down to about 200. Evidently, evangelicals like their religion to include what Rob Zombie calls the 'the woes of an everlasting fiery hell.'

It is time to 'raze hell'. The word 'raze' means to destroy, demolish and annihilate. This unfounded and inhumane doctrine of a literal Hell must be assailed with logic, scripture and every means available to revalue human life and restore the Universe to a place of purposeful soul-making, rather than being a cosmic slaughter house rife with retributive justice. That being said, Hell will never go away. Hell, like all mythological constructs, arises in the fertile human Psyche, the universal imaginative garden which has grown Hebrew Sheol, Greek Hades, European Valhalla, Mayan Mitnal and the Aztec Mictlantecuhtli - various permutations of the ubiquitous underworld theme. If resisted, it will persist until heeded. There are no 'enemies' of the Psyche, only aspects that are either integrated into the ego or resisted. Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Hell originates in the Universal Psyche, and is a part of each soul. Everyone of us knows that at some level there is a deep, dark, terrifying, lonely place inside of us. It rises up, or pulls us down in times of despair, depression and failure. If recognized as being a necessary part of Psyche, we can respect it as the place we go when we need to reflect, purge, correct and take a reading on our life course. The Christian gospel tells us that Jesus went to Hell after his death, signifying that the soulful life is comprised of both Heaven and Hell. The Hebrew Psalmist tells us that the LORD God lives in Sheol as much as He does in the Heavens (Psalm 139:8). The poet William Blake spent his life advocating for the marriage of Heaven and Hell in order to produce souls of depth and character.

We all have periods when we realize it is time to purge behaviors, eliminate modes of thinking, expunge habits and reduce old useless attitudes to ashes. Romantic poet Algernon Swineburne wrote a poem dedicated to the Queen of Hades, Persephone, about the need for a place where the disastrous and dead things go:

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837-1909, The Garden of Proserpine

We all experience such periods, calling them, 'down times', that 'sinking feeling', 'feeling low' and say we are feeling a bit 'under the weather.' We say things like 'to hell with it', 'I feel like hell' and that 'things are going to hell in a hand basket.'

I suggest that we honor those times, take care of our selves, asks the gods of the psychic underworld to purge away the old useless stuff in preparation for the abundance that is sure to follow, just as the Phoenix rose from the purging flames. Hell is not literal, but it is a real human soul-making condition. In a Universe which many of us see as God-Expressing in All Things, even Hell serves us when we can see how.

The End

Michael Bogar, MDiv. ThM


Saturday, July 14, 2007



“The proper work of criticism is contamination…it must share in the nature of what is being studied. Criticism contaminates, but itself has begun in a state of contamination.”
~ Bloom, The American Religion, p. 36

Before one can be taken seriously as a critic, he must be afflicted with what he critiques. If it is sports, politics, poetry or sexuality, the subject must possess you, and the longer it possesses you, the better critic you are. It must ravage your heart, mind and soul like small pox or a bad case of the flu, so you know its effect in every joint and gland.

The same is true of public speaking, acting or any performance art. The effectiveness of your performance will be in direct proportion to the depth of contagion. If you are slightly affected, your performance will be slight. If you are thoroughly contaminated, you will spread the germs of your idea everywhere with the single sneeze or cough of a word. This metaphor may be unappealing, but if we are not attempting to infect the minds of others with a cure, why waste time. Infection is nothing but transmission. Transmitting memes is crucial in this time of meme warfare; metaphysical germ warfare.


“We must separate ourselves from the qualities of opposites. In the Pleroma they cancel each other out; in us they do not. But if we know how to know ourselves as being apart from the pairs of opposites, then we have attained salvation.” CG Jung, The First Sermon


I neither need to be free from possessing my lover, nor free from releasing my lover, I need to go beyond possessing and releasing. I must go beyond opposites. Opposite means ‘opposing sites’, or the fighting positions. To be on one site assumes the existence of an opponent standing on the other site, brandishing a menacing sword, challenging whichever site I am standing on.

There is no peace or joy in either opposite, in fact, there is no peace or joy in the struggle to attain either side of opposites. Peace is in knowing there is an existence beyond the opposites, to know that pure, unopposed existence is at the center or my being. There is pleasure and pain in the opposites, but bliss is in the center. Bliss is neither pleasure nor pain any more than a mirror is the object it reflects. The mirror may resemble the object, whether ugly or beautiful, but the mirror at its core is neither. The mirror beholds the opposites, but is neither. My center is the mirror.
Albert Schweitzer said, "An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind."

I am not success or failure, I am neither of these at the center.
I am bliss.
I am not handsome or ugly, I am neither at the center.
I am bliss.
I am not rich or poor, I am neither at the center.
I am bliss.
I am not male or female, I am neither at the center.
I am bliss.
I am not good or evil, I am neither at the center.
I am bliss.
I am not jealousy or acceptance, I am neither at the center.
I am bliss.

It is not about trading my vices for virtues, but about going to my center.
I am bliss.
It is not about fighting my dark side, or about embracing my light side.
I am bliss.
It is not about getting rid of my defects, it is about being what I am.
I am bliss.
It is about being at the center, which is bliss.
It is not “my” bliss, it is just bliss.

Bliss is the undefined, infinite Abyss. Bliss is like contentment, but it is not contentment. It is like serenity, but it is more than, and less than serenity. Bliss is not an “it”. To call bliss serenity, contentment or “it” makes it one of the opposites. I am neither contentment nor disquiet, I am not serenity or agitation, I am not “this” or “that”. I am bliss at the center.

Life is a process of embracing, chasing, desiring, fighting for, releasing and finally relinquishing all opposites. It is a purposeful struggle, though the purpose is neither good nor bad. In the process of relinquishing, there will be a period where I think replacing one opposite with another is the goal. It is not. Both sides must be released, or must release me to my center. There will be times, countless times, when I believe I have reached the center because I feel content or serene. I have not. There will be times when I think that I have achieved the center because I can conceive of it. This is as foolish as a mountain climber thinking he has reached the summit because he has it in view.

This center is not reached by education, but by living full out. It is achieved through failure and much suffering. The safe-minded person will not find the center. The cautious man may know some security, but he will not know the center. The center is found by grabbing hold of what seems real at the moment, only to see it seep through your tightly closed fist like water. The center comes through living consciously, through doing your best and being cognizant that it is not bliss, until it is bliss.

I have an internal bliss compass always pointing me toward magnetic bliss north. I know when I am in the center. I must continue the struggle, until it is no longer a struggle. The struggle is normal and necessary. I must be aware that I am here for the struggle, that there is nothing 'wrong', and that there is a center. Even ignorance and selfish striving are normal and necessary. The struggle is not here because humans caused it by sin or ego, because our sin and ego are normal and necessary. But at some point I must wake up to the center, for ignornance of the existence of a center leaves me as an animal - eating, sleeping, reproducing and withering away.

But, what if I am taken advantage of? What if my lover cheats on me, flirts with another and is attracted to another. What if she experiences that visceral chemistry toward another object of affection? Surely she will. We all do. I have. What if the sun is hot and water is wet? Each must live in his or her opposites in order to attain the center. All relationships, from the joining of semen and ovum, to the separation of body and breath, are nothing more than objects graciously provided for Soul to experience the opposing sites that I may find the center. My job, my children, my car, my home, my books, my body, my hair, my face, my weight, my diseases, my insanities, my neighbors, my students, people on the freeway, my computer, my food – everything that I relate to sets up an opportunity for opposites.

Monday, July 9, 2007



“At any given point in the day, there are at least two voices in my head.”
~ Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung

PART ONE: Roll Call


The rap of the gavel echoed in my waking skull; 6 A.M. and time to get up. As my awareness rose with the sun, I convened the usual morning meeting of my Subliminal Mental Assembly (S.M.A.). The voices in my mind were about to help me begin another typical day.

I started with roll call, "Order, order in the Cortex! Noah Selfesteem, are you present?"

Silence, so I called more loudly, "NOAH SELFESTEEM, are you present?"

A whisper surfaced from the lowest part of my cerebral cellar, "

Noah Selfesteem sat in the corner, eyes darting around at the other members, checking to see if they approved of his presence. Most didn’t even see him.

I went on with the call, "Ima N. de Nial.”

“What do you want,” queried Ima?

“You are late again Ms. de Nial,” I chided the always truant member of my brain.
Ima answered promptly, “I’ve never been late, the clock is always wrong.”

I continued, “Del Usion.”

“It’s not time to get up, I can sleep another half hour, I’m sure it’s a holiday,” replied Del Usion from his oblivious abyss of fantasies and misapprehensions.

The roll call went on, "Ms. Constance Whiner.”

Constance grumbled, "I hate mornings, my back hurts, I slept horribly, I wanna sleep some more. What’s for breakfast? Not toast and honey again. Whatever it is, it will be horribly atrociously disgustingly awful, I know it.”

"Is Mr. Mel N. Collie here?”, I went on.

He droned, "Yes, I'm here, I'm sorry to say, and it's a morbid mournful morning. I wish I had died in my sleep. My girlfriend is leaving me and I'll never find anyone to love me, and I really hate my stupid job and they don’t pay me enough money and I feel awful which obviously means I am awful, which means everything in the universe is awful."

Mel wrung his hands, hung his head and sidled up next to Noel Selfesteem as the two began their usual day of chronic commiserating.

I called for the next member, "Anne Ziety, are you present?"

Anne Ziety spoke up crisply, "Silly, I am always present and you should be glad that I am. It is my duty to keep you constantly and accurately informed through the fine art of trepidation. Do you know the supervisor has his annual evaluation for you this afternoon? He is an awful fellow, very very harsh. Did you see the way he has been looking at you lately? Things are not going to go well for you. You knew this thing with your girlfriend was coming; how many times have I told you that she is too pretty and too good for you? I have a really bad feeling about today, in fact your whole future is pretty much a shambles.”

Anne opened her mouth to further her distressful discourse, but I interrupted, knowing that she would have much more to contribute throughout the day. I went on with the list, "Ben Angry, are you here this morning?”


Ben usually saved these sorts of eruptions for the traffic on the way to work. I felt a throb in my temple as I popped three extra-strength TUMS to untie the knot the in my gut, then continued with the list, “Alotta Fear?”

Alotta winced, looked up sheepishly and spoke in a spiritless tone, “Ben scares me. He sounds just like Dad, always hollering.”

I found it a bit ironic that Alotta Fear sounded much like my mother.

I continued, “Thank you Alotta Fear. Next, Dr. Hugh Cheego, are you here this morning?”

“I am most certainly here,” Dr. Hugh Cheego lifted an eyebrow, pressed the tips of all ten fingers together and spoke. “What are you doing at that servile job anyway? Those people you work for are the most inauspicious gathering of dolts, buffoons and boors I have ever seen. And that girlfriend, ha! She is a worthless, under-educated and overly cosmetized loser. And don’t worry about your financial situation; why, you got more class and talent than anyone you know, and are just one step away from being promoted to corporate C.E.O. where you belong. You are better than anyone you associate with. Don’t they know that you have a Masters in Advanced Egomania and a Ph.D. in Visions of Grandeur?”

Del Usion chimed in, “And besdies, if you don’t get promoted, you will be winning the lottery very soon!”

Roll call was completed. Everyone was present. My Subliminal Mental Assembly was in session once more. I took little comfort in knowing that they were all in attendance and more than willing to assist me in starting my day. I knew each of them all too well. For many years they had been with me every hour of the day or night. They were especially fond of bedtime and at all waking moments. I couldn’t count how many times I had been awakened from a peaceful slumber, usually by Ann Ziety with her chronic apprehensions about everything.

PART TWO: The Meeting of the Subliminal Mental Assembly

“…the persons of the psyche are not mine. I do not own them, and so I do not own their feelings and actions either. These other persons give me ethical dilemmas and crises of conscience"...(in order to make soul).
~ James Hillman

I continued the morning session. “Noah Selfesteem, would you please read the minutes from our meeting just before bed last night?”

Noah began, “I don’t know why you gave me this job. I can’t do anything very well. I am such a loser. Actually, I am worse than a loser; I am a total and complete failure.”

Noah pulled out a list of past failures and began to remind me, “I failed math in high school; I have been dumped by three beautiful women. My penmanship is horrible. I let a ground ball roll between my legs in that high school baseball game, losing our chance to go to district. Everyone I know is smarter, better looking, more buff and has way more personality. My nose is too big and my lips are too thin. The only thing I can do well is remember how pathetic I really am. Shall I go on with the minutes from last night?” Noah folded his arms and slumped down in his chair.

Before I could speak, Dr. Hugh Cheego leaped to his feet to argue with Noah, “Quit groveling you malignant maggot! Have you compared us to some of those Neanderthal, knuckle-dragging morons populating those streets out there? Why, those protuberant foreheads contain more air than gray matter; we are virtual Einsteins in comparison to those people we work with. We just need our chance to demonstrate our near Messianic capabilities! And remember yesterday when you walked into Starbucks and ordered that double latte flawlessly? Did you not see those fine females checking you out from head to heels? You are no dud, YOU are a stud!”

Listening to Noah Self Esteem and Dr. Hugh Cheego quarrel in my head always made me think of an ego-maniac with an inferiority complex.

“Alright”, I answered, “forget the minutes. Let’s get on with the meeting. First item of new business, shall we get out of bed?”

Mel N. Collie spoke right up, “What’s the point? The day is already awful. I vote no, let’s go back to sleep.”

Alotta Fear looked up from her panicky gaze, glanced timidly around at all of the members and said, “If we don’t get up and go to work, we’ll be in big trouble. People will think we are lazy, or even depressed…”

Mel N Colly interrupted, “We are depressed.”

Alotta continued, “…and if we don’t obey the rules, we will get punished; we’ll be fired, lose our home, car, food and be out on the street begging for change.”

The other members nodded unanimously and agreed that Alotta Fear was right. She often had the final word on almost every decision we made. So I dragged myself from the bed, tucking the blankets under the mattress as the meeting continued in my brain, “Next item, how are we feeling about our evaluation with the supervisor?”

Naturally Ima N. de Nial was the first to chime in. She looked up from reading the classic text she carried with her, the well-worn bestseller, 1001 Ways To Blame Others, by Dr. Oso Mini Xcusus.

Ima spoke, “So you missed the last four Mondays by calling in sick. You were sick. Sure you may have had a bit too much to drink, but that counts as 'sick, and God knows you need to have some way to soothe your nerves. It’s not like you missed Tuesdays too! You’ll feel better by putting a ounce or two of Vodka in your thermos.”


Mel N Collie interrupted Ben and bound into the fray, “We’ll go broke. We’ll be living in a cheap studio apartment soon, with rats and cockroaches eating better than us. We’ll have to sell the car, ride a bike to work, or worse, the bus. I’ll lose my job, end up working somewhere for minimum wage. Woe and misery, what is the point? Let’s go back to bed, or call in sick and drink the whole bottle of Vodka!”

Constance Whiner began to squeal as a shrill voice turned into a scream that rattled my already shaken skull, “People are so darn mean and cruel! Why can’t that supervisor just leave you alone? Life is too hard!”

Noah Selfesteem let out a groan, placed his face in both palms, slouched even lower in his chair and muttered, “The first thing we should do after work tonight is just get drunk!”

Ima N. de Nial promptly shouted, “All in favor of Noah’s reasonable emotion, please respond by saying ‘aye’.” The response was unanimous. Constance Whiner also suggested a shopping spree for new stereo equipment while Anne Ziety recommended that we buy a double layer chocolate cake and eat the whole thing after work. And Dr. Hugh Cheego suggested his usual distraction, sex, or falling in love.

The committee was doing its job, as it had for years. I turned on the shower and did a quick shave while I waited for the water to get warm. I was feeling sick to the stomach and felt my soul going down the drain with the tepid water. At least the prospect of some pleasurable diversionary relief after work muffled the voices in my head.

But there was some part of me that felt a desire to fire this worthless committee and find some new members. Yet, they had been with me for as long as I could remember, and there was a certain comfort in familiarity. I had come to love and accept them all in some twisted way. I had once joined a church and tried to force them to shut up by calling them evil and fighting with them all day long. I even once went to an Exorcist who called them demons and cast them out. But they returned about a week later, right after the Pastor asked me to tithe to the church. Ironically, they seemed to get louder and more powerful, so I quit the church and made some sort of peace with my Subliminal Mental Assembly. Yes, I had become comfortable with them, even though very miserable most of the time.

As the day progressed, they battled and informed me on every issue from freeway traffic to radio commercials. What would I do?

PART THREE: Firing and Hiring a New Committee

I decided that something had to be done. I had a phone number a friend had given me. It was for the Attitudinal Consulting Agency. The moment I arrived at work, I called them. I dialed 1-800-NEW-MIND, two rings and an answer, “Hello, this is the Attitudinal Consulting Agency, Rick Coveree, head consultant speaking; how may I assist you?” I liked that, head consultant, very clever I thought. But Dr. Hugh Cheego reminded me that it was pretentious and corny, not clever enough for someone as brilliant as me. I could see the old committee was going to fight me all of the way.

I told Rick Coveree my story and he promised to send me a packet of information in order to get me started. Three days later the envelope arrived. Included was a sign which he recommended that I hang over the entry-door to my old mental meeting room. It contained words from Dante’s Inferno, words etched over the entrance into Hell:


Following his advice, I promptly posted the sign and found that every time I was tempted to go in to convene the old Subliminal Mental Assembly, I was reminded that I was sick and tired of the grief, loneliness, sorrow and hopelessness. It wasn’t enough, however, to disband this relentless band of miscreant mental informants. For even though I made a conscious effort to avoid the room, they followed me wherever I went. I desperately needed new voices. An excerpt from the Attitudinal Consulting Agency’s literature made this point well:

“In the normal human consciousness, there are voices, usually sounding like our own. In our mind’s ear, we can literally hear ourselves talking to ourselves. You can hear one of those voices right now as you read these words. Our voices express our perceptions of reality, our ideas and beliefs about life and ourselves, and our evaluations of experience and circumstances. Disturbed, unhappy people can help themselves greatly by disputing their own irrational ideas or voices that, by definition, are objectively true and serve one’s own enlightened self-interest.”

~ The Small Book of Rational Recovery by Jack Trimpey, pages 57-59

Mr. Rick Coveree also included several resumes of potential new members to be considered in the formation of a new mental committee. The first two prospective members were the British twins that always traveled and worked together. They were:

Sir Ender Now of New Thoughtshire

I will remind you each day to let go of those people, places and situations over which you have no control. I will jog your memory whenever you start worrying about the past or dreading the future. I will suggest that you stop trying to manipulate and force people and circumstances to change. I will constantly remind you that there is a Higher Power or Source that takes even the wreckage of your past and the ambiguity of your future, turning them into miracles if you can just surrender them, now.

Sir Enity Now of New Thoughtshire

I am the twin brother of Sir Ender. I was born just a few seconds after him, and always follow him wherever he goes. After he speaks, if allowed into your new mental committee, I will whisper comforting words of peace. I will remind you that tranquility is yours, even in the midst of the deepest turmoil and pain. I will give you what you were looking for but could never find in that beer, shopping, eating, sex or whatever diversionary tactic you employed before. I will save you from a lot of horrific consequences.

Mr. Newt Ruth

I will encourage you each day to simply speak the truth to yourself and others. Dishonesty creates suffering, resentment and ignorance. Those emotions are eating you alive. I will clear your conscience. I will remind you that when you tell the truth, you don’t have to waste precious time and energy trying to remember what you told people. You’ll be amazed at how light hearted you will feel when you’re not always trying to keep your stories straight.

Ms. Cora Age

I will equip you each day with reminders to simply do the tasks you keep avoiding. It is likely that your old committee avoided the hard jobs and told you to go for instant pleasure. I will let you know that avoiding responsibility and avoiding completions causes mental anguish, emotional stress and physical disease. I will not remove your fear, but show you that 90% of it does not really exist. I will remind you to walk into the uncomfortable places and clear them up so you can enjoy the rest of your day with a clear mind.

Ms. Grace Applied

You may get discouraged as you attempt to change committees. I will remind you that failure is not unusual, and that at the end of each day, you have done your very best. I will tell any old judgmental voices from the past to go away, and there will be many, especially at first. I will remind you that your Higher Power is not mean, angry or waiting to punish you for your failures and inconsistencies. I will help you remove the little whispers of guilt, shame and worthlessness that will creep under the cracks of the door. You are perfect as you are.

Ms. Bea Faithful

I will be the first and last voice to speak to you at each meeting. I will record the minutes, report our positive progress and close the meetings. I will remind you that if you listen to the other new voices consistently and diligently, your future is literally full of boundless opportunities. There is no financial, relational, occupational, educational or health difficulty that we cannot move through toward prosperity and soul-making. Your old committee will return; I will remind you that they use pain to cause you to reflect and wonder.

These seemed like extravagant promises, but I was ready for a change. I subsequently hired all of these new voices and dismissed the old Subliminal Mental Assembly. I placed a new sign over the meeting room door the day I hired the new voices:


However, the govern-mental shift of power was neither easy nor smooth. The fired members continued to hang around outside the meeting door, marching with placards and shouting their displeasure at being replaced. At times, the cacophony of voices was maddening. The old voices and new voices were in a constant struggle. Initially, Anne Ziety organized several cerebral assaults. She was the most upset since I had always given her the prominent right to be heard in my past mental committee meetings.

She appointed Ben Angry to be commander of the revolutionary army. They master-minded some incredibly sneaky and subtle coupes. On several occasions, they battered down the door, taking me hostage for hours or days at a time. Once, they succeeded in holding me captive from Thanksgiving through New Years. But Ms. Cora Age reminded me that their intrusions were allowed only by my choice, and it became easier to keep them away and allow the new assembly to work. I was also very grateful for the loving words of Ms. Grace Applied. She frequently held my hand and reassured me after each failure, and there were many.

With time, my life began to change in a very positive fashion. The old voices grew quieter. They did vow to never go away, and I eventually learned that even they possessed valuable input when I didn't fight them. Mr. Rick Coveree told me that the voices are real Presences and quite alive, and that they just wanted attention. I still must maintain my new current committee by caring for them consistently, lest the old voices take the gavel and assert their miserable rule once more.

Archetypal Psychological Post-Script:

“…the persons of the psyche are not mine. I do not own them, and so I do not own their feelings and actions either. These other persons give me ethical dilemmas and crises of conscience, but when I own up to all of their events as mine in the name of moral responsibility, I commit the even greater sin of satanic selfhood, the ego who owns what is archetypal. The very recognition of the “others” as not mine, disowning them, limits their scope of action. They can be heard but not literally obeyed. The knowledge of “who” is involved in an urge already inhibits the urge through the image aspect of it. So too for moral judgments, whose voices also reflect non-ego images and persons. Disowning thus prevents another psychological “sin,” identification.”

Re-Visioning Psychology, James Hillman, pp. 179-180

The End

Michael Bogar, MDiv. ThM
Classes, coaching and workshops.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


We live in a time when it is almost corny to be pro-America and patriotic.

While it is clear that America is far from perfect, having its share of problems, including political corruption, religious intolerance and past historical abuses, as well as other national and international challenges, it is still arguably the most fricking amazing country in the world. This is seen in its ability to self reflect, allow personal and nationwide criticism, and work toward the correction of those flaws and abuses with comparative minimal violence. Of course there is economic corruption, what do you expect in a free market? Of course there is political sleaze, there always has been and always will be in a world enamored with power and prestige. Of course there is bigotry, discrimination and intolerance – those are not uniquely American traits, but part of the human condition.

My point is not to excuse America's abuses or failings, but to simply remind us that this experiment which began in 1776 needs to be remembered and appreciated, whether you are from a Red or Blue state. Whether you are for or against the current war in Iraq and the Bush administration, the fact is that this nation has always stood for freedom in a way no other ever has, even while there were acts of vice, selfishness and corruption in the midst of that stance. Please don't stop your protests or cease with your ideological right wing or left wing opinions, but take a day off, quit whining and complaining, focus on the fact that we can have diverse ideological opinions and freely express them. It is not the case in much, if not most, of the world.

If you want to see this from a fresh and fascinating perspective, read journalist Bruce Bawer's book, While Europe Slept. Bawer, a gay, Liberal democrat moved to Scandinavia ten years ago to marry his male partner and escape America's conservative intolerance, racist bigotry and Capitalistic consumerism. After ten years in Europe, he has written a book commending America compared to Europe's fundamentalist social liberalism which, according to Bawer, has even more intolerance and political corruption than the USA, jeopardizing the future of the free world. Bawer is not some lifelong Conservative, but his ten year exposure to fuzzy-headed socialist liberalism gives a perspective I call the 'Purple State' point of view. Please read it, While Europe Slept. Irshad Manji, a gay Feminist Muslim, has written a similar work titled, The Trouble With Islam Today.

The 4th of July is a time to unite as a free people, seeing both Liberals and Conservatives, and those of us somewhere in between, as citizens of the most perfect of the imperfect nations on the planet. I encourage you to read the Declaration of Independence which I have copied below, read it aloud to others, especially your children, and discuss it for a few minutes in between fireworks and the state of Paris Hilton.

Lastly, a huge word of thanks to those who have served this free country on this auspicious date. Thank you gentlemen, and ladies…we owe you and honor you. Light a cherry bomb for these courageous guys, or a sparkler for those of you from blue states.

Memorable 4th of July! Michael Bogar