Monday, November 4, 2019

Soul-making: Am I Worm, or a Butterfly?

     The view of "soul-making" that I hold is probably different than many who believe we humans come into this world as perfect little God-souls who become defiled and corrupted by race consciousness manifesting as family and other forms of socio-political conditioning. Many in the New Age Movement tend to think that we are tainted by this dark world and merely returning to our original light form. Possibly, but I don't think so. 

     I increasingly tend to see each of us as very imperfect yet amazing little sparks of God--each of us is a little soul-larva, a distinct juvenile form that many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Over time these little human ego-eggs morph into gray ego-worms--curious, self-serving, lost, confused, and mostly oblivious unconscious human infants, children and young adults--and even well into adulthood. And in my view, our selfishness, unconsciousness, confusion and oblivion are divine archetypal patterns that launch each gray worm into the school of soul-making. Each human soul is born into a matrix of creative chaos, an archetypal void, a living mess--and only gradually may we transform, unless we do not. 

     This human condition seems to me to be a nursery filled with screaming little brats, punctuated with a few rare mature souls. We have the opportunity to grow up. Yet strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to an adult soul-life. Or as Scott Peck calls it, "The Road Less Traveled".

     My my, isn't this a negative view of human nature? Or is it? And are not "negative" and "positive" poles necessary for a continuous current that creates energy and light? Must not a magnet attract and repel--revealing a universe that requires both the law of attraction and the law of repulsion? To ignore or exclude the blatant phenomena of tragedy, trauma and suffering is--in my view--a negative approach to life. Without the suffocating liquification process of the chrysalis, the worm remains a mere caterpillar.

     Over time--as we journey through this world/school--we encounter and experience many other patterns of consciousness through relationships with individual people, socio-political situations, geography, challenging ideas, various emotions, dreams, fantasies, material objects and circumstances that bring each of us ecstasy and grief---countless experiences. 

     It is through these variegated ups and downs that we delightfully little ignorant soul-sparks (gray worms) gradually become more colorful and conscious. And as I acquire color and consciousness through these archetypal interactions, I am able to engage this didactic soul-making process consciously and intentionally. I cease to be a victim of a world out to get me. I become more aware of a larger archetypal reality, more self-reflective, more creative and more compassionate toward others. The divinely selfish little brat that I am may actually transform through my myriad joys and pains, especially the pains.

     It is in my current life process then that makes me conscious and uniquely colorful. This is God growing from worm to butterfly, and it is happening in each one of us--each of us becoming a unique image of God that has never been before----part dragonfly and part butterfly. Or as CS Lewis suggests in Til We Have Faces, "Each of us is 'godding' in order to become 'godlings' (paraphrase). Or as Jesus said after the outraged Jewish political party was trying to impeach him, "We are not stoning you for any good works you might be accomplishing, but for blasphemy, because you, who are a mere human, declare yourself to be God.” Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your scriptures:  ‘I have said you are gods ?' If God called humans gods, then the Scripture cannot be broken..."  (Gospel of John 10:33-35)

Is any of this true? Who knows? I am still mostly a screaming little brat. But I have--in some tiny areas--grown up, I think. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

OUR LADY: 1101 A.D.

In faith, entering Notre Dame,
Our Lady -
a mother kneeling,
in one arm cradling the body
of her dead child,
its ashen skin illumined
by a thousand soldered shards
of colored glass...

She lit an ivory candle
topping the slender taper
with a flash, sobbing,
tears and wax dropping
beneath the Christless cross…

After some time, still weeping,
she rises, releasing the child
from the crook of her arm,
genuflects and leaves
amidst the wistful chants,
looking to the window of Apostles and Saints
lighted by the lens of a moon turning
like a sacred kaleidoscope
by the sovereign hand of chance.


Monday, October 21, 2019


Eros spoke, "May I touch your flesh,
press this dart into your lovely breast?
You will swoon dear one,
my poison must infect your heart
and make you forget the mundane,
those who watch your eyes fall shut
will surely think you quite insane.
This world with all her woes will disappear from sight,
then pure ecstasy, as you slip from your body,
and soar into the calm of the buoyant night."

Teresa whispered in her sleep,
"I have never known a man,
nor will I defile this flesh,
such love will never scorch my soul,
no palm nor lip shall cross my breast;
please take your barb and fly away,
let me wake another day
to love my God and serve my Lord,
murmur my prayers, recite His Words."

Eros held the shaft aloft,
tilted his head and exposed her soul,
"Dear Teresa, do you not understand?
Your God has come disguised as a man,"
and drove his arrow home.

end/Michael Bogar

I Hide in the Stars

Nefertiti, smooth as amber has it all,
honeyed lips, midnight silk for hair,
breasts full as the ample moon.

Each evening she stands, empty hands
longing for the diamonds of the Gods.
She reaches through the diaphanous dark
into the vault of sparkling fire,
fingers piercing dusk.

Desire is the blight of sated eyes
and empty nights. Dispirited by fortune,
the Queen turns up her palm, fingers
beckoning the unclaimed charms
that dangle over an endless Nile.

Beyond her reach, knitted together
on indigo, the stars are called.
Heavenly bursts strewn like glitter,
radiant before her stately hex...
yet each speck remains immobile, unclaimed.

Buxom brown sovereign stirs the aethers,
casts another spell; they always work
on the wills of simple adoring men,
but not on the twinkling stellar gems.

That is why I hide with the stars.

end/Michael Bogar
Published in Between Journal 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2019



One of my favorite songs is by The Doors, titled "Waiting for the Sun". At one point in the song, Jim Morrison woefully mourns:

Waiting for the sun…Waiting for the sun…
Wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing....
Wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing.... wait—ing....
Waiting for you to — come along
Waiting for you to — hear my song
Waiting for you to — come along
Waiting for you to — tell me what went wrong

I am all too often a waiter, unconsciously waiting for the sun—waiting for things to line up, or postponing enjoyment until the good outweighs or eradicates the bad. I am reminded of Woody Allen's role as Alvy Singer—the neurotic romantic—in the movie Annie Hall. There is an interaction between Alvy (Allen) and his ex-girlfriend Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton, at an outdoor restaurant. Annie suggests they go somewhere and have some fun. Alvy gloomily declines. Then comes this dialogue:

Annie Hall: Alvy, you're incapable of enjoying life, you know that? I mean, you're like New York City. You're just this person. You're like this island unto yourself.

Alvy Singer: I can't enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.

I now call this
Alvy Singer Syndrome, or A.S.S.—always waiting for something before I can allow myself to enjoy anything. Like Woody Allen's character, I have often seen the world through the lens of ubiquitous suffering and universal darkness, "If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening."

And lest you think you are exempt, consider this cultures chronic obsession with reading food labels, chronic dieting, Global Warming, political corruption, the latest fashions, wrinkled skin, not having a 'healthy' relationship, recycling and bicycling, the unemployment rate and frequent urination. Now I am all for being conscientious and healthy, however, sometimes I am unconsciously "waiting for the sun to come along," or for someone, or come along before I can experience joy.

After the death of my son in 2008, I entered into an emotional descent that took me a long way from the sun. I found little joy in much of anything. I was in the muted winter of grief. For about eight months everything was viewed through the lens of my boy being shot and dying in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. I have never known such darkness—such waiting for the sun. About eight months after Jason's death, I was walking along a quiet beach on Bainbridge Island, praying, crying and waiting for the sun to return. I glanced up and saw a Heron gliding high above the water. He tilted his wings downward to slow his flight and regally curved across the sky and settled on the bouncing branch of a Douglas Fir. My heart spontaneously swelled with joy at this surprising visitation of Beauty. I then noticed the setting sun radiating a pinkish-orange circlet along the horizon behind the tree. I thought my heart would burst. My joyful experience was suddenly arrested by the thought: "I shouldn't enjoy this, my son has just died." At that same moment, an internal voice whispered: "When the moment of Beauty arrives dad, enjoy it." Jason told me years ago that his favorite animal had always been a Heron.

One of the dangers in all of our waiting—for wholeness, for ideal health, for perfect love or for that profound moment of mystical enlightenment—is that we may be residing more or less in a chronic state of inflated anxiety.
And Jim Morrison sings:

Waiting for you to - come along
Waiting for you to - hear my song
Waiting for you to - come along
Waiting for you to - tell me what went wrong
The soul is made for joy. Open. Watch. Receive. Stop waiting.