by Dr. Fred Wollerman 
with response by Paul Durbin


My hobby is lapidary, and it is of my nature to discover metaphors and "Old Chinese Proverbs" in the natural universe, including bedrock. And I don't know if you have ever seen a geode in its natural form. They are ugly! They look approximately like petrified "Road Apples" (as we called them back in Amish country). However, when a geode is sliced open with a diamond saw, there is unmatched beauty to behold: a slice of agate, usually banded, and perhaps quartz crystal at the center. When these are polished and held to the light they become objects of art and wonder, and they invite meditation.

The geode began long ago, probably before there was time...as we know it. It began a bubble burped up by a volcano. It hardened, and was buried and perhaps rolled around by the forming and transforming earth. At various times silicon-laden solutions seeped in and solidified. Pressures and stresses were brought to bear. Some of the silicon solutions were contaminated with heavy metals and light ones, too; iron, copper, sulfur, magnesium, calcium and others, bringing color and shade.

Gradually the thickening glassy silt crystallized, filling the chamber with lovely agate; rings like tree rings, or flat layers like sediment; and some with infusions of another color as if injected; and many with a lovely inner heart of clear quartz crystal. Each is as unique as snowflakes. Yet, on the outside it remains excremental brown, rough, and odd shaped, as if disguised, in hiding, lying in wait.

Some months ago I went with my youngest son Geoffrey to by a supply of stones at a wholesale dealer. Our purchase included a couple hundred geode agate slices. We had great joy unwrapping them, wiping off the dust and "ooing" and "aahing" with each new discovery, like unwrapping scores of gifts. Later that evening I produced the following open verse poem, which I titled:

"Soul Miners" by Fred Wollerman:

"There is so much beauty in the world

Much of it, like geodes, is hidden, concealed;

waits for humankind to be revealed;

brought to the surface, and to light;

The protective layers and disguises cut away,

The inner beauty made vulnerable to light, to eyes.

That may be our major task:

Not only with the rocks, the geodes,

Those stained glass windows of the natural world;

but also to find hidden beauty in one another,

Bring it to the surface of the conscious world;

Up from the depths of the unconscious:

And yes, expose it, in all its preciousness,

And in all its vulnerability,

To open eyes and hands and hearts;

And, God help us, to our reverence for each other."

CHAPLAIN PAUL G. DURBIN'S RESPONSE: After hearing this story during a seminar at the National Association Clergy Association (now Clergy Special Interest Group/National Guild of Hypnotist) several years ago, I thought the geode is a parable in stone uncut picturing how a lot of people feel about themselves and how others see them. With a little help in therapy, these people can be helped to see the beauty within themselves. As mentioned in my second book, Kissing Frogs: The Practical Uses of Hypnotherapy, therapist are called to be frog kissers and I think we can say that we are also called to open the geode of a person's personality so that they and other can see the beauty that lies with each one of us who will allow it to be seen. In seminars and sermons, I have used the geode to illustrate the beauty within us.