Where Hides the Spirituality of Men
Where Hides the Spirituality of Men?
It used to be, when I felt
like crying, I'd get angry instead. During the discussion of the aftermath of
the devastation I had created by my anger, I would learn that I had actually
been sad, lonely, or hurt, and wished I had realized that earlier. It took me
many years to recognize the anger signal, to look within, and to discover my
have changed, and the image and expectation of "manhood" has evolved. Thanks to
the poet Robert Bly, and his book
Iron John: A Book About Men (Da
Capo Press), we've drummed our way past the "soft male" stage of transition. We
are now cultivating the balanced male, who can integrate both hard and soft.
What a journey!
of balancing the soft and hard dimensions of maleness requires an understanding
of spirituality and how it manifests in the Yangness of creation. Robert Moore
and David Gillette, in their book
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature
Masculine (HarperOne) made some progress with that question, bringing to
our attention important mythologies regarding men and their archetypal roles in
life. As important as those myths have been to men, to have only four to choose
from may seem a bit limiting. Today, Matthew Fox, the ex-Catholic priest who
developed "Creation Spirituality," has added to our understanding with an
expanded inventory of natural male archetypes. His new book,
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
(New World Library), offers us a little deeper look into nature
itself to find the spirit of the male.
defines spirituality as "giving life one's all." He sees that many men are
actively engaged spiritually, whether they realize it or not, yet the spiritual
dimension remains hidden. He lists numerous reasons for this predicament, and
points to several repercussions, such as the higher rate of adolescent suicides
among boys and their much lower rate of graduating from high school. By pointing
to several archetypes of male spirituality, he hopes to bring this essential
reality out into the open in a way that might enable and inspire men to claim
their birthright. He believes we need that connection in order to confront the
many challenges that face the planet today.
you some idea of his approach, I'll list the ten metaphors that he discusses: 1)
"Father Sky: The Cosmos Lives!" 2) The Green Man 3) Icarus and Daedalus 4)
Hunter-Gatherers 5) Spiritual Warriors 6) Masculine Sexuality, Numinous
Sexuality 7) Our Cosmic and Animal Bodies 8) The Blue Man 9) Earth Fathers: The
Fatherly Heart 10) Grandfather Sky: The Grandfatherly Heart. Fox points out that
these gender metaphors from nature apply not just to men, but to humans, male
and female. He sees these as ways humans can connect to the Yang energy within
themselves. He believes we all, male and female alike, need to relate to both
the gods and goddesses within to achieve the integration and balance required to
move into a healthy future.
find interesting is that Fox derives his metaphors largely from nature itself
and our relationship to that reality. To take the most obvious example, the
Green Man is the symbol of our oneness with nature. To find the Green Man within
us is to discover the unity between our own nature and the greenery around us.
For myself, to use an example, I've discovered that I can "connect" with a plant
and find in my own spontaneous imagery information that is congruent with the
actualities of the plant. This discovery tells me that somehow my
imagination--such an intimate part of me--is actually an aspect of nature
itself. The Green Man is about wisdom, rather than knowledge. Fox points out the
evident wisdom of plant life, for they developed photosynthesis and learned "how
to eat the sun!"
life is the result of the marriage of Father Sky and Mother Earth, Fox reminds
us. He uses that fact to show how the true male archetypes contain both yin and
yang qualities. His interest is in developing the spiritual male qualities in us
so that we can marry them to the spiritual female qualities. He believes that
the spiritual feminine has gained a greater foothold in our consciousness, and
awaits a worthy consciousness of male spirituality so that the sacred marriage
can take place. Thus his book is not just for men, but it is men who carry the
greater responsibility to take the time and have the courage to make manifest
this needed "other half" of the spirituality that is growing within us today.
order the Hidden Spirituality of Men from Amazon.com, click here!