“In the last few decades we have started to see a re-awakening of our awareness of the Sacred Masculine. This consciousness is not confined to men - although men are the group in our society who are often out-of-touch with their spiritual essence. In the same way that both men and women have a feminine aspect to their conscious make-up, so too do both genders have a masculine aspect.
For over two thousand years many cultures have ascribed or assigned the male gender to their gods. The Divine is most often referred to as ‘He’. We have become accustomed to thinking of God as male. Yet the Divine Feminine has also had a strong presence throughout history. The Goddess takes many forms and names: Isis, Diana, Gaia, Yin, Hecate, Brigid, Venus, Moon, … to name just a few.
This introduction to the Sacred Masculine explores some of the ways in which male spirituality is now being understood and experienced. In a recent book on the subject, Matthew Fox asserts: “When the Sacred Masculine is combined with the sacred feminine inside each of us, we create the ‘sacred marriage’ of compassion and passion in ourselves.”
The Sacred Masculine is most often presented through archetypes, metaphors and images. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette were pioneers of the modern-day men’s movement. They identified four classic archetypes of the man in touch with his sacred self, that they named King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.
~The King archetype is the fully conscious male commanding leadership with respect. He is associated with authority, order, law and direction. He has two shadow 'wings’ identified as the Tyrant and the Weakling. The immature boy version of the King is the Divine Child that can also be a child-tyrant or a weakling. ~The Warrior archetype is the holy campaigner or activist. He has courage, persistence and devotion. He has two shadow aspects of the Sadist and the Masochist. His immature boy version is the Hero, that can descend into the bully or the coward. ~The Magician archetype is full of consciousness, growth and transformation, often associated with our 'third eye’ of insight and intuition. His shadow side can be exposed as the Manipulator or the denying Innocent. His immature boy version is the Prococious Child, that can descend into the trickster or the dummy. ~The Lover archetype is sensual and delightful, appreciating goodness, truth and beauty. His shadow sides include the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover. His immature boy self is the Oedipal Child, that can descend into mama’s boy or the dreamer.
These archetypes are offered as the classic expressions of male figures of sacred spirituality. In traditional cultures, all four archetypes were found, and all four are needed for balance within the healthy community. Increasingly, our present-day communities are dominated by men demonstrating the unhealthy shadow sides of these archetypes. It is interesting to review a book/film such as Lord of the Rings to see just how these archetypes play out in such clear roles. Eventually Strider / Aragorn emerges into his true manhood as the fully conscious King of the third book. What we lack today are real, true King figures. How many can you name that exhibit the characteristics of the healthy, conscious, self-aware King that includes aspects of at least one or two other archetypes? Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Martin Luther King come to mind … but then we start to struggle.
Another pioneer advocate of male spirituality is Fr. Richard Rohr. He argues that one of the main reasons why male spirituality has become lost is that we no longer initiate adolescent males into the adult world; the traditional rights-of-passage for manhood have been abandoned and without this teaching and mentoring, young men have lost touch with their role and their function. Rohr charts the male spiritual journey in two halves. The first stage of ascent occupies the first 40 years of life and involves making and keeping promises to grow. Most of this time is spend in the Heroic Journey involving idealism, power, potential, love, responsibility, self-control and sacrifice. This leads to Self-Identity - an awareness of personal boundaries and an eventual willingness to let go of the self. This progression depends on satisfactory male initiation as the boy enters manhood. Without such initiation, the Angry Young Man never gets to experience his own power or goodness satisfactorily, starts to act out negatively, and becomes the Young Fool. The second stage of descent starts somewhere between ages 35 and 50 where the conscious man “needs to rest in God’s promises and model the wholeness/holiness for others”. Some men don’t develop from Self-Identity and just become the Old Fool. Others do continue to develop and face the Crisis of Limitation (the mid-life crisis) sensing a loss of inner meaning and potential failure arising from their own limitations and paradoxes. The heroic virtues don’t work anymore, and humility, honesty and a surrender to God’s control start to emerge. Some men become Embittered: they confront these challenges but without reaching enlightenment or acceptance. Others enter the Wisdom Journey, letting go of their old form with spiritual guidance, surrender, patience and acceptance; the time of sacrifice is replaced by mercy. The end of the Wisdom Journey is reached by the Holy Fool - the mellow grandfather able to live with paradox who returns to simplicity and humanity.
I strongly recommend the Men’s Rites of Passage, created by Richard Rohr and others, if you would like to explore this journey further Most recently, in 2008, Matthew Fox has created a wonderful exploration and synthesis of sacred masculinity. He too argues that male spirituality has become hidden and unacknowledged through fear and disconnection. He seeks to reconnect us with ten powerful metaphors for the sacred male: -Father Sky - the cosmic view of father above and mother (earth) below. -The Green Man - the original eco-man of oneness with nature represented in so many images
-Icarus and Daedalus - the classic father/son relationship engaged in creativity and invention as well as rebellion and flight -Hunter-Gatherers - the traditional male role of providing that requires ritual, intelligence and creativity -Spiritual Warriors - the community leaders both ancient and modern providing guidance -Masculine Sexuality and Numinous Sexuality - human diversity as seen through the variety of sexual expression and the cosmic wonders of DNA -Our Cosmic and Animal Bodies - rediscovering the amazing human body with its energy centres and amazing capacity for evolution and reproduction -The Blue Man - the 'blue light’ in everyman’s heart and our awareness of expanding consciousness -Earth Father - the role and value of the paternal heart and how we use it -Grandfather Sky - the grandfatherly heart and the contribution which this wisdom can make, including our understanding of death.
This is a truly profound exploration of how reconnecting with our Sacred Masculine can help us all to grow in awareness and spiritual consciousness as human beings.
Some questions for reflection: Which men (living, historical, fictional) present 'models’ to you of the good / competent / respected man? Which are the various archetypes outlined in this article resonate with you? How might you develop aspects of some of the other archetypes in your life? How might aspects of the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine come together in you, irrespective of your gender or sexuality?“
At the first kiss I felt Something melt inside me That hurt in an exquisite way All my longings, all my dreams and sweet anguish, All the secrets that slept deep within me came awake, Everything was transformed and enchanted And made sense. ~ Hermann Hesse
“I want you. I want your sleepy confused look when you wake up. I want to be the warmth that fills the space in your bed. I want to be the sheets your fingers crave at night; the blanket that wraps around you all night. I want to drink tea with you, share some records we find. I want to talk about everything in the world newspapers. I want to discuss with you, to be stubborn and quick-witted with you. I want to have differences between us. I want your flaws. All of them. I want to go into the deepest corners of your mind and never get bored of you. I want to be surprised by the new all the time. I want to look at you like a movie, a living piece of art; always trying to chase what you crave … and capture you.” ~ Elay Neal Moses
in our consumer cultures it is an act of rebelliousness to cultivate a sense of contentment with what we have. to pause and question ourselves what we really need, which emotional, psychological and social needs we try to satisfy with wanting more things.
free yourself from the tyranny of greed and cosumerism, practice gratitude for what you have and trust the universe to take care of your needs when you live in alignment with your intuition and its guidance!
in the beginning its truly challenging to trust the universe to take care of us in a benevolent and loving way. our mind keeps bullyingly will insist that we have to plan the hows, know the whys, etc.
but when we eventually surrender to the universe and let go of our need for or better addiction to control, we get out of the way and allow the universe to give us what we need in surprising yet always perfect ways. sometimes we might not like it right away because it manifests in ways we didn’t ask for or which feel painful - but eventually it figures how everything worked in our favor and highest best.
as i am experiencing the generous gifts of the universe after a time of not-knowing yet trusting the universe to take care of my needs i want to encourage you to deepen your trust in the universe.
firmly believing in the unseen while showing up every day to be the best version of you, sharing your gifts, helping others where you can, loving more and spreading joy!
i never understood my mothers ability to forgive and to relate with kindness with those beloved to her who betrayed her deeply, when all i would have wanted was to rip their heads off. only yesterday did i come to fully understand her - from deep within my heart, emotions and up to my mind i experienced and knew how this arises naturally within us. not as a token forgiving we do in order to be rewarded by life or be a good person, but as a true forgiving that arises from the core of your being. forgiving the ones who thoughtlessly, unempathetically rip your heart out and tear it to bits… its something that happens when you fully accept things as they are without blaming anyone. you realize they did what felt right to them and had no intent of hurting you, you on the other hand chose to feel hurt and hold on to the pain to fulfill some beliefs you attained in your childhood. beliefs of your being undeserving of love, of your unworthiness, of your unlovableness, of deserving punishment for being alive, for being who you are, for not being what they wanted you to be, etc. … consciousness and acceptance allow us to pierce through the veil of the illusion and see the patterns of the matrix we chose to embody and live. knowing, understanding allows us to free ourselves from repeating the cycles of our lives, our ancestors or karma. we can step away from them by accepting, forgiving them and ourselves and deciding to move towards happiness by being love. forgiveness, when it arises from within and is not a figment of our minds or spiritualized egos, is the doorway to freedom from unconscious repetition and the cycle of pain towards more love and compassion for self and others.
may we keep finding our path to forgiveness, freedom, ease and peace! 🙏
image: A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando kneeling before Kim Hunter