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Review of “The Hidden Spirituality of Men” Part 2

May 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m in the middle of reading and reviewing Matthew Fox’s book on Men and Spirituality; the subtitle is Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. In this second installment I’ll look at the  two metaphors, or archetypes, Fox covers in Chapters 3 and 4: “Icarus and Daedalus” and “Hunter-Gatherers.”

I enjoyed Chapter 3 because Fox gets into the stories describing the archetypes which makes the reading much more enjoyable. In addition to the Icarus/Daedalus duo Fox includes the stories of Phaëthon and La Traviata to illustrate his points. The main topic of this chapter is Father/Son relationships and how communications between generations, especially Father/Son communications can go so horribly wrong.  The range of mis-communications here is from not heeding a father’s warnings, to the absentee and then over-indulgent father, to the father who interferes with a son’s love-relationship. These issues are good representations of Father/Son issues. Yet, while the stories are good reminders of “how not to behave” I felt a bit abandoned with the problems at the end of the chapter without a lot of support for “how to be in right relationship” (as in my case) with sons. His only advice at the very end of the chapter is: “[Both] need to remain open and receptive to each other, unafraid to fly and unafraid to learn.” Hmmm…a pretty simplistic and shallow recipe for improved Father/Son relationships.

And why is this important? Much of the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement rests on a core teaching that the world is screwed up by men because they have not had good fathering. Robert Bly’s major thesis revolves around the Father/Son relationship and how we must address and heal that relationship for any real progress to be made either sociologically or spiritually. Now I will reserve final judgment on this chapter until I’ve finished Fox’s last two metaphors, Earth Father and Grandfather Sky. The danger of reviewing as I read is I don’t yet have a full comprehension of Fox’s analysis.

Chapter 4 is an interesting, if rather long and sometimes a bit of a stretch, exploration of the Hunter-Gatherer archetype.  Fox meanders through an homage to hunter-gatherers as intelligent, living in a paradise rich in fruit and game, with little time devoted to the pursuit of food and much time left over for arts, ritual, celebration of spirit and life. Oh, and he does reference the potential for violence in this idyllic wilderness living. And ultimately he comes close to that trap I mentioned on Monday of calling on the warrior archetype as the “Hunters for Justice: Spiritual Warriors.” The stretch I refer to is when he begins to apply the Hunter-Gatherer metaphor to modern life. And the limb he goes out on the furthest is when he attempts to apply the metaphor to our cars! He asks: “Is there a nostalgic connection between cars and our ancient  hunter-gatherer souls?” Well, for me the answer is, “no” my car is just a means for getting me from place to place; and my feet would work OK if I didn’t have the distances to deal with!

I think the point Mr. Fox is trying to make is the Hunter-Gatherer archetype is still a motivator at our core. Some men love to hunt, fish, compete in sports, maintain physical fitness, drive fast cars, provide well for their family, and still have time for ritual, spiritual exploration and fulfillment, and creative pursuits. And yes, some men still have an urge to violence, especially when provoked. It is good to explore this archetype within us, whether we have buried it beneath a veneer of “civilization” or whether we wear it on the surface of our macho, fit physiques. How does the archetype motivate us and how do we control it? Most importantly how can we get in touch with the soul of this archetype who cares for nature and learns to find harmony in all things natural without destroying that which sustains us and loves us?

And speaking of the “Spiritual Warrior”  archetype…that’s his next chapter. I hope he avoids the trap I’m concerned about. I’ll let you know on Monday how successful he is!

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Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards: Sulis and White Lamb Woman

May 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I love these oracle card days; I get so much information from the cards which are always telling me what I need to hear. I hope they are useful for you as well. My intention when I draw them is to seek and offer sound advice for the days going forward.

Today I thought about Thursday being the “new Friday” as the weekend approaches; and both cards I drew are about renewal! And as we are still in a Mercury retrograde period, until May 11 it is a great time to rest and relax. My good friend and astrologer, Chris Largent, has this to say about this time: “If we all hang in there until Tuesday at about 6:30 pm (actually 6:27 pm EDT), the Mercury retrograde will be over.  So, let’s try not to react too much (and stay away from people who trigger us), AND let’s also get plenty of rest and play (in the ancient world, cultures often just took these times off – what an idea, eh?).  And please keep in mind that this is a good time for reflection and contemplation.  So, if we slow things down as often as we can – if only for a few minutes – and treat ourselves to something relaxing, this could be a rewarding time (astrologers have to say things like that in times that are a pain in the neck).”

Sulis, a “Celtic Sun Goddess who oversees bodies of water associated with healing”, says: “Spend time near bodies of water, such as a lake, river, or the ocean, to recharge your batteries.” Water is both a purifying agent and the element that holds our emotions. Dr. Doreen Virtue writes: “Water can wash away sadness, pain, and the ill effects of  suffering. Engage in purification rituals involving water more often, and you’ll experience an uplifting in your spirit and outlook.”

Grandmother White Lamb Woman is of the Lodge of Dirctions North. She says: “I was born from White Fire with wisdom, grace and abundance. I offer clarity so your spirit may be restored and renewed.” She is a beauty with smooth, unblemished features and dressed in a lovely robe of white angora wool and a headdress of white and black striped feathers. To gaze on her countenance is to feel the relaxation and peace of restoration.

As the weekend approaches consider taking time to relax and rejuvenate. If you are near water take time, even a few moments, to meditate and let go of any disturbing emotions – let the water wash them away. Or soak in a tub and purify both body and spirit as Sulis and White Lamb Woman sooth away any stress or pain. And while Mercury is retrograde do this as often and as much as you can!