Lars: Well, Bianca can help you. She's got nurse's training. Gus: No she doesn't. That's because she's a plastic...thing. Lars: That's amazing. Did you hear that? Bianca said God made her to help people.
I want to share this video with you featuring Joseph Campbell speaking on initiation in tribal cultures.
It moved me to notice Joseph's voice crack in an obvious display of emotion around 1:30. He describes the ritual in which a boy gets to defeat the larger-than-life personifications of a malevolent god. The god is really a man of the tribe, and he lets the boy win on purpose. He then takes off his mask and puts it on the boy. All of a sudden, the power which the boy has grown up fearing is his to wield. He has slain the dragon and taken its skin. He can do anything now. Protect the tribe in turn.
Joseph's emotion resonates deeply with me because it reminds me of the beauty and importance of what is going on here. Every time I hear of initiation rites like these, I feel pangs in my heart and a yearning for what never was. Thankfully, it feels different now, having done trainings with the Mankind Project and others.
A reader ("Stephen") contacted me with the request to promote this text on my blog. And as it's about a worthy cause for men and their empowerment, I'm happy to accept.
Last summer I spent a powerful few days at a men's 'rites of passage' event in Scotland. This was quietly recommended to me by a friend-of-a-friend, and I was immediately drawn to the talk of drumming, fire and wilderness; and of male rites that would push me out of my comfort zone and into closer contact with the real man hidden inside me.
In today's western culture where do we get the teaching and encouragement in what it means to be a man....from our emotionally-absent fathers? from lager-swilling macho pub culture? from 'metrosexual' hair-gel adverts? from a philosophy of getting more money, sex and power?
Where do we learn that a man is strong, compassionate, kind, creative, authentic, honourable, protective, brave and loving?
The event was a real 'initiation' for me and has been the start of an invaluable journey.
You can read more about this year's event at www.mrop.org.uk (13th-17th June 2012)
I actually don't know these guys. I'm interested in learning more. If you have already done the New Warrior Training adventure, this looks like a place to go for additional soul food.
When I wrote my Braveheart-review more than a year ago, I made a video featuring scenes I found important from William Wallace's early childhood. For some reason, Youtube wouldn't let me post it so I shrugged it off and forgot about it.
A couple of days back, I stumbled upon the video project on my harddrive again and figured I'd give it another go. So I edited it slightly and posted it to Vimeo. Enjoy!
Last weekend, I wrote my review of V for Vendetta. I take my writing process very seriously so I did a significant bit of research about the historical background for the Gunpowder Plot, the historical event from which the movie takes its inspiration. This brief post features some historical background and some reflections towards the end.
In 1605, a group of Catholic zealots led by Robert Catesby had grown weary of being prosecuted in Protestant England. They planned to stage a coup by blowing up the House of Lords at the state opening of the Parliament, at which point everybody who was somebody in England was gathered in the same room. The plot failed because Catholic nobleman Lord Monteagle received an anonymous warning letter, outlining what was about to happen.
This letter reached King James I and on the morning of November 5, 1605, mere hours before the House of Lords would convene, Guy Fawkes was caught. He was found waiting with 36 barrels of gunpowder in the vault that had recently been vacated directly under the House. Thus began a long tradition for the English, in which on every November 5 the capture of Guy and the continued rule of King James I is celebrated.
But in doing research on Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, I become confused about how he is actually perceived. “Guy Fawkes – the only man to ever enter the House of Parliaments with honest intentions” is a tongue in cheek statement that I’ve come across several times. And myriad people describe him as their hero. I suspect they do so less from resonance with his Catholic cause and more from resonance with his willingness to fight the power.
In the movie review, I go into the abdication syndrome, an archetypal dynamic in which people’s “inner throne” gets inhabited by outside forces. A person suffering from this basically surrenders control of his life to another. I observe that many people today have surrendered their throne, refraining from the undeniable stress of accepting full responsibility for their lives. The consequence is that they become vulnerable to the influence of demagogues and propagandists, be they politicians, ideologues, economists or cynical marketers. Maybe instead of truly taking charge of their life, they would rather sit back and criticize their puppet masters for doing a bad job. Are these the people who idolize Guy? Does thinking about him offer a temporary reprieve of some sort?
And I wonder what true feelings are hidden in the English ritual of celebrating November 5. Is it merely tradition? Or is it genuine pride for the Crown and country? No matter – the fact that many English celebrate and others name Guy Fawkes as their hero indicates that the polarization which is such a central theme in V for Vendetta may also be taking place here.
What are your thoughts on this? Is Guy Fawkes a hero or a villain?