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.
When I did my New Warrior Training adventure, I met Jason Schroeder, a South African of shamanistic bent living in Scotland. He has started a gathering of men there which goes by the name of "Suns of MAC". They have made a video that shows what you might expect in a men's group. I love it and find it an inspiring glance into the relational space that opens when men dare be authentic with one another. Have a look:
If this is a time to start a men's group, check out Brett Churnin's Men's Group.info.
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.