Report from the Masculinity Movies launch

posted by Eivind on June 27, 2009, at 10:14 am

It’s been three weeks since the official launch of Masculinity Movies at Norsk Taiji Senter (Norwegian Taiji Center). Just prior to arriving at the center, which is tucked in nicely between the spectacular new Opera house and the Oslo stock exchange, I picked up Pelle Billing at the train station. Pelle came all the way from Malmö, Sweden to present his important work, for which I’m honored and grateful.

It was a beautiful day and around thirty people were present. We started a little late with Taiji master Pamela Hiley’s introduction. I then presented the background for the tagline and went into some detail about what I see as the primary differences between boys and men. I pulled on some brilliant observations by FIT (Focused Intensity Training) guru Shawn Phillips and some I had jotted down quickly the day before (which I have no illusions of living up to yet). I told those present a little bit about myself and my own personal journey, which always seems to create a nice connection.

Then we went quickly into the five step model  of initiation used by Robert Bly, which looks like this:

  1. Bonding with and separation from mother
  2. Bonding with and separation from father
  3. Apprenticeship to a mentor who reawakens and heals our essence
  4. Apprenticeship to a hurricane energy (a wild man, warrior etc.)
  5. Marriage to the Holy Woman/Queen

This model was a strong and powerful part of the message, as I knew it contained important information for many of those present, including myself. I will write more about this model elsewhere later on.

Staale Nataas gifted us with a funny and dramatic rap about being a man – a man overwhelmed by his woman no less, or was that the Feminine itself. I think many of us could recognize some of his poignant and hilarious images.

Then Pelle revved up his engine and told as about how feminism and masculinity are related.

We ended the first part exploring the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover archetypes with a theoretical investigation and active visualization, one which I will explain later elsewhere.

After the break

In part two, we explored the movies Into the Wild, and the warriors of Patton and The Last Samurai. The latter two movies are part of a series where I’m exploring the Warrior archetype, which is an archetype inherent to the masculine psychoemotional makeup. I feel that we are in dire straits in the world today because mechanized warfare, postmodernism and feminism exorcized this vital archetype from men. An article on the subject will follow later.

Bjarte Hiley gave us a spectacular demonstration of the taiji sword form he was taught in China by a master from the Yang family. I’ve know Bjarte for many years now, and something has shifted in him after he got clear about passionately pursuing taiji, in the footsteps of his mother. He’s much younger than me, but it’s amazing to see how big shifts start happening in the life of a guy once he gets clear on where his life is headed.

Txai Fernando, who has worked with the indiginous people of the Amazon for many years, then gifted us with a powerful chant from the Amazon. Fernando told us that this was a chant that is traditionally reserved only for the men in the Amazon tribes from which it originates, because the women go a little crazy when they hear it. He assured us that this was no mere fantasy, yet considered it safe in the container of the launch. I’m glad he did, as I enjoyed this part a lot.

We continued with a tribal dance that was meant to harmonize the forces of the Masculine and Feminine, which was thoroughly enjoyable, and provoked many smiles and giggles.

Finally, I introduced shaman Tom Crockett as a contributor to the site, and I recommend you all go check out his movie review of the Ghost and the Darkness. I’m very proud to have Tom on board, and looking forward to learning more from him.

What stood out about the evening was that this wasn’t about my own personal journey, but about the efforts of a group of guys, working together for change. As I’ve mentioned earlier on in this blog, I’m really starting to tune in to the concept of brotherhood, and it felt like a strong example of just that (as you will see from the pictures). I was very proud to have these brilliant guys with me and felt significant blessing from being there with them. Many others present expressed similar sentiments, which was very humbling and source for great joy and inspiration.

Thanks to everyone who came, to Pelle, Staale, Bjarte and Fernando for standing with me, and to my good friend Pamela Hiley for suggesting that I put together such a launch in the first place, offering her magnificent center and infinite support in the process.

Also thanks to Kjell Tjensvoll for being the evening’s photographer.