The Path of the Male Pagan - Men in Balance
Information is compiled by GraceWatcher Ministries
It is certain that there is no 'one true way', but I think that a lot can be said for sustainable life-affirming paths, just as a lot can be said against destructive or sheep-mentality paths. Although I personally believe that all have their place, even if it isn't a big one. To me, a male pagan respects balance in all things, especially in themselves.
Physical strength and disposition to sacrifice all for the sake of success make it easy for men to be unbalanced internally, disregarding spirit and integrity, which is a trap to be avoided. As too the other traps: extreme pride, extreme greed, extreme anything really.
A male pagan seeks balance in community. Recognizing that in trusting and being trustworthy each person is able to more safely and thoroughly pursue their paths and this strengthens the community. (Too often the male dream is of independence and standing tall proud and alone, which can often become a weaknesses if there is something you can't handle alone and you are too proud to ask for help.)
Where possible, people should learn general skills to be able to stand alone (although specialize in their area of interest or greatest skill), but also be able to integrate as part of a strong community (which is built with trust, integrity and a common goal). I believe that the goal is important, because where there are people living together, there will be differences in perspective/attitude/ideals --- which may be easier resolved if they are working towards a common goal.
In regards to being able to stand alone, you may not be a warrior, and be happy to leave that path to those that chose it, relying on them to protect you. But if you found yourself in a position where they couldn't help you and a little skill in this area was needed, then that may make all the difference. To me, it is basic survival to be able to stand tall and proud and alone, and be able to take these skill back into your community for mutual support and survival.
It is easy from a position of physical and intellectual strength to attempt to dominate the living world - a self deception because we bring ourselves down with it. It has happened many times in the past - with natural disasters, plagues, famine, war, ecosystem imbalance (which is happening more often these days and can cause huge damage to the natural environment which is often our source of food). There is a kids game which you can buy in the shops. First of all, you built a tower with rod-like blocks, then each person removes one rod.... you get the picture? Some of this is happening in the natural world mainly due to human activity and impact. How many small ecosystem collapses do we need before a major one tumbles down?
One thing that my partner pointed out to me recently, is that there is a large positive place for the warrior in our society - fighting injustice, fighting oppression, fighting environmental damage. Even just standing up and voicing your opinion in the presence of hostile opposition is a warrior trait. Long live these warriors !
It is easy to belittle the past and ignore the future, and it easy to get caught up in the endless abstract goal and ignore the realities of living cycles of life. Goals are important, but often there are other goals being achieved - not always at the human level. Sometimes they affect your goals - but that's life.
A male pagan accepts that there is a spiritual --secularized as a significant or meaningful-- relationship to be had with the natural world. It is not merely a service to us, we may experience it as animated, or use that notion metaphorically. (This sets us apart from the materialist society and shapes many of our practices - although there is a big difference, in my opinion, between believing something as a concept, and doing.)
A male pagan understands that maleness is complemented by femaleness. We seek to understand these energies as they are present in others and ourselves to greater and lesser extents at different times.
First are we all co-inhabitants of this planet: red, yellow, black or
white peoples, and tribal cultures; only then are we distinguished as Man or
Woman. References of relationship must begin with knowing whom we are before we
can begin to accurately perceive our relationship with others. And this
awareness of our point of reference is something that only we, individually, can
determine. When we, as Men, adopt the perspectives of another, be it a culture
or gender, we lose the autonomy of self-determination. And in order to be
effective and harmonious with all beings of this planet, in order to bring value
from our lives into the world, we must know where we stand.
Masculine and feminine are two terms that are very often confused with being synonymous with male and female. The masculine principle is commonly held to be that of the out-going, creative, active and motivational expression. Its spiritual nature is aligned with pure Spirit, knowledge and the perceiving function. The masculine principle, in relationship to life, family and community, is one of dedication. The feminine principle is that of introspection, magnetizing, receptivity and nurturing. Spiritually the essence of the feminine is the embodiment of life force. It is intuitive and of the feeling function. The keynote of the feminine expression relative to the sacredness of life force which it caretakes is that of surrender.
We each, Man and Woman alike, have a masculine principle and a feminine principle within our Souls. As Men we are masculine in embodiment. Therefore we, as Men, are comprised of two-thirds masculine and one third feminine, just as Woman is two-thirds feminine and one-third masculine.
When we Men seek to 'run our energy' at an equal balance of masculine and feminine, following the conventional wisdom of our contemporary culture, there is a sacrifice made, to a corresponding degree, of our masculinity. This denial of our own innate and natural balance in order to satisfy the expective demands of the culture results in a severe dysfunction in our lives, individually and culturally, akin to the degree of imbalance that resulted from a previous era's insistence on the subjugation of the feminine principle in a Man's life.
In a masculine-dominant culturally referenced mode of being we Men lost touch with the feeling function, having neither sense of compassion norespect for life. As we have slowly shifted into a feminine-dominant cultural modality in the last 40 years (at least in the 'conscious community') Men have become reticent to acknowledge their own innate masculine expressions. The consequence of this sacrifice of the masculine, in order to meet the 50/50 masculine/feminine balance of our life force, is that Men, in particular Men involved in the consciousness movement, have now lost touch with a true experience of being male. Specifically, this shows up in a Man's life as an inability to assess a situation, discern the inherent truth in that circumstance, make a choice based upon discernment and commit his life in that choice. Simply put, these Men have become incapable of commitment!
In an attempt to meet the demands to be 'more feeling', rather than integrating the feeling capacity, Men traded in the masculine component of knowledge to make room for feeling. By knowledge I mean 'the knowingness of Spirit revealed'. This trade-off has confused Men by leaving them searching for self-reference in a framework that is not native to Man, i.e. emotional sensitivity in the manner of Woman. By trading-off knowledge for feeling many Men have lost touch with their own spirituality, or even the drive towards spiritual awakening. The model of spiritual growth that has been offered, presented by Women who had come into their own awakening, is through feeling/intuition. This Path is not necessarily one that works for Men. The spiritual quest of many Men in balance requires a path that is active, creative and knowledge oriented. He must know that his dedication in spiritual practices enables him to provide something of value, tangibly, to his family, community and the land. The spiritual offerings of the day, being heavily weighted in the feeling/intuition mode, leave many Men with no place to connect. As a result the attendance at spiritual workshops and events has a noticeable non-presence of Men. A typical proportion is two-thirds Women and one-third Men. This is the exact proportion of feminine/masculine relationship within a Woman!
The Warrior and the Man of Wisdom
There are two archetypal expressions of the masculine that are potently relevant to the rebalancing of Men. One is that of the Warrior, the other the Man of Wisdom. The first, the Warrior, is a precursor to the second, the Man of Wisdom, which is itself the outgrowth of the development of the first.
The Warrior is one who is honor bound to protect that and those which are inherently worthy of honor: Love, life, family and the land. A Warrior will do whatever it takes to protect these ones, even if it means the greatest of personal sacrifices. Do not confuse the Warrior with the Soldier or Mercenary. A Soldier is one who mindlessly follows the orders of a dominator hierarchy. A Mercenary is one who has corralled the talents of the Warrior and sells them off, as a commodity, to the highest bidder. The Soldier may be in the military or the 'Yes Man' of the corporate arena. A Mercenary may be a sniper in a foreign country's employ or a corporate exec who will stop at nothing to attain high position. A Warrior operates with dignity and a reverence for life. The immediate field of operations where a Warrior exerts his attention is within his own Soul. Finding therein beliefs and attitudes, assumptions and prejudices that inhibit the free expression of love and honor for life, his own and that of his family and environs, he sets his commitment to the elimination and transformation of those debilitations. The Warrior's greatest weapon is compassion. One who acts from other than compassionate love, i.e. hatred, vengeance or retribution, is no more than a Soldier/Mercenary, duty bound to defend positions and possessions. A Warrior meets his issues head-on, with courage and faith, and is willing to sacrifice these long-held emotionally invested conflicts for the greater good of himself and his family.
The Man of Wisdom usually awakens within a Man about the age of 52 (as recognized by Earth-based cultures worldwide). The work of the Warrior, earnestly engaged, has brought the Man to a place of self-acceptance. The issues that so acutely drew the attention of the younger Man now have been resolved, or at least forgiven. No longer do the questions of the youth have such preponderance of value as once they did. But neither does a Man of Wisdom dismiss that the younger people still have a right to these questions, and the knowing of their answers, and so endeavors to be of assistance to them, to assess the significance of behaviors, dreams, and choices that may arise in the lives of the Warrior and amongst the People, helping them to find understanding and comfort. The Man of Wisdom reflects upon his life, distills the essence of his experiences and offers something of value back into his community.
It has come time for Men to be willing to claim their dignity as Warriors, and earn their rightful place as Men of Wisdom, amongst the People. Men, go forth, seek a Path that avails dignity of the masculine and honor of the feminine. Find, if you can, the answers to those burning questions and needs of the Man. And when you have found what you are able, turn to the succeeding generations and tell the story of your Journey, your Quest for truth and understanding, that others may benefit from your sacrifices and fulfillments. Go, in blessed courage, go.