Yesterday we considered one story recounting the price one individual paid for hanging out with a distorted masculinity. Study after study is telling us the same thing. The rise of strongmen and authoritarianism around the world today echoes the reality of Patriarchy run amok.
A recent study found that boys are more likely to act out their depression than girls and so “the early warning signs of depression in boys are often missed, leading to a misdiagnosis as a conduct disorder or attention-deficit disorder.” Young men in the U.S. are committing suicide on an average of three per day – which is five times the rate of women. The authors conclude: “Depression in males of all ages is a public health crisis that must be addressed. To do so, we must redefine healthy masculinity…”
The return of the Sacred Masculine is as important for women as it is for men, not only because women have men in their lives – sons and grandsons, husbands, lovers, fathers, brothers, uncles, coworkers – but also because there is a masculine side to a woman’s soul just as there is a feminine side to the masculine soul. If we are living in a time and culture of a toxic masculine – one that defines masculinity as being number one and always being on top and as reptilian brain aggression – then women as well as men are walking around with toxins in their souls.
Indeed, the first response I had to my book on men was from a woman who wrote: “I have over 200 books on the goddess in my personal library and not a single book on the sacred masculine. And I have two sons! I do not regret my twenty years of incorporating the divine feminine, but you are right. It is time now to pay attention to the sacred masculine. Until I read your book, I had not understood how much men have suffered under patriarchy.”
One of the signs of the healthy masculine is welcoming the goddess and the divine feminine. The converse is also true: Healthy women welcome the healthy masculine in themselves and others.
A second response to the book that meant a lot to me came from a Native American man who worked in prison for twelve years. he said to me, “It is very difficult to get men in prison to look at themselves- they are always projecting onto others. Yours is the first book I have ever used that got them to look and find the nobility inside.” That is what we mean by “original blessing,” isn’t it?
How do men (and women) recover “the nobility inside?” We will explore this in subsequent meditations.
Drawn from Confessions by Matthew Fox, pp. 418 and 419
Queries for Contemplation
In prayerful meditation, sit with the following questions and invite Spirit to guide your thoughts…
- What have been your experiences of healthy versus toxic masculinity?
- What has been your experience of “the nobility inside?”
- What calls that nobility forth in you?
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.