bell hooks, Champion of the Sacred Masculine & Divine Feminine

Two days ago, bell hooks, a powerful voice for years of intelligent inquiry, the search for truth and wisdom, justice, creativity and beauty, died.  She was a veritable hunter-gatherer for what matters. 

Amna Nawaz memorializes bell hooks and her enormous legacy. Video by PBS NewsHour

Now she is an ancestor along with Malidoma Somé and Robert Bly and others we have been invoking in our journey to gather medicine for our very troubled times. 

In my book on Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, I invoke hooks’ powerful—and surprising—announcement that

the poorest of the poor are thinking about aesthetics.  On the terrain of culture, one can participate in critical dialogue with the uneducated poor, the black underclass who are thinking about aesthetics. 

She finds hope and energy in the possibility of engaging different classes and ethnic groups around aesthetics. 

It’s exciting to think, write, talk about and create art that reflects passionate engagement with popular culture, because this may very well be ‘the’ central future location of resistance struggle, a meeting place where new and radical happenings can occur.

Charlie Rose interviews bell hooks on her views about white supremacism, racism, and patriarchy, and her book Killing Rage: Ending Racism, 10/24/1995. Excerpt posted by Manufacturing Intellect.

hooks underscores the important role that imagination plays in the work of transformation.  The prophets before her knew and practiced this same truth also.

In her book, all about love: New Visions, hooks takes up the topic of maleness and refers to books like John Stoltenber’s, The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience and to Victor Seidler’s “important work,” Rediscovering Masculinity.  She observes that men must learn to lie from an early age in order to succeed in the system of Patriarchy.  

Clearly, bell hooks is an ally in an effort to detoxify our understanding of masculinity.  All women ought to be because women as well as men can be walking around carrying a toxic as opposed to healthy masculinity.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, pp. 8f, 82f. 

And Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: bell hooks in 1988 | Montikamoss/Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Did you know the work of bell hooks?  How did it inspire and challenge and heal and transform you?  How can it do so for others eager to build a more beloved community?

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

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.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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7 thoughts on “bell hooks, Champion of the Sacred Masculine & Divine Feminine”

  1. Avatar

    There were a few things that deeply spoke to me in today’s DM, from both Mathew and bell’s words shared. One, is the importance of self-inquirey, self-examination and self-inventory; with regards to humanities investment in the false sense of self, which has been deeply influenced and affected by patriarchy and hierarchy that is obsessed with power and domination.

    Secondly, I realized how the masculine violence against the feminine that’s been playing itself out for literally centuries has deeply influenced and affected women’s relationships with their own masculine and feminine aspects of self, and their relationships with other women.

    Thirdly, women too, need to do some serious, intelligent self-examination,
    self-inquirey and self-inventory regarding their own inner relationships with the masculine and feminine aspects within themselves, in order to heal not only the self-inflicted violence and domination of this imbalance with themselves, but also the effects of this within their relationships with other women.

    Fourthly, there is alot of inner violence and inner domination of the unhealthy masculine towards the feminine going on within women themselves, which oppresses and suppresses the true image of beauty, goodness and love between these two aspects of self, within our relationship to self, which is in need of deep healing on a soul level, which is neccessary for women to do, in order to reclaim this balance of oneness and wholeness within oneself. It’s time to stop blaming external forces and circumstances and to take responsibility for oneself and do the self-healing work that needs to be done. We have more than enough spiritual knowledge and wisdom to do this.

  2. Avatar

    Matthew, bell hooks, and other enlightened authors/social justice workers have helped us realize that toxic masculinity has contributed greatly to destructive patriarchal societies/cultures/institutions throughout human history up to the present time in our personal and societal problems and lives around the world. It persists even in our psyches as men and women negatively affecting our interpersonal relations and even our personal spiritual journeys. This is why it’s so important that we have a healthy Faith in God’s Spirit of Love~Light(Truth/Wisdom)~Life(Peace/Justice) on our inner-outer spiritual journeys with others towards Divine inner transformation, which leads ultimately to social transformation of our Beloved Community and our continued human conscious evolution as co-Creators with-in God’s Spirit….

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Damian, Faith in The Spirit of God is all we need on one side, and on the other, are greatly destructive patriarch institutions in and throughout history and even now are in the present. Our inner journey with God’s Spirit is transforming, and we are co-creators…

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for this tribute to another prophetic voice that will endure in her writings and teachings and in those who have been influenced by her. I totally agree with her assessment of the OJ trial and thought at the time, and since, that the only issue was that of domestic violence that had been well established but basically ignored. The pattern of escalating violence often includes murder at the end.

    I also agree with her assessment of the women’s movement that totally ignored the reality of so many poor women, many Black, who had no choice about working. I am pretty old and remember that glaring lack and the obvious entitlement and sense of privilege that many in the women’s movement showed. Not that the movement was wrong, just that it was too exclusive. Even women like me who preferred to raise their children themselves and be at home during their most formative years were somehow “less than”. I also wondered how many women would be absorbed into the hyper-masculine, competitive world of work, especially in the business world, instead of transforming it. As Matthew points out, women are also walking around carrying within them the toxic masculinity that is so destructive. We have many public examples of this in Congress and in the Jan 6 insurrection. Mothers, it seems to me in this day and age, have a responsibility to teach their sons a new model.

    I also find it ironic that the interview with Charlie Rose provided bell with a platform for her views, while at the same time masking the true nature of the man, which would not be exposed for many years.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, Thank you again for your comment. And thank you Matthew for raising our consciousness on the issues of toxic masculinity and the often forgotten Divine Feminine expressed in Cosmic Wisdom. Hildegard is a saint now and Doctor of the Church, and waiting close behind her is Julian of Norwich…

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