For many weeks, we have been meditating on the importance of recovering a healthy masculine consciousness to match and welcome the return of the Divine Feminine. 

Tweet from The Kyiv Independent Twitter feed, reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2/24/22

Yesterday’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia has shattered peace in Europe like nothing else since September, 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland and launched the bloodiest war in human history.  His excuse was that he wanted to liberate German speaking persons in Poland and then in Czechoslovakia and then….

Similarly, Putin’s façade was to declare Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine were begging him to invade to liberate them.  In fact, however, many Russian speaking Ukrainians have sworn to take up arms and resist Putin’s power grab. 

What really motivates Putin is his rabid fear that a nation on his borders that was once part of the Soviet empire was developing a democracy whose success might spread democratic thoughts to his own citizens in the Russian Federation. 

Envy rules again.  As I point out in my book on Evil, Envy along with Resentment are very often the generator of wars.  Envy is fed by lies and untruths. 

Putin was called a “lunatic” by one of his admirers, the president of Czechoslovakia, for this invasion of Ukraine.  He also employed the lie that Nazis were running Ukraine.  In fact, the Ukranian president is half Jewish and his father fought the Nazis in WWII.

Fmr. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and retired Admiral James Stavridis join Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Video by MSNBC.

Clearly, Putin has a masculinity issue.  A reptilian brain unhinged and unconnected to a mammal brain that cares for others and is actually capable of empathy and compassion.  A patriarchal consciousness untethered from the divine feminine and caring, compassion and service of others—not just one’s own power addiction.

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reflects on her first face to face meeting with Putin.  The meeting lasted three hours and he spoke without any notes.  She wrote in her journal on her flight back from Moscow that he was “small and pale” and “so cold as to be almost reptilian.”

The reptilian brain is characterized by a win-lose consciousness.  “I win, you lose.”  (One is reminded of a former president who has refused to admit he lost an election 15 months after the fact and who admires Putin to this day.)

While the world censures Putin, the former occupant of the White House and his followers praise him. “U Street NW.” Photo by Mike Maguire on Flickr.

Albright saw in Putin someone who had a “lust for power” and was “embarrassed by what happened to his country” when the Soviet Union disintegrated and he was “determined to restore its greatness.” 

Instead, she predicted, he is making a “historic error” by invading Ukraine that will leave his country “diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger and more united” West.* 

Such is the path of men who abandon their true masculinity in their lust for power.

When men abandon their authentic masculinity (which begins with virtue and values and integrity) and chase power for power sake and empire for empire sake, others suffer.


See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 359-371.

See also: Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men.

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

Banner Image: 2014 rally outside London’s Parliament marking the first week of the invasion of the Crimea by Russian forces, protesting against the violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity by Russia. Photo by Jordan Busson on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

What deep connection do you see between lies and envy and war?

Recommended Reading

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 “Putin’s Masculinity Problem”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask us: “What deep connection do you see between lies and envy and war?” The connection I see is that envy is an emotion that desires what belongs to someone else, and lies are what ever one will say to get it. War usually happens when one country desires what another country has, and fights to get it. It is all corporate selfishness characterized by being willing to lose a certain amount of lives to get it. When planning an attack a commanding officer has to weigh the losses of lives versus the land which is gained–and the question is, “How much do the envious liars care about the lives that will be lost in the process of fighting for what, in this case, Putin wants. To me it all stinks to high heaven!

  2. Avatar

    The connection I see between lies, envy and war is as the video commentator spoke in today’s DM… that of evil, that invokes the deep darkness of fear. In Putin’s case this deep darkness of fear is invoked in the threat of using nuclear bombs. The more important question that the world aught to be asking is, “how do we together respond to such evil, for the sake of the good of the whole?” To sit on the sidelines so to speak, offering limited assistance to the Ukraine government and its citizens and justifying this by stating that because Ukraine is not apart of NATO, is a copout. NATO refusing to use its emergency powers necessary in this case, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of its actual purpose of existence… as Russia can and will veto on any course of action made against itself. Clearly sanctions don’t actually work for their intended purposes, as many analysts have stated… and Putin knows this. Those that do not already know just how interconnected, interreliant and interdependent we all are, as one global family, which includes not only humanity, but the all and the everything of creation, are in for a savage and rude awakening. Those of us whom are already consciously aware, will do what we’ve always done… pick up the fragmented pieces of the war torn world in an embrace of love, compassion and mercy offering healing, restoration, and safe refuge… that is if this evil doesn’t destroy this little blue planets beautiful existence.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your well thought out comment. I like how it begins to conclude, when you use the words: “Those of us whom are already consciously aware, will do what we’ve always done… pick up the fragmented pieces of the war torn world in an embrace of love, compassion and mercy offering healing, restoration, and safe refuge” and I think you are right, that is what we will do. What is haunting however is how you end your comment: “… that is if this evil doesn’t destroy this little blue planets beautiful existence.” Let us pray that it doesn’t !!!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Barbara, You write: “From the One come the many, and the many are the One, and the many know it not.” My response to your comment is: “And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not” (John 1:5)…

  3. Avatar

    I think that you are right that he is acting out of rabid fear that results in envy, violence, etc., etc. It is so sad that he knows that he has supporters in this country, and I believe this has emboldened him. The divisions which I believe he has fostered since before 2016 have only weakened this country and strengthened him.
    . Apparently, the concept of treason is one that has disappeared in this country, along with the concept of public service. Putin is clearly power mad, and I think that his fear comes from internal sources in Russia also because there is a growing wish for democracy in his own country, so this aggression which is completely successful so far is also a message to Russians at home. He has made no secret of his intentions, and nothing in ourselves or our allies could prevent them from being carried out, at least so far.

  4. Avatar

    Matthew, thank you for reminding us of your book on better understanding evil in human history and contemporary society, especially its roots in toxic masculinity and unbalanced patriarchal cultures/ institutions, and its destructive manifestations in world leaders like Hitler and Putin….

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