[FROM THE ARCHIVE: 5/26/2019]

After I wrote my book on The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, I was speaking at an Earth Conference in New Mexico and an indigenous man approached me.  He told me that he had been a chaplain in a state prison for men for 12 years and that my book “was the first book he found that got men to look inside and find the nobility inside.”

Shelton Prison, Washington State: Native American inmate group the Tribal Sons reclaim their ancestral spiritual practices, drumming and dancing before a Sweat Lodge ceremony. Video by Frank Hopper.

It is super important that men and women find the nobility inside.  After all, Erich Fromm tells us that self-hatred is the cause of fascism.  Let us explore that theme in this and some subsequent DMs.


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…

Animus befriends Anima within the soul. Image by Hartwig HKD on Flickr.

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.

A mother comforting her young son. Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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

See also The Hidden Spirituality of Men.

Banner Image: Men and women together call for humanity: Peaceful Uprising founder Tim DeChristopher and Roxbury, MA clergy lead a protest march in 2016, linking a local pipeline to a mass grave for victims of climate-caused heat in Pakistan. Photo by Peter Bowden on Flickr; referencing DeChristopher’s video, “The Age of Anticipatory Mass Graves.”

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?

Recommended Reading

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

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.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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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3 thoughts on “The Nobility Inside”

  1. Avatar

    The King and I, the King and We, The King of Us, The King of Our Being, The King of All. How do we pay homage to ‘our King or the Lord or the Queen or Mother of All, if you prefer:
    *We recognize, in all ways and at all times, respect, honour, love, be in obedience to, to follow the directives of the King, and be in dutiful service to the King’s Kingdom and the Kingdom’s inhabitants, do we not? We are all part of the Royal family, are we not?
    * How do we keep an ‘invisible and loving King or Queen’ top of mind during our days on this earth and beyond? Do we not have to always and everywhere give the King mindful and active acknowledgement? Do we not have to, day in and day out, lay down our lives in obedient, dutiful and active service? Are our lives not a testimony to ‘the living presence of the King’? Is the living God not a living, acting presence within us? Are we and others not ‘God the King’s’ representatives in the here and now? We play the part by living the part.
    * Ultimately the Lord desires a loving and fruitful relationship with all of us. A renewed starting point is our daily and infinite journey with ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’. The faithful journey is where ‘our nothingness becomes resolved with our somethingness. Our somethingness always belongs in its rightful place: a place where we throw out past misconceptions; and a place where our eternal (and not sometimes) awareness of ‘who we really are’ is born to life. — BB.

  2. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I’ve experienced healthy masculinity much later in my life through my relationships with my Father-in-law, husband, son and now my grandson is beginning to embody signs of this as well.

    Recently my grandson was in a grade 1 school play about the Farmer In the Dell. His costume was that of a farmer and there was much discussion from him about the appropriate hat he should wear. After much ado we finally found the hat he was proud to wear. However part way through watching the play we noticed that he was no longer wearing his hat. Afterwards we asked him why he had taken off his hat off during the play.

    He told us that the young girl whom was standing beside him throughout the play, whom was wearing a hat representing one of the farm animals got very sad, upset and embarrassed because one of the eyes on her animal hat had fallen off during the play. She had taken it off and laid it on the bench they were standing on and began to cry. So my grandson then took off his hat and laid it over top of hers.

    Some men can and do teach one another what it is to embody the nobility of healthy masculinity and they can and do help one another heal from the toxicity of unhealthy masculinity imposed upon them by the imbalanced patriarchy of the past. I am grateful for the blessings I have received from such men in my life that has helped me heal and bring balance to my own inner masculine aspect of self as a woman.

  3. Avatar

    Since young adulthood, the ‘spirit of the nobility inside me’ has been what the mystics call the True Heart Self’s ongoing and transformative search for Divine Love/Wholeness, meaning, and purpose in Life with others on my compassionate spiritual journey towards Loving Diverse Oneness in the Sacred Process~Flow of the Eternal Present Moment… Cosmic Christ Consciousness….

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