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Healing the Male Soul: Christianity and the Mythic Journey by Dwight H. Judy

August 23, 2015

HTMSSome of this stuff is syncretistic but the author belongs to Spiritual Directors International so he must be sort of kosher.

Jacob is used as an example of striving with and against reality, and undertaking the tasks of mature manhood. These tasks are listed as leaving home and separating from our mothers, developing ego strength in contest with the world of men, including the struggle for separation and equality with our fathers, going to the wilderness, developing deeper soul through con­tests in the interior world, encountering woman, encountering man and encountering God.

There’s a lot of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and I don’t care for comparing ‘revealed truth’ in scripture with the myths of, for example, Romulus and Remus, Perseus, Hercules et al. However, I like Percival and the Grail – but then it is a Christian-inspired story.

There’s a naïve belief that the warfare of the Twentieth Century will give way to peace.

The triumph of rationalism in Europe coincided with the punishment of so-called witches so he’s sceptical about the Enlightenment.

It ends with a sort of altar call to embrace the feminine: When she calls, will we answer her and begin to enter into relationship with her, or will we ignore her and continue our aggressive achievement-oriented lifestyles unchanged?

The questions at the end of each chapter will serve as spiritual exercises.


Jacob stands at a profound point in Western culture. Jacob is given the name Israel, because he strove with God and man and prevailed. I want to suggest that this image of striving with and against reality, striving to create one’s own world in the face of enormous odds, is a hallmark of the Western male soul. This energy to struggle and create new worlds is the dynamic energy of the masculine prin­ciple. In the very fabric of the early Hebrew concepts of human life, this principle is given the place of greatest honor. Thus, to be a man, to be Israel, is to be one who is ready to struggle with life and to be cocreator of human society and the world with God.

general, Jacob’s tasks outline the tasks of mature manhood. However, I would state the more general framework of the tasks of masculine consciousness derived from the record of myth and sacred story to be the following:

  1. Leaving home and separating from our mothers. We will see this theme illustrated in the awakening of modern consciousness, two thousand to four thousand years ago, in its separation from the Great Mother religions. This theme will be played out in each of our lives as the separation and differentiation from our families, our mothers, and from nature.

2 Developing ego strength in contest with the world of men, including the struggle for separation and equality with our fathers. This is the birth of the masculine through the principles we will discover in the hero-warrior.

3 Going to the wilderness, developing deeper soul through con­tests in the interior world. This deeper insight comes to Jacob in his times alone when God breaks through in the wilderness. It is the domain of the principle of masculine consciousness we will call the hero-transcendent.

4 Encountering woman, with the tasks of discerning the love of woman as companion and friend, separating our own internalized images of the feminine from our relationships with our wives, moth­ers, and other women whom we love and with whom we work. These are enormous tasks that must be worked out in relationship, as Jacob does in his relationships with his mother, Rachel, and Leah. We will find this theme illuminated in the stories of the Holy Grail.

5 Encountering man, working out our relationship to the deep masculine, wresting power from the older generation of men, finding companionship with our contemporary generation of men, making peace with our fathers. These tasks we must finally approach directly as Jacob did in his relationship with Laban and Esau. We find differ­ent perspectives on this theme through all of the sagas we will explore but especially in the relationships between men in the sto­ries of the Holy Grail

6 Encountering God, wrestling out together the visions of crea­tive service to the world. This image predominates the task of the hero-creative, given birth in the Hebrew Partiarchs and in the life of Jesus, and given fresh insights in the stories of the Holy Grail. This theme is very much alive in our time, in the stories we are each writing in our own lifetime.

The cycle begins at the call to adventure. Here the hero is called away from ordinary existence. This is the call of God to Abraham to go to a new land. It is the departure of Jacob from his known land because of the theft of Esau’s birthright. The call to adventure to humanity in the Bible is issued as the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The hero or heroine then begins a journey into new territory, whether of the inner or the outer world.

Writing during World War II, Carl Jung wrestled with this prob­lem of Western history. His conclusion was that, although Western culture had the vision of Christian life before it, Christianity had not penetrated into the core of the Western psyche. Instead, in its heart, Western culture remained essentially untouched. “Christian

civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched and therefore un­changed” Why has the model of subduing the flesh to the spirit proven inadequate? Why has the beast within humanity continued to plague the earth? The answers to our ques­tions must involve a plunge into the archaic realms. We will need to look for answers not only in our present dilemmas but also in the cultural milieu of ancient history.

The masculine psyche is undergoing a transformation at the pres­ent time. This transformation involves us individually and collectively in a deep interior search. To put it simply, we must have a new relationship to spirit and to flesh. The hero-creative, as a recon­ciling force, must now come into his full potentiality. In Western

culture, the spiritual quest became highly identified with the ratio­nal function of the mind. And in the effort to subdue the flesh in its attainment, not only were aggressive tendencies inadequately addressed, but feelings of sensitivity were lost as well. The existen­tialist crisis of the latter part of the twentieth century, together with its theological offspring, “the death of God,” can be viewed as evidence that the development of rational thought has reached its zenith. If man is only rational, he finds that he is empty, lonely, cut off from earth and woman, and even from his masculine God, be­cause this God finally demands crucifixion and a dismemberment of egoic rationality to bring us into mystical ecstasy. The shadow side of the rise of rationality dissociated from feeling is evidenced now in the threat of annihilation we are able to pose toward all of the earth. We must claim both the rewards and the emptiness of our achievement and surrender to a fresh renewal of life purpose.

My hope is that the chaos of this century, with its tremendous upheavals of warfare, together with the nuclear and ecological threat, has begun to move us toward new visions of planetary life. I am hopeful that this change is happening in part because of the willingness of more and more men to open the door of the unconscious and to explore there the dark, archaic, untouched realms as well as the realms of light and compassion. The treasures found there indicate that there are new possibilities emerging out of the collective unconscious to assist us to make the needed transition toward wholeness at this time in human evolution. This shift can be seen in dreams, visions, guided imagery, and spontaneous expres­sions of new myths. What these images suggest is that the masculine identity, long dissociated between the hero-warrior and the hero-transcendent, may at last be healing itself.

A Buddhist monk set himself aflame one day, made the evening news broadcasts, and public opinion began to turn against the Viet­nam War. Martin Luther King was killed, and hardened hearts were opened. John Kennedy was assassinated, and his stalled civil rights legislation moved through congress. Jesus was crucified and became the archetype of the age.

Is the archetype of heroic self-destruction a necessary part of the evolution of love? Has the time come in human awareness when the heart can be opened without such violent destruction against its public exponents? A deeper question: Is the warrior still in charge of human destiny, either in his angry, fearful outburst toward the exponents of love or as the warrior for righteousness who is necessar­ily ready to take on self-destruction in his cause? Can humanity be released from its bondage to the warrior? Can the hero-creative come forth to reign?

In my relationship with the archetypal warrior, I find him weary of death, weary of destruction, yet enormously frustrated with the powerful aggressive energies he has cultivated through the centu­ries. He longs to be well used, to be put to meaningful service, and to breathe lustfully into life.

The Eden state represents an earlier era of human history, one in which humanity has not yet consciously distinguished itself from nature.

By the sixth century B.C.E., in the writing of Solon, we are at home with people of similar consciousness to our own. Noos is So­lon’s operative concept. Noos has taken on all the qualities of subjec­tive awareness, which bring to it the connotations of insight as well as sight. Solon speaks of noos as being developed over a period of time and fully intact for a man at age forty-two. And he warns his fellow Athenians that they cannot blame their gods for their misfor­tunes, but must blame themselves (ibid., 286). Thus, in Greece, the development of modern consciousness, with its shift of responsibility from the voices of the gods to oneself, takes place from 1000 to 600 B.C.E. The period prior to that is characterized by great upheaval both geographically and psychically. The “I am” reflected in Hebrew development is found in the Greek concept of noos.

A similar development can be perceived in the patchwork of writ­ings making up the Old Testament. In some cases, like Abraham, the hero figure hears God and immediately acts, without the struggle of self-consciousness. In other writings, like Ecclesiastes, the author ponders the changes of life from a center of existential ego-con­sciousness within himself. He has become fully subjective, able to judge life from his vantage point of good and evil and say, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”

Erich Neumann’s words describing the concurrent develop­ment of ego-consciousness and masculine consciousness reverberate with greater authority: “The awakening ego experiences its masculinity, i.e., its increasingly active self-consciousness, as good and bad at once. It is thrust out from the maternal matrix, and it finds itself by distinguishing itself from this matrix”

Zeus establishes his omnipotence and his unifying function. No longer will the pantheon of gods and goddesses, of powers whether mortal or immortal, each go freely on their own way. In­stead, they are unified by the supreme ruler. Through this new order of transcendent unity, a golden cord containing the gods and goddesses stretches from earth to the heavens and ultimately to Zeus. This golden thread is reminiscent of Jacob’s ladder of ascent. Symbolically, human attention is turned toward the heavenly realms and away from the powers of the earth.

The Greek alienation with nature in pursuit of a new idealized masculine consciousness also takes the unfortunate turn of creating an alienation with woman. In Greek myth, after Prometheus has bestowed the gift of fire on man, Pandora (the gift of woman) is sent by Zeus as a punishment to man. Pandora, a name that means “the rich in gifts” and the “all-giving,” is also a name of the earth itself.

Earth, the giver of gifts, has become the source of suffering. And humanity has put enmity between itself and suffering. Suffering now becomes the serpent monster against which man heroically struggles. Man becomes conquerer and subduer of the earth. It is intriguing that it is Zeus, the new male god, who sets this enmity in motion. The male god creates enmity with the earth.

The history of the serpent is also indicative of a radical shift of consciousness and indicative of the West’s alienation from nature, in its alienation from the Great Mother. The serpent has a noble his­tory. It appeared within the rituals of the Great Mother, often seen by mythologists as a symbol for wholeness, the union of infant with mother in undifferentiated oneness. The serpent biting its tail (the uroborus) conveys this image of wholeness. In Crete, the priestess is often depicted as holding the serpent. There we wit­ness the alliance of the Great Mother with the earthly powers.In the healing temples of Asklepios, serpents played a prominent part. The serpent is also a part of Moses story. Nevertheless, in the Western motif of the Fall the serpent plays the predominant role in awakening Adam and Eve to their unconscious condition. Could it in fact be that by becoming aware of the good and evil aspects of nature, for which the serpent is the symbol, Adam and Eve are awakening to moral reasoning and to rational capability? In later myth, the serpent finally becomes the beast, the symbol of evil, against which the heroes and saints will do battle.

Along with the triumph of rationalism came the European catastrophe of the punishment of so-called witches who practiced an earthly, feminine, intuitive knowledge and who were ferreted out as heretics and burned. Our European heritage has contin­ued this dualistic mode of thinking in its pogroms and its trials in the quest for religious purity. An intriguing symbolic representation of the triumph of reason is the eighteenth-century cathedral figure of St. George slaying the dragon. This figure shows great pride in the human power to overcome the “beast” of the earth.

However, our rationalism became so alienated from deeper self and from the world of nature that even the psyche became split. It was left for modern psychology to rediscover the unconscious and the deeper self in the twentieth century.

The great religions set in motion during the masculine era, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity; Islam, have each in their own way sought to provide a pathway to give comfort and purpose to human beings cast into the awareness of life’s suffering, pain, and death. In Christianity, this Fall is called original sin, because it is understood as the most basic or original split within the human being, the split between the individual, God, and nature. From this fundamental split, all evil that individuals inflict on others arises. Christianity posits that until we understand the basic hunger for God, we will seek to ameliorate our fear of nonexistence with a grasping after momentary security and pleasure that is very apt to be amoral at best and overtly abusive of others at worst. The question of Western spiritual life rises plaintively: “Who shall deliver us from the bonds of sin and death?”

A number of scholars, in studying the record of myth, have correlated the evolutionary development of human consciousness with the development of consciousness within the individual. According to this view, individual psychological development can be correlated with the collective development of humanity as evidenced in myth. Ac­cording to this perspective, the Fall in mythic story represents the dawning of individual subjectivity and rational capability, which be­- comes well developed in children in our era around age six to seven. For boys, this means that we have a rather complex beginning. We use first of all been fully identified with the mother and with the femonine, within the womb and in early infancy. Then that union is disrupted with the dawning of awareness on the part of the infant int sometimes the mother does not immediately respond to its awry need. The Great Mother is perceived as destructive as well as benevolent. The young child begins to say “No” to establish its serrate identity. Meanwhile, the father represents a threat to this dyad and the young lad enters into both imitation of and a sense of completion with the father. Therefore, from a mythic standpoint, the father also becomes the good father and the devouring father. Mirth this background in early childhood, the young hero begins to set forth to create his unique identity in the world and in his family, to slay the monsters of death and suffering, to win the love of woman, and for the fortunate ones, to reconcile with mother and father, with nature and with God. This pattern of he­roic interaction with the world is mirrored in the masculinely ori­ented myths and sacred stories of this era. It is prevalent and seemingly indomitable, as the stories return in the new guises of Star Wars, Superman, and the animated characters that light up the eyes of children every Saturday morning in televised cartoons.

The primary way in which Christianity has described the re­deeming work of Christ is as a reconciliation of human beings with God the Father. The motif of reconciliation with the father is one of the four major themes cited by Joseph Campbell in his description of the hero’s journey. This theme is common in both the sagas of the hero-warrior and the hero-transcendent. Will the father relin­quish his power and authority to the son or must the son wrest it from the father? In examining the many records of myth, Joseph Campbell offers the following summary of the relationship between father and son: In the end, the hero, now a youth returning to his proper home, either overthrows the father and sets himself in his place (Oedipus, Perseus, Christ’s New Testament supplanting the Old), or becomes reconciled with the father and completes the father’s work (the New Testament as fulfillment of the Old).

This appearance of Romulus is strikingly similar to the appearance of Jesus to his distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus. In that appearance, recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke, the res­urrected Christ “interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. . . . When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”

In these two postdeath appearances, we have the spirit of the hero-warrior and the spirit of the hero-transcendent establishing their respective kingdoms upon the earth. Rome will be the kingdom of power. Christ’s kingdom will be the kingdom of love. Romulus’s legacy will be hegemonies of earthly empires. Christ’s will be the search for a new form of divination that might bring accord between people in dispute. Romulus’s tool is the sword; Christ’s tool is prayer. Romulus is the son of the Father taking up the tool of the steel sickle; Christ is the son of the Father taking up the tool of the lightningbolt.

The roots of this reconciliation come from the era of the Fall, just as the roots of the hero-warrior and the hero-transcendent come from that era. The hero-creative manifests in the call of Yahweh to Abraham to be creative and bless the earth, in the call of Jacob to find the love of woman and blessing in fullness of earth’s bounty, in the call of Moses to create a free people from a slave people. We find the struggle of the hero-creative in the development of the sciences and the arts, in bursts of creative outpouring such as the Renaissance. And we will find the beginning of his full manifestation in the stories of the quest for the Holy Grail.

The era of male ascendency has brought the ‘harshest conflicts of humanity with itself, harsher conflicts than those evidenced in the animal kingdom.

We find a similar problem of blind rage in Achilles, who, in his final victory over Hector, falls victim to a rage that devours his own code of honor. So caught is he in violent energy of the battlefield that he cannot disengage himself from it.

The tragic story of Cain and Abel is one that we have already heard in another form in the story of Romulus and Remus. The conflict for the two brothers begins in religious ritual.

Cain premeditates the murder of his brother. Hercules per­forms murder in a blind rage, a fit of insanity. Yet who is more insane: Cain who is gripped by anger and wills his brother’s death, or Hercules who loses all sense of self in his blind rage? The courts of our time find a difference. Yet from the standpoint of moral re­sponsibility, is there a difference? Hercules repents of his crime and willingly enters into Zeus’s will. Cain repents as well. In their repentence moral responsibility is born. Both Hercules and Cain become wanderers of the earth, entering into individual life apart from tribe or clan. They are forerunners of modern man in his isolation before God and his own moral responsibility.

The “berserkers” evidenced such an initiation. They were the ances­tor warriors of the European peoples. It is from these men, whose name meant “warriors in the shirts (serkr) of bear,” from which our word berserk has derived. There is a famous passage from the Ynglingasaga that describes these men: “They went without shields, and were mad as gods or wolves, and bit on their shields, and were as strong as bears or bulls; men they slew, and neither fire nor steel would deal with them; and this is what is called the fury of the berserker”

A problem that men thus face is to contact this deep source of strength and power, and to learn how to control and channel it. In tribal cultures in which such aggressive powers were cultivated, there were also socially prescribed ways for discharging aggression. Cordova-Rios describes a festival after the return of the men from a successful trading excursion. A celebration began, with painting of their bodies in original designs. Then dancing began, which went on for several days. After drinking and dancing for more than a day, brawls and pushing contests began to happen among the men. However, the chief would always step in if a situation began to be­come dangerous. The chief was given full respect by every man, and thus none of these conflicts became harmful

Hercules cure involves becoming feminine! For three years, he dresses in women’s clothes and lives softly! In his encounter at the crossroads before beginning his heroic adventures, Hercules had met two women, Virtue and Idle Pleasure. He had chosen the path of Virtue. Now in his healing, he lives the life of Idle Pleasure.

It is not unreasonable to speculate that certain high-risk diseases for males, such as heart disease, hyperten­sion, and strokes, may be related to this pattern of aggressive “vir­tue.”

In Hercules model, the Western emphasis on individualism is pow­erfully exhibited. He is man, alone before his own psychic struggles, his awakened sense of justice, and his tasks of disciplined service. He is also alone in his madness with his blind aggression. He is a powerful mirror for contemporary Western men, who often do not develop strong bonds even with those with whom they work. Her­cules isolation points to a task that we must each recapture for ourselves, the possibility of brotherhood with other men.

golden reward is through the taking on of active responsibility in the world. It is by becoming coequal with nature and with all the powers and principalities that the more subtle spiritual realms will be opened. The hero of the West will learn to dwell in the material world as a means of unlocking the treasures of the spiritual world.

I came to know the “berserker” within my own shadow consciousness. During this time I reviewed many violent deaths in my mind, as if they were my own death or battles in which I had fought. I came to realize that my first taste was of the blood and amniotic fluids of birth—that earthly life is blood. In one very powerful meditation, I found myself weary with life, weary with struggle. The image came to me to take my life. A deep sadness and despair unfolded. I discovered that underneath the desire for death was the desire for release from effort. The weariness with my own egoic patterns of life as the hero-warrior of righteousness was evidencing as a desire for death. I realized that death is the body’s way toward transcendence. The message of my body, in response to the desire for release from the boundaries of my own self, was death. What I most deeply longed for, however, was not death but life released from my self-imposed bondages. My journal entry of that day read: No more trying/efforting—exhausted with it. That is the part that wants to commit suicide, and it is very strong. It wants to be released. I want to be released from the effort, the struggle to find God. This body is, it seems, equipped primarily to find God through death—many violent deaths—some self-inflicted—mostly through battle. Now it is my task to help it learn to surrender to find the Presence everywhere.

The hero-warrior contains extraordinary energy. He has learned to stand in the very midst of death unwaveringly. He has become, as did Hercules, a master of the world of death. Contained within our masculine bodies is this primal power, the power to face death directly and the power to transform earthly life through the black­smith’s fire of technological ingenuity. The hero-warrior is the capac­ity to undertake arduous tasks for the good of humanity.

As the Greek language was developing, a very early distinction was made between two words for our word life. These words are bios and zoe.

[Zoe] “resounds” with the life of all living creatures. These are known in Greek as zoon (plural, zoa). The significance of zoe is life in general, without further characterization. When the word bios is uttered, something else resounds: the contours, as it were, the characteristic traits of a specified life, the outlines that distinguish one living thing from another. This distinction goes to the core of the relationship between the hero-warrior and the hero-transcendent. The hero-warrior is con­cerned primarily with bios, with life within its given forms and contours. He works in the realm of technology and relationship with the visible forms of the world, whether these be the forms of civic life or the ability to track an animal. The hero-transcendent concerns himself primarily with zoe, life-as-such, with the underlying unity of life beyond its particular form.

the phallus becomes prominent in both his birth stories and the mysteries. In such worship, the phallus symbolically represents the life force. It is present to this day in the Hindu image of Shiva as the lingam

The Epicurean Philodemus, a contemporary of Cicero, speaks of the three births of Dionysus, “the first from his mother, the second from the thigh, and the third when, after his dismemberment by the Ti­tans, Rhea gathered together his limbs and he came to life again.” Firmicus Maternus ends by adding that in Crete . . . the murder was commemorated by yearly rites, which repeated what “the child had done and suffered at the moment of his death”: “in the depths of the forests, by the strange cries they utter, they feign the madness of a raging soul,” giving it out that the crime was committed through madness, and “they tear a living bull with their teeth.” In this account the practices become clearer. Zoe, eternal life, is contacted through the ritualistic reenactment of the death, dismem­berment, and resurrection of Dionysus. Furthermore, it is experi­enced in frenzied ecstatic “madness,” in which the dismemberment is enacted. Why such practices should put one in direct communion with zoe seems fairly clear. There is no moment more alive than the moment of death. For anyone who has been present in the moment of death of another person or of an animal, it is clear that the life force, the zoe, the soul has departed. What once was animated is now still. Bios has ended. It has lost its contact with zoe. We might look to our carnivorous hunter ancestors for making this discovery. In which case, with more domesticated life, contact with zoe was remembered in its primitive form in animal sacrifices. Contact with the life force now became ritualized, sometimes in the very chaotic form of the Dionysian mysteries. Within the further stories of Dio­nysus there is also a bridge to less vicious practices for encountering zoe.

That bridge lies in his association with wine and intoxication.

Dionysus is the eternally renewing vine of the grape, which in mid­winter lies dormant and seemingly dead, then sends forth tendrils of new growth, finally producing grapes. But more than the giver of the grape, he is also the giver of wine. Zoe is directly experienced in the process of fermentation. Even prior to the growing of grapes, the fermentation process was surrounded with mystery and religious festival in the production of mead, a fermented drink produced from honey and water.

In the process of fermentation, humankind enters into a new rela­tionship with nature. It is a relationship analogous to the metallurgic revolution in blacksmithing. Now in entering into relationship with nature through fermentation, humankind produces that which in­toxicates, which gives an altered sense of perception. Through intoxication, humanity can enter into a previously unconscious realm. And as all other discoveries of mutual endeavor between humankind and nature, the invention of intoxicants carries its dangerous side. It is possible to become lost in one’s intoxicating world and lose a grip on the world of ordinary reality.

The induced “mania” of the followers of Dionysus is seen by some scholars to be a state conducive to a direct perception of a divine epiphany. Such a direct experience of divine presence was the intent of the bacchic festivals. What the Greeks called mania was “a state in which man’s vital powers are enhanced to the utmost, in which

consciousness and the unconscious merge as in breakthrough. Such is the state induced in the Dionysian mys­teries.

Dionysus presents many faces to us. In his complexity, he was attractive to all classes of people, to ascetics as well as orgiastics. He brought the inducement of mania through intoxication and ecstatic enthousiasmos through contemplation (Eliade 1978, 372). Dionysus presents an experience of zoe to his followers, whether this experi­ence be of a visionary nature in the secret mysteries or of a more visceral nature in the festivals of public intoxication. The same style of public and private festival continued throughout the history of Europe and still finds expression throughout the Christian world in the bacchanalian Mardi Gras preceding the inward focus of Lent.

Many of the themes present in Dionysian festival and myth find their way into the early Christian church. The Gospel of John, the most esoteric of the Gospels, utilizes many Dionysian images. In that Gospel, Jesus is introduced in his public ministry through the miracle at Cana of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). The im­agery of the vine plays a predominant role in the mystery of incorpo­ration of the believer into Christ. “I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every barren branch of mine he cuts away; and every fruiting branch he cleans

goes on to illustrate the quality of love of which he is speaking as the willingness of a person to lay down his life for another. He has invited his followers to dismemberment on behalf of the value of love. Dismemberment for the receptivity of divine epiphany takes on the vow of compassion as well.

The dismemberment required is now of one’s own ego boundaries and exclusive identification with one’s group, nation, or clan. This expansion of the nature of compassion was equally difficult for both the Hebrew and the Gentile worlds to hear. We must remember that Israel was an occupied nation when these words were uttered. Jesus extends the notion of love within the Hebrew interpretation, in which to love one’s neighbor had the connotation of disdaining one who was not of the Hebrew nation. Love had this connotation in Greek culture as well.

Dwelling in the reign of God means finding the wellspring of universal love through which enmity among national and family groups could be overcome.

when the phenomenon of speaking in tongues begins to evidence as a part of ecstatic worship within the church, it evokes controversy from the very beginning.

Augustine gives us quite a dazzling picture of the Roman world, I with its festivals of public sexuality and Colosseum games of public bloodlust. No wonder he is so strong in advocating a religious struc­ture that is also a structure for moral edification.

A prominent theme has been the mistrust of human emotions. Another is a negative perception of the physical world. Another is the trust in mental process over physical awareness.

From a mythical standpoint, it is intriguing to note that the god­dess mother of Dionysus is Persephone, queen of the underworld, while the divine mother of Christ becomes the queen of heaven. At the stage of evolutionary development in which Christianity comes to birth, humanity has discovered the direct perception of divine radiance. God has been discovered in a direct perception of zoe. St. John calls Jesus the light of the world. Paul is blinded by such a light. Eckhart speaks of God as lightning. Dante finds the radiance of heaven so blinding that he must have Beatrice as an intermediary. We are here in the realm of the most subtle and powerful forms of spiritual revelation. The author of The Cloud of Unknowing speaks of the healing power of contemplative love. “For the contemplative work of love by itself will eventually heal you of all the roots of sin”

I have come to a profound respect for the men and women who undertook this path. They went into desert regions to live alone and to face their I inner worlds with a minimum of external guidance. If what we read i of the Roman world is at all true, they were indeed a passionate lot. Our brief historical survey of some of the monastic writings indicates a lessening of the theme of internal warfare over the centuries. The Cloud of Unknowing is clearly written by a man less alienated from and fearful of his inner thoughts and passions than Abba Evagrius, whose goal was to “dry up the natural juices. The monastic subservience of the passionate nature to the mental nature has left its trail of difficulties. In some profound sense, it has perhaps created the shadow of our contemporary age. The shadow of radiant light is profound darkness. If the Western heroes of tran­scendence systematically eliminated fantasy because it whipped up the passions, we are left with a diminished capacity for imagination.

The hero-transcendent calls us to go into the wilderness of our own solitude. In our era of history, in which so much attention is given to outward achievement, it is a very challenging task to be sent alone into ourselves. The hero-transcendent, however, challenges us to see that without periods of retreat from the world, we easily lose ourselves into the culture’s current values and easily miss the deeper call to creative service that God may be issuing to us.

crucified as an appropriate image of spiritual life. Can we be equally comfortable meditating on Christ in authority, the Christ within us in creative power dispensing new health to the world? The hero-creative will find this center of authority within himself or herself and pledge it to the discovery of the “thousand paths that have never yet been trodden—a thousand healths and hidden isles of life”

that the Grail is the restoration of balance between physical and spiritual life. It is the “serpent coiled around the sun.” The images of the Grail in various stories point to such an interpre­tation. In some versions, the Grail is a large bowl. Campbell pre­sents a great deal of data supporting the theory that this bowl represents not the chalice of holy communion, but the ceremonial bowl of ancient mystery religions, with their representation of the bounty of nature. Such a theme also surfaces in the book of Revelation, when the tree of life is discovered and the bounty of the earth is celebrated. Such bounty is a part of the description of Parsifal’s evening spent in the Grail castle.

The name Parsifal or perce a val, means “pierce through the middle.” His ideal is the middle way, the life of integrity in the midst of the ideals of heaven and the struggles of earth. Wolfram’s ideal is stated at the end of his story: “A life so lived . . . that God is not robbed of the soul through the body’s guilt; yet can retain with honor the world’s favor: that is a worthy work. At the core of the quest is the hope of a resolution of the split between matter and spirit, a resolution of the issue of suffering, and a discovery of the individual-in-eternity through a visionary experience. The quest for the Grail is still very much at the heart of Western consciousness. Whether we take the way of leaving the world, dropping out of its time-bound structures to quest for a deeper visioning capability within ourselves, or whether we take the way of deep involvement within those structures, or whether we find ourselves alternating those ways, the quest is for the “second sight” that makes life in the flesh meaningful.

“In Greece a person confirms I the fact that spirit is the continuation and flower of matter, and I myth the simple, composite expression of the most positive reality” (Kazantzakis 1965, 148). Kazantzakis’s spiritual exercises represent the union of the warrior and transcendent functions.

For Kazantzakis, individual man and woman hold the balance of the universe in their power, for each stands in a unique relationship to all the generations going before them and coming after them. And God is dependent upon our unique service. “Whom does the Grail serve?” It serves God. Katzanzakis’s God is not the almighty ruler of the universe; he is instead the evolutionary thrust of the universe. And whether or not that thrust is successful always hangs in the balance.

My God struggles on without certainty. Will he conquer? Will he be conquered? Nothing in the Universe is certain. He flings himself into uncertainty; he gambles all his destiny at every moment. . . . God is imperiled. He is not almighty, that we may cross our hands, waiting for certain victory. He is not all-holy, that we may wait trustingly for him to pity and to save us. . . . Within the province of our ephemeral flesh all of God is imperiled. He cannot be saved unless we save him with our own struggles; nor can we be saved unless he is saved. . . . It is not God who will save us—it is we who will save God, by battling, by creating, and by transmuting matter into spirit. . . . Life is a cru­sade in the service of God. Whether we wished to or not, we set out as crusaders to free—not the Holy Sepulchre—but that God buried in matter and in our souls. . . . My God and I are horsemen galloping in the burning sun or under drizzling rain. Pale, starving, but unsub­dued, we ride and converse.

he may have grown insensitive to the youth­ful enthusiasm of others posing the question. The Kronos in each of us has the tendency to “eat” our children, to devour the younger generation in order to maintain our own hard-fought security. We must cultivate an openness to the youthful Parsifal to find release from our infirmities.

Let us hope that less and less in the fortune of humanity men must be called upon to be wielders of destruction in warfare. Yet let us not lose the special quality of comradeship that the history of warriorship has given to men.

To return to our knightly metaphor, it is necessary for a man to learn to use his “sword.” We cannot come to wholeness by repress­ing our aggressiveness, although it is important to learn to contain our aggressiveness. We come to wholeness by making friends with our instinctual depths and claiming our power. Through this discov­ery of deep masculine power we find the ability for “forceful action undertaken, not with cruelty, but with resolve”

They lie with (their bodies in full contact, yet they refrain from sexual embrace. I i have known many women in this way—not literally lying so, but emotionally and spiritually matching our energies in pursuit of the Grail. That Grail quest with my sister comrades has taken many 1 forms: political action and community service, as well psychothera­peutic and spiritual exploration. One of the first of these for me involved a woman twenty years my senior, with whom I have en­gaged in many community-oriented projects. Such relationships everywhere abound for men if we will open ourselves to them. In fact, the changing face of the workplace in our time now demands that men learn a new coequality with women. I would go so far as to suggest that this chaste intimacy is the relationship with our mothers which is also ultimately healing to us.

She could be seen as the call of the unconscious plunging Parsifal deep into his own inner journey, into his solitariness. She may manifest in many forms. Johnson interprets her as the “destroy­ing, spoiling quality in a man at about middle age. Suddenly the savor has gone out of everything”. “She had a great nose, like a dog; two protruding boar’s tusks, and eyebrows braided to the ribbon of her hair, bear’s ears, a hairy face, and in her hand a whip with ruby grip, but fingernails like a lion’s claws and hands charming as a monkey’s. It is clear that she bears many of the forms of the old Great Mother era—the boar, the bear, and the lion.

of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. . . . I am part of the great whole, and I can never escape. But I can deny my connections, break them, and become a fragment. Then I am wretched.

What we want is to destroy our false inorganic connections, espe­cially those related to money, and re-establish the living organic con­nections, with the cosmos, the sun and earth, with mankind and nation and family. Start with the sun, and the rest will slowly, slowly happen.

Jacob shows us a powerful image of the particular tasks that each man must face. For seven years he indentures himself into the ser­vice of Laban in order to win the hand of Rachel in marriage. At the end of this time Laban tricks him into marriage with Leah. That period of Jacob’s life is very much like the first decade or so of adult life for us all. We think that we are working toward our hearts desire, but we find that we have actually been living out the internalized expectations of our culture. The work may have been very satisfying and a major contribution to others, yet it has been motivated from a source within ourselves that is not yet fully alive to the deepest level of our unconscious creativity or yet fully alive in God.

During the second period of his adult life, Jacob lives in service of his own hearts desire. This second apprenticeship to life is the one in which he finds his true love manifesting in Rachel. This period may well correspond to that decade or so in our lives in which we begin to find the deeper sources of soul within ourselves, as well as deeper sources of creativity to offer to our work and to our family. The era may be the journey into ourselves facilitated by profound spiritual practice or psychotherapy or a crisis in relation­ship or vocation that calls us into a new relationship to ourselves.

Finally, Jacob works seven years to build up his wealth. He stays in Laban’s service in order to reap the fruit of all his other years of labor. This is the era in which we fully “come of age.” It is intriguing that as long as twenty-five hundred years ago in Greece, Solon stated that a man was not really complete until age forty-two. We are find­ing in our time that this period of genuine empowerment for men is coming certainly no sooner than the forties and often somewhat later. This era is the one beautifully described in Jacob’s story as the era of wealth. We may express our wealth not only when our salaries are at their peak but also in the wealth of knowledge, skill, and wisdom we may bring to our world during this era of our lives.

We often do not even recognize that our deep boredoms and fears, rages and quiet desperations might be messages from our deeper selves and from God, inviting us into a process of self-examination and change.

What I am suggesting is that one of our great life tasks is to open our own self-awareness to the depths within ourselves, and in so doing begin to rediscover a new depth of soul. We can begin by understanding the soul not simply as an otherworldly appendage to this life. Instead, the concept of soul describes the experience of coming into relationship with our whole selves, making a bridge between our own inner realms of darkness and light. For men, it may be most useful to remember that in Greek thought psyche or I soul was identified as a beautiful young woman, the paramour of Eros. We may think of the soul as the feminine nature within our­selves. Such an identification enables us to enter into relationship with this other dimension of ourselves and to have the full range of relationship with our soul that we might enjoy with another person. The soul, indeed, is lover, guide, companion, taskmaster, and play­mate. Once awakened, she requires companionship and is a jealous lover.

She can come in dreams and night visions of terror dredging up repressed material, or she can come in visions and dreams of radiance and divine guidance. When she calls, will we answer her and begin to enter into relationship with her, or will we ignore her and continue our aggressive achievement-oriented lifestyles unchanged?

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