Monday, November 12, 2012

Slavery guided by "Small Egos"

The Cherokee elder said to his son before he sent him out on the great Vision Quest, "Why do you waste your time brooding, son? Don't you know you are being driven by great winds across the sky!"
Young Male Initiation Ceremony
I have spent much time in the last twenty years observing and researching the state of the male psyche, both in the secular and spiritual worlds. My work in many countries allows me to do it in a comparative way, and my retreat work, I hope, allows me to do it in an in-depth way. The conclusions I have come to are rather discouraging, but they also confirm the reasons why most cultures deemed the "initiation" of the male absolutely necessary for social survival. It was a fundamental structure of almost every traditional culture.
Xhosa Male Initiate
The young male, it seems, has always been the loose knot in the social fabric. If he was lost to the world of community and spirituality, all the other members would soon fall through the social net– his female partner, their children, the next generation, and eventually the society itself would deteriorate. Today we have men "on the loose" without any social or spiritual mandate. Just their small egos guiding them. And even worse, many a young woman is now imitating the same toxic pattern. It is the only pattern that the West now knows.
In the past twelve months I have worked with groups of men in South Africa, India, and Brazil. With some wonderful exceptions, I saw there what has now become a crisis in America and Europe: the spiritual immaturity of the typical male. Older cultures seemed to assume that unless the male is led on deliberate journeys of powerlessness, he will normally seek and abuse power.

Richard Rohr