The Divine Masculine

For five decades, since the beginning of the Feminist movement, awareness and interest in the Divine Feminine and the Goddess has expanded. Scores of books have explored her historic appearance and role, and her many forms and guises. The question is asked repeatedly, “How we can return her to her rightful place in our culture?”

But what of the Divine Masculine?

After 5,000 years of masculine domination, control, patriarchy and imperialism, the Masculine looks like a problem to be solved rather than a subject to study, or an energetic force to embody. The Western Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – are rightfully considered the chief cause of destruction of cultures, oppression of women, and rape of all things feminine, including the earth.

In Jonathan Kirsch’s excellent book, “God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism,” the core value of monotheism is identified as “exclusivism.” Beginning with Akhenaton in Egypt, and then by the Jews, monotheists believe that worship is to be offered to a single god – to the exclusion of all other gods and goddesses. Not only is their god the best god, but the one and only god. All other deities are false, and must be destroyed. This zealotry extends to excluding or killing anyone who does not share their One True God. History is filled with their victims. They believed that their God demanded the blood of the non-believer.
From the Jews, this idea was extended into Christianity (against Jesus’ teachings), and then into Islam.

Prior to this exclusivism, hundreds of gods and goddesses lived and were worshiped in cultures throughout the world. There is evidence that early Jews worshiped the goddess Asherah along with Yahweh, their male deity, until the Jewish goddess-worshipers were all killed. The Jewish mystical tradition still acknowledges Shekinah as the feminine principle of life, but this esoteric understanding is not widely known or preached.

In Anodea Judith’s award-winning book, “Waking the Global Heart,” she paints a visionary story of the changes that occurred as civilizations shifted from Goddess worship to Gods-and-Goddesses worship to exclusive (masculine) God worship. When gods were both male and female, there was more parity between men and women. Gods and Goddesses of all cultures shared the qualities of their human worshipers — including love, lust, rage, and jealousy. Men and women could see qualities of the Divine within themselves because both genders were represented among the Gods.

When the Goddess was systematically overthrown and killed off by powerful male hierarchies, the solo male God became the (unqualified) source of life, creation, and salvation. God and men became responsible for fertility, nature, and taking “care” of the world. Masculine cultures produced excellent weapons, machines, and hierarchical organizations, but half of all culture was lost. Whatever was feminine became repressed, threatened, destroyed, and buried in the rubble. As Ms. Judith noted, “A religion with only one God is half-way to atheism.”

To find the Divine Masculine, we must search beyond patriarchal religions. We must look elsewhere for our Divinity.

In their classic book, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine,” authors Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette make a distinction between “Boy Psychology” and “Man Psychology.” They write, “Feminists have seen how male dominance in patriarchy has been oppressive and abusive of feminine characteristics, virtues, and women themselves. Some feminists conclude that masculinity in its roots is essentially abusive, and that connection with “eros” – love, relatedness, and gentleness – comes only from the feminine side of the human equation. In our view, patriarchy is not the expression of deep and rooted masculinity. Truly deep and rooted masculinity is not abusive. Patriarchy is the expression of the immature masculine. It is the expression of Boy Psychology, and in part, the shadow – or crazy – side of masculinity. It expresses the stunted masculine, fixated at immature levels.”

Moore and Gillette, both psychologists, utilize Jungian Archetypes to distinguish the best qualities and virtues of mature masculinity, comparing them to immature expressions. If our Divinity is a reflection of our Virtues, we must examine the virtuous expression of masculinity to understand the Divine Masculine.

They identify four mature masculine archetypes: the King in his fullness, the Warrior in his fullness, the Magician in his fullness, and the Lover in his fullness. The immature expression (Boy Psychology) of each is identified as an earlier attempt to come into fullness: The Divine Child grows into the King, The Hero grows into the Warrior, the Precocious Child becomes the Magician, and the Oedipal Child becomes the Lover.

As with any path of virtue, there are many ways to go wrong, to allow ego needs to take over and express the negative aspects of the archetype. For example, the King has two shadow aspects: the Tyrant and the Weakling Leader. The Warrior’s shadow aspects are the Sadist and the Masochist. The Magician’s shadow includes the Detached Manipulator and the Denying “Innocent” One. It is easy to see that historical patriarchy is an expression and function of these shadow aspects. Imperialism, oppression, destruction of cultures, monotheistic exclusivism, uncaring exploitation of the earth’s resources, and domination and control of others are all expressions of these negative aspects of masculine power.

What are the Divine aspects of these archetypal forces?

A divine King is a benevolent provider for his kingdom. He brings order and safety where there is chaos and harm, organizes culture to provide prosperity for all, and ensures a free flow of energy and communication to elevate everyone around him. He serves the people along with his Queen, who is equal in stature and partnership.

This benevolent leadership can be seen in many of our cultural heroes – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, the Dalai Lama, and even CEOs of companies such as Ray Anderson of Interface, a carpet company on a mission to save the Earth’s environment.

A divine Warrior is a protector, not an invader. He creates a safe environment in order for the people to thrive and grow. He defends his territory, which could include the whole earth, from destruction and exploitation. He is also an Inner Warrior, doing good battle with his own ego and psychology, fighting to strengthen his own divine nature against the inner forces of chaos and vice. Our eco-warriors at the front of battle, including tree-sitters and environmental lawyers, are doing this battle. Spiritual warriors like philosopher Ken Wilber use their own strength and fortitude to discover the truth that includes everyone and everything, leaving nothing out.

The Hero is, curiously, part of Boy Psychology. The Hero looks like a man, but is really a boy attempting to become a man. He journeys out to save a damsel in distress or fight a dragon to prove himself. His ego seeks acknowledgment and praise for being a hero. Military officers are most often heroic types, and consequently can rationalize destroying a village in order to save it, as Lieutenant Calley did in Viet Nam. Most film heroes are of this ilk. Rarely, we see an example of the mature masculine in films, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, or Seven Samurai in Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film.

A divine Magician uses his skill and knowledge to benefit all of humankind. Doctors, healers, scholars, inventors, musicians, and wisdom leaders are examples of the virtuous Magician. In it’s negative, egoic, or boyish manifestation, it may appear as a know-it-all, using knowledge to oppress, manipulate or brutalize others. Our divine Magicians are generous creators such as Deepak Chopra, who weaves others’ wisdom into popular culture, and Bono, the Irish musician in U2 whose social activism has brought international acclaim.

The divine Lover is a man of both heart and wisdom. In partnership with his consort and partner, he brings the fullness of love to all of life. The good husband and father who works hard to love and raise his family is an example of the Lover in his fullness. He may lead a non-profit organization that is working to heal the world. David Deida, a controversial teacher of Tantra, represents the divine Lover in his fullness, bringing the power of love to his work and life, and encouraging men and women to fully embody the divine forces.

It is important to separate the masculine and feminine from the male and female genders. The virtues of the divine masculine can appear and have full flower in any body, regardless of the shape and size of its genitals. In the same way as the divine feminine has been recognized as a force that can be owned and embodied by both men and women, the divine masculine is inside us all.

As human beings, we stand between the earth and the sky. We are a product of both mother (mater = matter/matrix) and father (pater = pattern), a masculine God and a feminine Goddess, Creator and Creatrix. We are part of their divinity, and we are thus divine by design. When we actively practice and pursue our virtues, we become naturally caring, generous, loving, protective, encouraging, curious and creative.

Some virtues appear to be more expressive of the feminine, others as expressive of the masculine, but all virtues are expressions of our divine nature. When we are in our fullness as human beings, we express the best of ourselves. Our communities and our cultures thrive.

Two virtues are especially required today: vigilance and fierceness. We must be eternally vigilant, protecting ourselves and our families from negative, immature qualities – whether feminine or masculine. We must bring our fierceness as well as our love and wisdom to educate and grow ourselves, our children, and each other. Our job is to create a whole, balanced, and good life for all. May you be blessed by both the Goddess and by God in healthy partnership on your journey forward.

(c) Copyright 2010 by Lion Goodman. All rights reserved.

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