The Sacred Masculine
Image Source A Picture of Balder, A Norse God of Light and Beauty
I’d like to bring your attention to a very insightful article I just read on the concept of “The Sacred Masculine.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE. There is much in the Pagan community about getting in touch with your Sacred Feminine side. It is definitely important for men AND women to get in touch with their feminine nature. This could involve meditating on the lives of different Goddesses who inspire you. Yet not as often mentioned is the concept of the Sacred Masculine.
The author of the article mentioned above goes over four important male archetypes in myth and spirituality:
- The King, The Warrior, The Magician and The Lover.
Each archetype has a positive and negative aspect. Also, these roles aren’t limited to males.
- “The King archetype is the fully conscious male commanding leadership with respect. He is associated with authority, order, law and direction. He has two shadow ‘wings’ identified as the Tyrant and the Weakling. The immature boy version of the King is the Divine Child that can also be a child-tyrant or a weakling (The Sacred Masculine, Tim Pickles).”
- Do you need to be a king to fully realize this aspect of your life? No. This is an aspect of your life that you come into when you are in any position of power, authority and respect. So if you are an office manager, project leader, parent, or any other position of authority – this could apply to you. Yet the positive or negative aspect of this archetype is dependent on how you choose to use your power. Usually it is best when a person comes into the king role after a series of trials and tribulations that test their valor and wisdom. The most prominent example is the story of Gilgamesh. He was a greedy and selfish king in the beginning. Yet a series of trials and tribulations unleashed by the Gods helped transform him into a more thoughtful and wise king.
- Examples From Legend: Zeus, Odin, Osiris, Gilgamesh, King Arthur
- Modern Legends: Aragorn (Lord of The Rings), Adama (Battlestar Galactica), Ned Stark (Game of Thrones), Jon Snow (Game of Thrones)
- “The Warrior archetype is the holy campaigner or activist. He has courage, persistence and devotion. He has two shadow aspects of the Sadist and the Masochist. His immature boy version is the Hero, that can descend into the bully or the coward (The Sacred Masculine, Tim Pickles).”
- Modern people this archetype could apply to: Members of the military, People fighting for a cause, Firefighters, Police, Security, Martial Artists, people in general who fight some kind of battle – metaphorical or physical. The positive warrior fights for a cause that is much larger than himself. But the negative warrior fights for himself only. Which kind of warrior are you?
- Examples From Legend: Thor, Aries, Achilles, Hercules, Spartacus
- Modern Legends: Aragorn (Lord of The Rings), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), Super Heroes, The Hound (Game of Thrones)
- “The Magician archetype is full of consciousness, growth and transformation, often associated with our ‘third eye’ of insight and intuition. His shadow side can be exposed as the Manipulator or the denying Innocent. His immature boy version is the Prococious Child, that can descend into the trickster or the dummy (The Sacred Masculine, Tim Pickles).”
- Modern Application: Scholars, Spiritual Practitioners and Teachers. The positive Magician brings insight and intuition to his pupils. The negative Magician manipulates and cons his pupils for money or other personal gain.
- Examples From Legend: Odin, Thoth, Merlin, Marduk
- Modern Legends: Yoda (Starwars), Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Gandalf (Lord of the Rings), Bran Stark (Game of Thrones)
- “The Lover archetype is sensual and delightful, appreciating goodness, truth and beauty. His shadow sides include the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover. His immature boy self is the Oedipal Child, that can descend into mama’s boy or the dreamer (The Sacred Masculine, Tim Pickles).”
- What kind of lover are you? Are you sensual, romantic, compassionate and considerate? These are the positive aspects of the Lover. The negative lover is possessive, obsessive, stalker-like, clingy, adulterous and worst of all – a rapist. In modern literature and movies, the more positive aspects of the strong lover are sometimes mingled with the negative aspects of a possessive stalker type – I hate it when they do that!
- Examples From Legend: Eros, Zeus, Lancelot, Apollo, Adonis
- Modern Legends: Helo (Battle Star Galactica), Jamie Lanister (Game of Thrones) and Aragorn (Lord of The Rings)
In most epic tales, these four character types are all included. The Odyssey, The Illiad, King Arthur, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Game of Thrones and even Battlestar Galactica include these archetypes. The other key part of legends is the transition from boyhood into manhood. This usually takes place via trials by fire and initiatory rites. Most tribal societies have very painful and dangerous rites of passage that a boy is required to endure before he can become a man. One of the more extreme examples is the ritual of making a boy wear a glove filled with live bullet ants for more than 10 minutes (Bullet Ant Ritual). Some modern day religions include this rite, (i.e. bar mitzvah’s), but the closest thing most boys have today is “graduating high school.”
The “Man/boy” difference is often what separates the negative aspects of the 4 male archetypes from the positive ones. A corrupt ruler, an aimless warrior, a manipulative mage and an abusive lover, in many ways, are simply children who never grew up.
In the modern media, the negative aspects of the four male archetypes are often displayed more than the positive. We see too many corrupt rulers with no idea how to lead, wars in which women and children are a more common target than soldiers, false religious demagogues who are trying to manipulate us through fear and money, and some of the most possessive, whiny, wimpy, stalker-like and misogynistic males in our romantic stories.
Some people say that mythology or spirituality is useless. But think about how much better the world would be if people aspired to be like King Arthur, Lancelot, Thor or Odin. Even if no one can be perfect, these are better role models than the gangsters celebrated by contemporary culture. When I say gangster, I’m including the political and financial ones in Wall Street as well.
So take some time to meditate on the Gods or Heroes who inspire you. They could be the ancient figures of legend. Or they could be everyday people in your life. The power of the immortal Gods is within us all.
Does the Male Get Enough Attention in Modern Paganism?
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