“What a bunch of pretentious, narcissistic spiritual masturbation.”
The above comment came from a man angry with me—or at least with my words as penned in A Call to The Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine, an article that soared to 50,000 views and garnered 14,000 Facebook likes. In other words, a piece of writing (not the usual clever poster or video clip) that caught the collective imagination and sparked a deluge of fan-and-hate mail.
A sampling of the over 150 public comments reveal as much polarity in the male response as there is between north and south. There’s the exuberant (caps not mine) “YOU nailed it and YOU hit a HOME-RUN” and “BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRING, and MOVING!” to the vitriolic declaration the piece is “spiritual bullshit that you spew all over everyone.”
My favorite comment?
This is the kind of new age, naive nonsense that sounds to me like bloated heterosexual ego fantasies that belong more to eHarmony than to anything truly sacred.
But it wasn’t fantasy that sparked this piece. Rather, it was a muse-driven creativity, a kind of channelled demiurge with the muse hollering in my ear, not—as more than one reader assumed—because I am in relationship with a wimpy man who irritates me. Rather, this piece was written from three unrelated catalysts.Photo: Michael Julian Berz
First, simple artistic inspiration sparked A Call to the Sacred Masculine. I’d been looking at a photo that invoked for me a quality of erotic monk meets noble beauty. This self-portrait (on the right) by a photographer friend, was one of the inspirational seeds that became the beanstalk of ten daring invitations.
Second, the muse began nagging me in the baggage claims area of the Palm Springs airport, disgruntled at the hoards of men picking up their golf bags. Don’t get me and the muse wrong, golf (or any sport) is great exercise and fun. It’s more the idea that semi-retired men of leisure with unspent potency are playing when the planet is screaming for all of us—men and women—to create a new order, a new way. Because the old is clearly not working and no amount of hole-in-ones is going to resolve a darn thing. (And yes, women give up some of your Botox and spa time and discover your inner-visionary, the world needs you, forehead wrinkles and all).
But possibly the most relevant seed for A Call to the Sacred Masculine? My mother’s death under the wheels of truck when I was a thirty-nine-year old housewife, sleep-walking through my life.
I had told myself I should be happy. I’d married my highly successful economist-husband-soulmate, birthed two beautiful children, lived in an affluent waterfront community and was healthy. What more could I ask for? I had all the prizes some people spend a lifetime acquiring.
Within a year of losing my mother (my father had died suddenly two years earlier), I was on a fast track to demolish a 15-year marriage by instigating a long-distance affair with a man I’d met (how cliché) online. Even as I knew that this man would not be my next-in-line, I dove heart-first into falling in love with a romantic projection of my own yearning for wholeness.
The hole my mother left by her dramatic leaving was a bottomless need inside my fractured psyche for a Big Love. I wanted something or someone to sweep me off my feet and into a place of vulnerability and mutual acceptance. I wanted to feel safe sharing all of me, all of my sadness, anger and despair, with a beloved. And not just any beloved—but a powerfully present male who would walk fearlessly beside me as I navigated the chaos of my grief.
Ten years and several relationships later, I came to the shattering realization the rescue of a Big Love that drove me to a divorce and propelled me through seven love affairs was, all along, a mirage.
Eventually, it became evident that the Big Love Lover I so wanted was not coming until I rose up in my own life and staked a claim to my own fierce feminine. If I was going to ask for a King, I’d darn well better act like a Queen.
In this way, it seems A Call to the Sacred Masculine has clearly struck a collective nerve, reaching into the imaginations of men and women who yearn for an elevated matrimony of man and woman. This yearning for a powerfully masculine and feminine presence is not romantic and stereotypical, as some would assume, but rather archetypal and alchemical.
The call for a Sacred Masculine to meet a Divine Feminine is not about new rules for relating or a better marriage formula. I did not write a list of demands as some men have suggested. Rather, this piece was meant to be a provocative invitation to men to engage the God-King-Warrior archetypes in their lives. To simply be heroic and human.
This sacred masculine current is not about manhood anymore than the divine feminine current is about womanhood (these currents are in each of us, regardless of gender). Yet the fact is, I have a vagina that receives. A man has a penis that penetrates. In a heterosexual union both partners have the capacity to access their penetrative and receptive natures, for the man at times to be soft and the woman to be hard. And both have the capacity to reach for a more noble version of what it means to be a man, or a woman, in this world.
When the gender differences are elevated beyond the stereotypes of the brutish male and the delicate female, then we are calling to an archetypal potency within each sex. The purposeful, discriminating, courageous and magnanimous man. The nurturing, creative, intuitive and receptive woman. And in both, a call to move beyond the narcissism of personal growth and material acquisition. To grow beyond the modern-day affliction of psychotherapeutic navel gazing and all the excuses for less-than-greatness.
The Dalai Lama made headlines with his bold 2009 statement that, “The world will be saved by the western woman.” Maybe he said this because he sees women breaking old rules to make new ones that work, or maybe he wanted to provoke men, stir them from status-quo complacency. But the way I see it, nothing of lasting value will be achieved unless both men and women unite in a quest for individual greatness and the greater good.
It’s time for all of us to be Sacred and Divine, which is nothing less than a call to see with an eagle-eye view and a mother’s heart, what the world needs.
And just maybe, to get off the golf course and out of the spa, and to act on it.
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