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Author Topic: Pagan guy talk  (Read 4059 times)

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2017, 12:11:59 am »
The book, Sacred Paths for Modern Men, is a great read that addresses your very question Altair.

The author states there are 12 archetypes for men, each of which we may or may not go through one at a time or have multiple at a time. The twelve - if I  remember correctly - are:

  • Divine Child
    Lover
    Warrior
    Trickster
    Green Man
    Guide/Teacher
    Craftsman
    Magician
    Destroyer
    King
    Healer
    Sacrificed One

While the text is easy to read, these are not inclusive of all the male-oriented mysteries available to us IMHO.

I'm on the subway right now, but did find this link to be of interest to this thread: https://meadmuse.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/male-mysteries-pagan-male-archetypes/


Aside from what I posted above... From everything that I have read - and before I read the book I mentioned before - I felt that there was something missing from the typical Warrior/Father/Sage cycle for men. Like others have stated, not everyone is a mother/father, not everyone fits the warrior/maiden or the other stages at all in their lives. So, we need to find stages that do make sense.

The ones that I listed in my previous post make sense to me for the most part except for Destroyer and Trickster. Either I haven't entered/experienced these phases yet, or I just don't understand the meaning of them, but the others are easy to comprehend, and I think I have gone through or am going through now. I know right now I'm a Guide/Healer/Lover - which is probably my default mode - but there other channels, so to speak, are geared for certain situations.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2017, 10:04:27 am »
The MMC archetypes are basically rooted in a heavily reductionist model of womanhood as being essentially divided into categories based on reproductive utility, after all.  And that doesn't really have any parallels for the male, because maleness is defined by, well, everything else, from that paradigm - except for the archetypal formulations of maleness that are Forbidden.  (Those can have iconic status but are not treated as aspirational.)

Also, that at least some of the original MMC models are very heavily based on actual specific physical experiences.

(Which of course works a lot better for people for whom the specific physical experiences of menstruation and menopause line up with their stages of life, and their personal view of their gender identity, which is to say, there are tons of people for whom one or both don't line up in tidy stages. Between that and the fact some people are childfree by choice or by circumstance, and the MMC model is very fraught for a lot of people, and honestly, one that's been falling out of use in a lot of situations for good reason. But on the other hand, one can at least see a biological timeline for why people might look at the thing as stages, rather than different roles people take on in an overlapping manner in different parts of one's life.)

Which is to say, that plenty of women-identified folk have opted out of MMC or at least expanded it significantly. (LaSara Firefox's Jailbreaking the Goddess is an interesting recent book on the topic.

One place I'd suggest is worth further exploration are the different kinds of roles modeled by the various fraternal organizations (the Freemasons, the Oddfellows, etc.) over time - many of these groups are still around, and available to men, but they also have a long history in many cases of finding ways to develop different kinds of skills or expertise or things people become identified with, that are more designed for an industrial or technological age and the relevant communities - keepers of knowledge, people who make the spaces function, people who have a protective role, people who provide direct leadership, and so on and so forth.

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Altair

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2017, 10:03:20 pm »
Which is to say, that plenty of women-identified folk have opted out of MMC or at least expanded it significantly. (LaSara Firefox's Jailbreaking the Goddess is an interesting recent book on the topic.

Interestingly enough, I was in Barnes and Noble last night and came across this very book. I thought her idea was intriguing, and I love that we pagan folk continue to innovate with our spiritual approaches, instead of feeling hidebound by precedent.

But her replacement archetypes--Femella (girl), Potens (full of potential, bursting forth), Creatrix (mother, author, creator), Sapientia (wise woman, master of her craft, teacher, leader, scientist), and Antiqua (old woman)--aren't especially female, at least at the superficial glance I've been able to give it so far. In this very thread we've already talked about the Prodigious Child as a male archetype, and sever the other 4 from their female naming conventions and they could just as easily apply to men.

(And to be honest, is this really all that different from maid-mother-crone? "Mother" can be reinterpreted as meaning someone who creates, whether life or otherwise. In which case this five-stage archetypal system is more particularized in that it adds two intermediate stages, but not all that fundamentally different.)

I'm beginning to wonder if, once we divorce the archetypes from their biological differentiators--reproduction for women, testosterone for men--if there's really any basis for gender-based archetypes at all. Maybe pan-gender archetypes are the way to go. It certainly would seem very contemporary, considering all the gender fluidity in our modern society.

Yet I can't shake the feeling that at least some of us need pagan archetypes that address our gendered existence. Does anybody else see that need?


« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 10:09:06 pm by Altair »
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2017, 10:08:03 pm »
The book, Sacred Paths for Modern Men, is a great read that addresses your very question Altair.

The author states there are 12 archetypes for men, each of which we may or may not go through one at a time or have multiple at a time. The twelve - if I  remember correctly - are:

Divine Child
Lover
Warrior
Trickster
Green Man
Guide/Teacher
Craftsman
Magician
Destroyer
King
Healer
Sacrificed One


Again I'm struck by the question: What's particularly male about these? Perhaps Warrior, Destroyer, and Sacrificed One skew to the heavily testosteroned; but the rest seem to serve just as easily as female archetypes.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2017, 10:20:00 pm »
One place I'd suggest is worth further exploration are the different kinds of roles modeled by the various fraternal organizations (the Freemasons, the Oddfellows, etc.) over time - many of these groups are still around, and available to men, but they also have a long history in many cases of finding ways to develop different kinds of skills or expertise or things people become identified with, that are more designed for an industrial or technological age and the relevant communities - keepers of knowledge, people who make the spaces function, people who have a protective role, people who provide direct leadership, and so on and so forth.


Worth looking into.

Of specifically pagan fraternal organizations, I know of two, both gay-oriented: The Radical Faeries (I don't know how deep their paganism runs) and the Minoan Brotherhood (I don't know if they're still active). I'm not much for a group setting for my paganism, but I've always been curious if men who participate in these groups get what they seek out of it.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2017, 12:26:47 am »
I'm beginning to wonder if, once we divorce the archetypes from their biological differentiators--reproduction for women, testosterone for men--if there's really any basis for gender-based archetypes at all. Maybe pan-gender archetypes are the way to go. It certainly would seem very contemporary, considering all the gender fluidity in our modern society.

Outside of a rigidly enforced and limited-spheres approach to the matter, I don't think that strongly gendered archetypal figures are feasable at all, without running into "but why does this have to be fe/male?"  And it's worth noting the existence of gender-crossing gods and prodding at what things were the case in their relationships and perspectives - for example, whether the fierce independence of Athena and Artemis was necessary for them to perform Warrior and Hunter in a gender-divided social context, or for that matter Dionysos's struggles for legitimacy and whether they're at all linked to his androgyny.

That doesn't mean that the images are necessarily androgynous or ungendered.  My own archetypal (I actually tend towards Impressionistic in my model of it - models of divinity that are more Impressionistic than Romantic, I wrote about this a while back) stuff has entities who are gendered in it, some of them more than incidentally.  But it's not About Gender unless it's About Gender.  (I could probably generate some bafflegab about why Law/Mercy happens to be female and Void/Magic happens to be male but it would just be that, bafflegab.  That's how they come out in the traditions I'm drawing from, and that's how I experience them, and whatever.  I can't work up the energy to make a Thing out of it anymore.)

Quote
Yet I can't shake the feeling that at least some of us need pagan archetypes that address our gendered existence. Does anybody else see that need?

I think a lot depends on whether or not someone ever encounters said archetypes that are adequately in conversation with their gendered existence.  It strikes me as a luxury I've never been afforded, so I can't speak to whether or not it's a plausible need.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2017, 12:57:43 pm »
I'm beginning to wonder if, once we divorce the archetypes from their biological differentiators--reproduction for women, testosterone for men--if there's really any basis for gender-based archetypes at all. Maybe pan-gender archetypes are the way to go. It certainly would seem very contemporary, considering all the gender fluidity in our modern society.

Yet I can't shake the feeling that at least some of us need pagan archetypes that address our gendered existence. Does anybody else see that need?

IMO, there is no basis for it anymore, but there once was.

In the modern world- or modern Western Society, more specifically- I definitely feel that the need for gendered archetypes has faded over the last few decades. In the past, the majority of Western cultures were majorly gendered and patriarchal, so those archetypes were born out of them. Also, when neo-paganism first took off, gender-identity wasn't really a thing; you were either male or female, and most anyone who identified otherwise had a mind to keep well hidden. Androgynous, bi-gender, agender, and third gender identities just did not exist, or people who felt that way definitely didn't have a term to express it, and wouldn't have if they did.

The maiden-mother-crone archetype and the female-oriented nature of many neo-pagan traditions was a reaction to that patriarchal religion and society. We don't need that quite as much any more, considering the awareness and momentum equal rights activists have gathered, and the increasing openness to different gender identities. That's not to say that the patriarchy is completely dismantled- far from it- but that a "girl power!" model is less needed now to raise women up, and an "everyone can do whatever!" is more what people are looking for, to make men, women, and everyone in-between/outside/encompassing those identities more equal.

That said, those of us who are firmly cis-gender do need a role model from time to time, and that's fine. There's plenty of gendered archetypes to go through, as we've discussed. The problem comes in where our gender expression doesn't mesh with the traditional ideas of gender. Myself being a queer woman who presents as somewhere from androgynous to fairly masculine (but still identifies as a woman), I find it hard to relate to most of the female archetypes. Even warrior-women like Artemis are difficult for me; they are often eternal virgins and even prudish. I'd imagine gay men find a similar issue with the hyper-sexuality of many male role models in mythology- this of course being aimed at women the great majority of the time.

So tl;dr, no, I don't think the gendered archetypes are necessary for society anymore, but yes, I do feel like some of us need a role model that relates to our gender identity and presentation to assure us that we're legitimate. Unfortunately, sometimes those archetypes are difficult to find, either for those of us who identify as part of the binary yet don't express ourselves traditionally, or those who fall outside of the binary altogether.

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2017, 03:53:23 pm »
Men, I think, have less to go on in today's paganism. (Maybe because much of neopaganism evolved in response to centuries of patriarchal religion.) What male archetypes have you found meaningful in paganism? Do you think there's anything especially male that gets addressed or needs addressing in a pagan spiritual context?

While this isn't a uniquely male archetype (I work with a similar feminine one as well, and they blend together a lot), I've drawn a lot from the mythos of what's often called the dying and rising god, who I usually refer to as the dismembered god. This is generally interpreted in modern scholarship as a story to do with agriculture and the planting and harvest of grain--particularly in the case of its association with Osiris.

I work with Dionysos and kin primarily, though, so it has somewhat different meanings for me, mostly to do with conquering internal foes that tear apart your own mind and rising anew.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2017, 09:51:06 am »
I could probably generate some bafflegab about why Law/Mercy happens to be female and Void/Magic happens to be male but it would just be that, bafflegab.  That's how they come out in the traditions I'm drawing from, and that's how I experience them, and whatever.

I hear you. For me, Death has always been a goddess, not a god. I could give you all sorts of reasons, but the bottom line is, it's instinctual.

Which brings up an interesting point: The notion of gender seems to be deeply ingrained in the human psyche. The experience of transgender people underscores this; their mental gender doesn't match the body they were born into. I'm fairly certain that every language in the world has separate words for father and mother, son and daughter, brother and sister, etc., instead of relying on gender neutral words like parent, child, and sibling. ("Have you met my child, Bob?"--said no one, ever.) Indeed, many languages go so far as to assign gender to inanimate objects; one of the most annoying aspects of learning any Romance language--French, Spanish, Italian, etc.--is constantly guessing whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

All of this suggests to me that even in a post-gender society, gender will still loom large in our psyches, and gendered archetypes will have a meaningful role.

Quote
I think a lot depends on whether or not someone ever encounters said archetypes that are adequately in conversation with their gendered existence.  It strikes me as a luxury I've never been afforded, so I can't speak to whether or not it's a plausible need.

Here's another issue: Are all archetypes welcome? I get the distinct impression (someone smack me down if I'm talking out my ass) that in Wicca and related paths, it's OK (sort of) to be male, as long as you're not too male about it. I get it; the brutes who enforced patriarchy for so long are not welcome. But there are those of us brutes who have no interest in enforcing anyone's patriarchy but who revel in hypermasculinity, in feats of physical strength, in thinking about sex 99.9% of the time, in the rush we get in our loins when someone catches our eye. Yes, this has too often led to some beastly behavior; but it doesn't have to lead to that. It's part of who some of us guys are, and we should have a space in earth-centered paganism to embrace it, explore it, understand it, and harness it properly.

Am I wrong about this? Am I asking too much?
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 09:54:11 am by Altair »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2017, 11:34:43 am »
Here's another issue: Are all archetypes welcome? I get the distinct impression (someone smack me down if I'm talking out my ass) that in Wicca and related paths, it's OK (sort of) to be male, as long as you're not too male about it.

I mean, I'm not Wiccan and my experience with Wicca is all on the IRAB end of things but I think it's worth noting that several major Wiccan traditions are named after men and none after women.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2017, 02:49:43 pm »
Which brings up an interesting point: The notion of gender seems to be deeply ingrained in the human psyche. The experience of transgender people underscores this; their mental gender doesn't match the body they were born into. I'm fairly certain that every language in the world has separate words for father and mother, son and daughter, brother and sister, etc., instead of relying on gender neutral words like parent, child, and sibling. ("Have you met my child, Bob?"--said no one, ever.) Indeed, many languages go so far as to assign gender to inanimate objects; one of the most annoying aspects of learning any Romance language--French, Spanish, Italian, etc.--is constantly guessing whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

All of this suggests to me that even in a post-gender society, gender will still loom large in our psyches, and gendered archetypes will have a meaningful role.

I agree with this to some extent. It's obvious that gender in some ways plays a deep and significant part in the human psyche (for many people, not necessarily all). The issue that I've seen in that for a while, though, is that in doing so it doesn't often conform to common societal archetypes of gender--because those are all created by various societies. Even if gender itself is innate (it may be, it may not be--probably varies by person), it rarely matches up with gender roles.

So those of us who seek useful gender archetypes for our religious or personal narrative work are going to come up with all sorts of different ones.

Gender is a huge part of my spiritual work. But that doesn't manifest as worshipping an MMC goddess and a dual god (or whatever the current popular notion of how gods reflect gender is). It manifests as worshipping a syncretic genderfluid deityblort consisting of a goddess who constantly toys with and inverts patriarchal assumptions about women, a god who characterizes himself specifically as queer-masculine in opposition to his society's expectations of dominant men, and a Divine Child who contains all the genders reflected by both his parents.

And I am trans. I am dysphoric trans in particular and do have complicated social, physical, and sexual issues with my body. But when I filter it through my gods this becomes less about "being born in the wrong body" and more about being born in an incomplete body that I need to undertake a journey to perfect. Would that necessarily work for anyone else? I don't know. It's my experience, though.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2017, 03:04:04 pm »
I get the distinct impression (someone smack me down if I'm talking out my ass) that in Wicca and related paths, it's OK (sort of) to be male, as long as you're not too male about it.

I mean, one of the big Wiccan to-dos I attended in the past few years was a Beltane where in the Men's Mysteries my husband and others got to wrestle with each other naked and do feats of strength and other hypermasculine stuff and the Women's Mysteries had us playing with face paint and blowing bubbles.

(Which I ended up escaping to watch the Men's Mysteries because a) I'm not a fucking woman and b) screw that, thanks.)

As well as several other Wiccan things where men are encouraged to embrace that side of them.

So no, it's not been my experience that Wicca, in general, is against "super-male male-ness" or however you want to put it. It has been my experience that Wicca, in general, is pretty gender essentialist and unfriendly to those of us who are non-binary, but also I have been in Wiccan ceremonies where I've been actively welcomed as non-binary, so obviously it's not a one-size-fits-all thing.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2017, 03:26:20 pm »


I hear you. For me, Death has always been a goddess, not a god. I could give you all sorts of reasons, but the bottom line is, it's instinctual.

I mean, Death is femme for me because I read Sandman at a formative age, it doesn't have to be particularly deep. XD

Quote
("Have you met my child, Bob?"--said no one, ever.)

Maybe not but I talk about my kid all the time.

Quote
Here's another issue: Are all archetypes welcome? I get the distinct impression (someone smack me down if I'm  out my ass) that in Wicca and related paths, it's OK (sort of) to be male, as long as you're not too male about it. I get it; the brutes who enforced patriarchy for so long are not welcome. But there are those of us brutes who have no interest in enforcing anyone's patriarchy but who revel in hypermasculinity, in feats of physical strength, in thinking about sex 99.9% of the time, in the rush we get in our loins when someone catches our eye. Yes, this has too often led to some beastly behavior; but it doesn't have to lead to that. It's part of who some of us guys are, and we should have a space in earth-centered paganism to embrace it, explore it, understand it, and harness it properly.

Am I wrong about this? Am I asking too much?

However you want to decorate your maypole, man. I mean, I don't hang with a lot of Wiccans in particular but I always got the impression that's what Beltane is for.

For obvious reasons "hey I've got a dick and it works" is not what I'm looking for in a male archetype. (Ironically I've been reading this thread feeling like I didn't have anything useful to add to it.)

What I have been working on with Thor here and there is figuring out what it means to be a man, and to carry and present myself as a man socially, without having to pick up the harmful performance of masculinity. Some of that has been performing "husband" and "father" without the modern American "extra kid mom has to care for" narrative. Some of it has been learning to assert myself at work without talking over female coworkers and managers. Being a gentleman without being condescending.

Maybe because I was butch before I realized I could transition, I don't think of stuff as male just because it's masculine, if that makes sense?

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2017, 03:31:35 pm »
Which brings up an interesting point: The notion of gender seems to be deeply ingrained in the human psyche. The experience of transgender people underscores this; their mental gender doesn't match the body they were born into.

Except when that's not the experience of a given trans person. Which it often isn't. (Note: I know you didn't say 'trapped in the wrong body', and I'm guessing you avoided it because you knew that narrative was flawed, but how you expressed it instead isn't all that much better.)

For me, my body isn't the issue (and I spent many years feeling Not Trans Enough because of the narrative that says 'real' trans people are at odds with their bodies); the issue is that society assigns me a gender based on (what they know, or often just guess, about) my body.

Quote
All of this suggests to me that even in a post-gender society, gender will still loom large in our psyches, and gendered archetypes will have a meaningful role.

As a genderqueer person, I've thought about this a lot, and the conclusion I've come to is that personal identity will continue to loom large, including aspects of identity that we currently class as being gender.

That's a very short summary; if you (or anyone else) wants to continue this particular aspect of the discussion, I'm going to make a thread (in Cauldron Community, for the extra bit of privacy for people sharing personal experience) so that it doesn't take over this thread, which it could easily do.

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2017, 03:37:01 pm »


And I am trans. I am dysphoric trans in particular and do have complicated social, physical, and sexual issues with my body. But when I filter it through my gods this becomes less about "being born in the wrong body" and more about being born in an incomplete body that I need to undertake a journey to perfect. Would that necessarily work for anyone else? I don't know. It's my experience, though.

Mine is generally shapeshifting work, and that shifted from internal to external when I was able to start transitioning. So for what its worth, that actually makes a lot of sense to me.

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