The story of war and how it has impacted us, and in particular the male body and soul, is a narrative of our time that needs to be told.
Locked up, unexpressed grief has weighed down on our cultural story for generations, stifling creativity, compassion, open-heartedness, and the feminine principle- or the soul of the world.
While ‘Remembrance Sunday’ is traditionally honoured there is confusion in the hearts and minds of many.
Do we honour and grieve the deaths of those who died? Do we remain silent and ignore the significance of the day. Or do we proclaim a statement of dissent by wearing a white poppy?
While we celebrate our veterans we seldom acknowledge the emotional scarring they have carried their whole life. We do not acknowledge how this has affected their families and communities, nor do we pay attention to the unresolved ghosts of war and the inherent intergenerational trauma.
Beyond tradition and societal protocol deeper questions are raised. What have we been warring for? Cultural historians and anthropologists tell us that human beings have always warred in all cultures through all times. The legacy of war includes endless variations of meaning for the reasons why, but at root it is a separation between humans.
On an inner level it reflects back to us the split we feel within ourselves and the ways we are vulnerable to mass manipulation.
In a post industrial, neo liberal culture what are warring for?
War that sanctions and upholds corrupt systems and agendas in the name of power, greed and control is a terrible degradation of human life. In the wheels of consumerism and corporatocracy, human life is expendable.
The military industrial complex, nefarious political systems and mass psychological manipulation continues with impunity. Crimes against humanity and the earth endure despite growing anti-war and anti corporate feelings. War is a thirsty, well oiled machine, operating according to its own laws, in service to growth at all cost, insane wealth accumulation, power, and narcissistic need.
We discuss these things, there is a conversation. More and more people are waking up to the matrix-like illusions of our culture and agreeing that the Emperor appears to be wearing no clothes. But what of our inner landscapes? What of the devastation inflicted upon the human soul? What does it mean that young men (and women) still march off to war, full of zeal and promise only to return confounded, lost to themselves and their families?
In the days of the temple priestess, it was recognised that after having experienced the horrors of war, men were too unbalanced and discordant to integrate back into community life and would need to ‘have the war taken out’ of them by the sacred temple priestesses, a blessing from the goddess- before being reintegrated with their family and community.
There is no such care taken today when soldier return to their wives and families. We accept that ptsd is a common symptom of war and that many are afflicted by it, but it is not properly addressed.
In a wider cultural context the story of ‘man’ remains hidden, a secret reservoir dammed with layers of conditioning about what it is to be a man. The story of ‘woman’, on the other hand, is in full flow… the river of tears has burst its bank. The women’s movement, the return of the sacred feminine, and mobilisation of the female political voice are all narratives of our current human story.
There is a movement towards cleansing the hearts and soul of men through groups and initiatives however it is slow and support is limited. Many men report feeling remote from their inner ‘feeling’ world, and yet others are not aware of an inner feeling world at all…boys don’t cry.
In many ways patriarchy has been more damning to men that it has to women. In that system women is always ‘other’ and had something to rub against, men appeared to hold the insider position, the male gaze is myopic to itself. Within that system, ‘male’ assumes the position of subject- unreflexive and secure in his dominant position while ‘female’- as object has something to challenge.
The fight continues, whether on the physical, emotional or spiritual battlefield (not forgetting the virtual battlefield with its endless heave of pornographic reduction and cheap, but ultimately disconnected thrills). Many men are struggling to find their place.
‘So above, so below. So within, so without.’ This saying from ‘The Hermetica’ speaks to the reflection between private and public realities… the outer state of the planet and the inner human condition. The outer and inner are not separate, the war we experience on the outside is symptomatic of the conflict we feel on the inside. It is conscious presence that can save us- a willingness to feel the ways that the war machine moves in us… how it moves in me.
By contacting the abandoned and neglected feelings and experiences, by breathing life into the stagnant and wounded places we find a way out of the wasteland.
– In support of men’s groups.
– In support of better treatment and compassionate awareness of the effects of war on the human soul and on the earth.
– In support of people waking up to the reality of the war machine.
– In support of the value of human life.
And, in loving respect to all men