|One of the profound issues Robert Bly raises for us men concerns Initiation. He describes how traditional societies instructed growing boys about their upcoming manhood through rituals of Initiation. But our society lacks them.
Their absence can make us wonder whether they are even necessary. After all, I am a man. Don’t I know perfectly well how to be one? Why all the fuss?
Just shut up, and be a man!!
But what do we really know? What has my experience of being a man actually been? As a man what am I? Who am I? How must I speak, act, feel, be? Am I genuinely sure of myself/what I feel?
One author defines how we raise boys as a process of progressive loss. Has being a man meant loss? Am I allowed to have my own wants, set my own goals? What are my obligations to work? …to loved ones? Do I really have the “power” I supposedly possess?
The Men’s Movement has always been clear that the definitions of traditional manhood leave us poorer. It rightly questions those definitions. But the heart of Men’s Work is discovering that each man is the definition of his own manhood. How do we learn that?
Do my experiences as a man really lead me to feel my own richness? If not, how do I gain it? Just what is feeling rich anyway? And what can I learn about it from other men? Do I really need them?
This October the Village of Brothers will gather once again at Camp Hi Rock to ponder our experiences as men, to share them with one another. We gather together to explore the questions our individual experiences require.
We will use talk, silence, play, the sweat lodge and whatever other exercises we can think of to investigate being a man. As always, each man is invited to honor his own experiences: no philosophy is implied or imposed other than that each of us is the definition of himself.
We come together as a community of men so that each of us can better learn to be himself. For such “magic” to explode into life, we need the wealth each one of us contributes to the Village. Please value yourself enough to bring the gifts of your experience to the Village of Brothers this October.