Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#102. Dwight Judy's "Healing the Male Soul"

ARCHIVE. For a list of all my published posts: 

This is the second in a new series of blog entries beginning with #101. It is a collection of notes and essays from my files all dealing in one way or another with the emerging new religious consciousness. They are mostly things I've written over the last decade or so to clarify my own thoughts but which I now want to make available for anyone who might be interested. -Sam

If you have questions and think I might help, you're welcome to send me a note: sam@macspeno.com


Book Review, November 99
HEALING THE MALE SOUL: Christianity and the Mythic Journey
Dwight Judy (Crossroads, 1992)

I like this book a lot. Its ideas are simply expressed, there’s nothing negative or strident, it presumes an acceptance of the basics of Christianity and assumes that the reader wants to grow. It could serve as an excellent prologue to the study of the Russian sophiologists. The author is a Methodist minister who went on to study Jung and become a counselor and creative teacher at <<<<<. He holds to Jung’s view that, despite two thousand years of history, the core of the Western psyche has never really been touched by Christianity.

His views have an anthropological and evolutionary base; he begins with the transition from the Neolithic age of the Great Mother to the patriarchal period now ending. That transition (about five thousand years ago) was marked by the simultaneous emergence of a great cosmic Ego, the Father in the sky, and the ego-awareness of individual humans. He also makes clear that ego awareness identifies itself with both rationality and maleness. He sees the last several thousand years as a battle between two expressions of male energy which he calls the hero-warrior and the hero-transcendent. By hero-transcendent he means the desert ascetics and early Christian monks, which for simplicity I’ve call hero-hermit. He devotes a chapter to each of these expressions of male energy, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses, and making the point strongly that it’s now time for these opposites to be united. He does not emphasize their union in order to save the environment or for the accomplishment of some other purpose, but simply because it is now time for the male soul to be healed. He calls the unified male energies the hero-creative or the hero…?

Judy says that the energies of the hero-warrior and hero-hermit arose in response to the sexual rites and human sacrifice of the Neolithic age, prior to the emergence of human ego-awareness from nature and the Great Mother. They are in conflict: the hero-warrior seeks to dominate the world, nature and the feminine, while the hero-hermit flees from world, nature and the feminine.

He has an excellent chapter comparing the biblical and Greek images of the Fall (i.e., the emergence of consciousness) as a shift from a focus on Great Mother to that of the Sky Father. And he notes that today we have exhausted both the rational emphasis on control and dominance over nature, as well as the monastic emphasis on denial of the goodness of the earth. The call today is to see the individual as the carrier of human cultural (and thus cosmic) evolution. The new male reality is the hero-creative, or better, hero-co-creative with God.

Warriors served the City of Man, the Kingdom of Power, life as Bios, while hermits served the City of God, the Kingdom of Love, life as Zoe. The call now is neither to dominate nor to flee but to create a better world: to participate as co-creators along with God in the world’s transfiguration. Judy says that this is precisely what the Grail Legend is all about, and he offers a number of fascinating insights, based on the Grail stories, into the contemporary healing of the male soul.

Judy sees the Grail as representing the goodness and bounty of nature; it is the cornucopia, the tree of life, all good things. He says that with the Grail stories Western manhood begins to come of age. Male needs are many: equality with the feminine, a bonding of males with one another, an equality of sons with their fathers, communion with one’s ancestors. All males need courage; it is the great male virtue. Warriors also need fortitude (persistent courage), hermits need vision, and the shamanic contemplatives need the ability to serve the world lovingly. This ability to serve the world lovingly is based on a new relationship with earth and the feminine: a renewed spirit of blessing, hope, pleasure, and appreciation of life; it is based on the experience of the great marvel, the “magnificent here and now,” being part of the living incarnate cosmos, alienated from nothing either within or without, and relating especially to the inner feminine as one would to an outer person: as lover, playmate, companion, guide, taskmaster.

Warrior energies need to be directed toward use for the good of the community; i.e., Bios needs to be directed by zoe. The specific form this zoe energy takes is wonder, the starting point of the shaman and contemplative. While the Great Mother required animal and human sacrifice, the male age versions of this are war, murder, suicide, the slow suicide of the drug culture. The only sacrifice being asked for the new Third Age of the Holy Spirit is the sacrifice of the ego’s narrowness, in order that one might be in communion with all. Judy stresses that the joy and delight of this communion was real in early Christianity but that it was tamed by, especially, St. Paul and St. Augustine. He also stresses that it was precisely this collective containment that was opposed by the earliest desert monks, who put great emphasis “on the value of one soul.” The desert monks discovered that beyond the curious and rational mind there is a simple mind, one that can simply behold in awe. This perception of the limits of the rational allows direct perception and communion with the Mystery.

If we inhibit fantasy we have no creativity. If we inhibit the senses we have psychosomatic ills. So, included in the values of the healed male are the imagination and the senses. Each man is called to the adventure and exploration of building the earth, contributing via the arts and sciences, for example, to the transfigured cosmos. When the warrior energies focused on the earth are combined with the attentiveness of the desert contemplative, the result can be an individual capable of willingly placing himself in loving service to humanity for the renewal of the earth. And this, says Judy, is what Christianity is really all about: the word made flesh, zoe in the midst of bios, God dwelling with us, the force that moves the sun and stars available in the here and now of everyday life. And no more sea (chaos), no more death, no more tears, no more sorrow. To the one who drinks fully of life, all things are given, so that the man whose soul is healed becomes Christ the King, Lord of All, Pantokrator, the creative hero within who makes all things new. Judy specifically asks that, just as we have identified with the crucified Christ for a long time, can we now identify with the male energies of the Christus Pantokrator?

What a wonderful alternative image of manhood from the conventional ideal, both secular and religious! As Judy says, Bios energy gives its glory to zoe energy. “The kings of the earth come with their treasures.” “Nothing lost, nothing wasted, all for life is saved at last.”


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