Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
Review by Steven B. Herrmann, PhD, MFT
In “The Hidden Spirituality of Men” Matthew Fox presents a very interesting discussion on Sacred Marriages. I like what he is doing very much. In his book he takes an extroverted focus that is liberating and for this I am grateful. He refers “not to one sacred marriage but to multiple sacred marriages” and adds: “Archetypes, like stories, make demands on us” (2008, xxi, xxiv). Then he says, “A rebirth of culture and self comes from one’s soul and not from institutions” (xxiv). Thus, in exploring “ancient and new masculine images that allow men breathing room to be our best and deeper selves: our wild and fierce selves, our gentle and loving selves, our soaring and mystical selves … Our heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual selves” (xxvi) he is getting at the heart of the current debate in our world regarding marriage.
Myths are where changes in our soul-concept can be seen in its budding forms. Myths awaken us. Fox asks: “What can homosexual men and heterosexual men working together give birth to?” (124) As a result of instructional teachings by gay and heterosexual men in our culture, who are helping us dissolve the walls of homophobia, we are being liberated in our ideas about the soul, and our hidden spirituality of the Sacred Masculine is being Awakened. In “Other Sacred Unions,” he has a marvelous section “A Gay and Straight Wedding,” where he speaks of the marriage between heterosexuals and homosexuals in an outer way: healing homophobia in our social relations will bring about a Sacred Marriage of Masculine and Feminine in our world. He states it this way: “The `marriage’ [the Sacred Marriage of Gay and Straight] of which I speak is simply that of the sexual majority (heterosexuals) accepting and befriending the sexual minority (homosexuals)” (270).
Heterosexual men who are beginning to embrace and awaken their “hidden” homosexual and bisexual selves are embracing gay and bisexual friends and moving beyond the homophobia that divides us. What we are seeing surrounding the fiery debates concerning same-sex marriage is a paradigm shift so fundamental that it may rock the cradle of the world’s civilizations and turn our conceptions of the soul, self, and marriage upside down. For while we have seen the archetype of same-sex marriage emerge in nations of the world in isolated ways before, we have never see such grand changes taking place in the soul-concept, with such wide sweeping potential for impacting our world religions, world politics, and world’s social and legal institutions. The changes in our soul-concept have the potential to inaugurate a paradigm shift that may reverse the axis of the world, hopefully turning the institution of marriage upside down. Matthew Fox brings these changes out into the open by looking at the marriage possibilities in the ten archetypes of the sacred masculine that he uncovers for us. I highly recommend Matthew’s book!
Steven B. Herrmann, Ph.D., MFT
Author of “William Everson: The Shaman’s Call”