The Sacred Masculine

green_manHumanity is at a pivotal point where we face a Great Work at hand. In order to imagine, create and implement the massive changes that are imperative for society and planet, men must embrace a healing, relational, compassionate and awakened form of masculinity (as opposed to the outmoded, one-dimensional, patriarchal maleness that has dominated history for the past centuries). Personally and collectively, we must evolve—becoming creative agents of cultural renaissance and planetary transformation.

There is a steadily growing energy and buzz about the Sacred Masculine as an energy or archetype now appearing. What is the Sacred Masculine? Who is the Sacred Masculine? How do we claim and embody it? As evidenced by online threads, articles and blogs, it seems that both men and women are eagerly looking to welcome the missing counterpart to the Divine Feminine.

Let us be clear: the Sacred Masculine is not the judgmental, Old Man in the Sky of traditional, monotheistic religions. As an archetype, he takes many shapes and forms, including those in world myths and earth-centered cultures, and dozens of worthy metaphors for him exist—like classic archetypes of the mythopoetic men’s movement, the pagan Green Man, or the Celtic horned god Cernunnos. Yet in all examples of the Sacred Masculine, a few key characteristics are always present.

A great deal more could be said—indeed, needs to be said—about each of the characteristics that follow, but to begin, here are a dozen attributes of an evolved manhood and the Sacred Masculine:

  • The Sacred Masculine is a heart-centered manhood. The ability and willingness to feel deeply—and to share those emotions with both women and men—is foundational to being a conscious man. Being open, vulnerable, and “relational” enables us to become less alone and more connected to the world in a meaningful way.
  • A life-enhancing component of the planet (rather than a dominant, parasitic, or destructive one). Nature is not simply something out there; it is within us as well, and we are not separate from our environment. A conscious man sees the world as more than “resources” that can be used freely, and considers his role of stewardship and living lightly.
  • Wields personal power in an appropriate and balanced mannerWe tend to perceive power as money and influence, but power exists in myriad forms. Authentic power is the life force that animates our breath and bones, a vitality that manifests in our creative, sexual, and spiritual energies. An evolved man cultivates his power and uses it as a force for positive change and transformation.
  • The Sacred Masculine appreciates beauty. Beauty feeds the soul. It inspires and uplifts; it opens our senses and connects us.
  • Celebrates his erotic nature and sexuality. Everything in nature centers on sex, but only humans are ashamed of it. Whether simply physical pleasure, or eroticism that profoundly nourishes the heart and soul, conscious men learn to appreciate sex without shame.
  • Compassionate, generative, and generous. Embodying the Sacred Masculine means connecting to something other—lover, humanity, nature, planet—and having an empathetic, compassionate heart. Giving is essential to being relational.
  • Honors the “bodymind” as the sacred vessel of life. Body, mind, soul, and nature are inseparable, and the creative intelligence of the universe experiences itself and the world through us. This changes a conscious man’s view of exercise, food, nourishment, sex, work … everything.
  • A wise father, mentor and teacher. Even without children of his own, a man can embody the compassionate father energy of the Sacred Masculine. Whenever we foster creativity and dreams, when we model being strong and tender, when we embody and display principles of stewardship, ecology, and interconnectedness, we inspire others to grow and evolve.
  • A different kind of muscle: yielding and flexibleRather than plowing ahead like a bulldozer, we can learn to flow more like a river, still moving forward with direction. Flexibility loosens our hardened plates of muscle and emotional steel and begins to unfasten the armor of the heart.
  • Cooperative rather than competitive. Evolution is usually misunderstood as “survival of the fittest,” but looking closely at nature, we see that cooperation and collective sharing accomplish more than competition. Nature’s first law is connection and interdependence.
  • Everything has an entitlement to be here. Empathy and kinship with life is something that has to be felt. It arises through observing the interrelated nature of things, which happens only when our hearts, minds, and senses are open wide.
  • A cosmological connection. We are constantly interwoven with all that surrounds. A larger story is emerging through us in the form of imagination, creativity, and soul; a man’s creative life force and passion has a higher purpose.

A sacred masculinity rests with those who risk the open-hearted vulnerability of being relational, feeling, and interconnected. It lives in the realm of soul. Just as with appreciating beauty, to embrace an affirming, soul-centered masculinity does not make us soft, timid or ‘safe’ men. Rather it makes us whole and authentic. Uniquely alluring, too.

Gay and bisexual men are waiting for an accessible and inclusive path, for a model of authentic manhood and soul-centered living encompasses the entire spectrum of sexuality, not simply a narrow, heteronormative one. It is our role to be gently subversive of modern society’s fractured paradigm.

The Sacred Masculine is a healing force, and his potential lives in each of our hearts, regardless of of gender or sexual orientation.

To embody this energy, we need something more than a mental abstract or transcendent ideology; it requires an earthly, heart-centered practice—grounded in the sensate, a tactile and sensuous connection with the body and Nature and soul (these are always the same thing).

Here, now, my friend and brother, you have just stepped onto the path.