A rite is a movement towards depth, found, discovered, and experienced, where we rise out of an archetypal encounter with deeper understanding and knowledge. With meaningless rites, we sustain the most precious wounds to the soul, a life without emotional and spiritual depth. The idea of the passage suggests something is starting and ending, a death of some sort, where the rebirth transits into a meaningful life. Without any rites of passage, western society is being asked to find the answers themselves, as elders of wisdom have been denigrated and ceremonies and rituals banished.
6 Stages of Passage
- Separation – physical separation from parents and the start of psychological detachment.
- Death – The boyhood wound to be buried, passed through a dark tunnel with the loss of dependency and innocent.
- Rebirth– the emergence of a new being baptised in water
- Initiation – New teachings, knowledge, and experiences to become an adult
- Ordeal -the suffering of loss of comfort, dependency and protection of the mother/society. Suffering brings consciousness and courage to face the vigour of life. Normally involves some form of isolation where one has to use their inner resources to survive and draw strength from within.
- Return – The boy achieves adulthood and becomes an adult.
The shadow represents the part of the psyche; we are uncomfortable with or disdain as it threatens ego desires and drives. The split-off part is projected onto others via dysfunctional behaviours and distorted thinking. Leaving man governed by Fear, fear of loss, not being good enough, man enough, and being unable to protect women/wives/mother. This counterforce creates a power complex in the lives of men, where the ingrained and undifferentiated rage hurts them and others.
Eros drives underground, becoming rage where great inner and outer violence ensues. Eros differentiation builds cathedrals and writes symphonies, as love and libido are directed to the creation of beauty and awe. In some way, be it conscious or unconscious, we are forever seeking Eros and reconnection to the object of desire (mother) if the mother is unable to fulfil or mediate the child’s imagined tensions. Many women seek to fulfil their unlived life through their sons, vicariously living out their animus of assertiveness, competency, and empowerment, leading to heightened egocentric and narcissistic behaviours of the son. The man’s child is driven to overachievement, perfection, and status under the psychic dominance and possession of the mother’s animus. The man remains an emotionally needy and infantile child, clinging to or dominating their partner, repeating parental imprinting. The macho, dominant male is terrified of their anima, feelings, and vulnerability, unable to relate, be intimate and connect to their life force. A connection made via superficial talk about outer events, sports or politics
Many men become alienated from their bodies as they associate their corporal reality with their early, primitive contact or lack of contact with their mother’s intimacy or distance. The serpent cycling through life and death, shedding its skin for renewal, is analogous to the mother giver of life and devourer of death, where the child tithers on the verge of progression or regression, annihilation or individuation. Man’s ambivalence with the underworld, fascinated yet frightened, holds the balance and choice of rapprochement and crossing the threshold. He may cling to inflated thoughts and emotions, clinging to ideologies and “isms” that offer black-and-white answers to complex questions, relieving one of the struggles within and the tension of opposites.
The effort reflects the extent to which men remain unaware of their anima being within. They seek it in other women, flee from her or oppress her, rationalising the pain through work, activity or drugs. A lot of men see sex as reassurance and reconnection instead of experiencing communication and intimacy. Only when the hero’s attributes are inherited and embraced will the child/man have the courage, vigilance, and introspection to keep the mother at bay or slaughter the inner dragon. Only when he can enter and confront the abyss can he become independent of anger and angst will he finally grow up into adulthood?
He breaks the cycle, where the mother’s consciousness, character, and own wounds are surpassed and individuation is achieved.
Unconscious and Undifferentiated Anger
- Feeling powerless and depressed.
- Manifests in the body through illness and psychosomatic symptoms
- Leaks outs in Repression, irritability, agitation, or violence.
- People pleasing and sacrifice of self, avoiding confrontation and self-assertion, passive-aggressive and full of resentment seeking revenge.
To direct one’s anger at the source of frustration and disappointment (mother/parent), whose narcissism had no boundaries, was futile, being rationalised to remain in contact and is expressed outward. The castrated male can become asexual with their wives, especially during pregnancy, as the repressed anima becomes too intense and is challenged by fantasies and affairs.
The healthy father should allow and support the child’s transition to enter the world, fight for life, and embrace his aggression and assertiveness. He helps the child maintain the tension of opposites, see the good and bad within his mother, the dark and the light, without being abandoned or punished—the journey of innocence, to experience, to adulthood, dominant and self-assured with his masculinity. The father helps the child out of the mother’s complex, become independent, and able to feel, grieve, and experience life in full.
Healing the Souls of Men
- Man needs to govern his own values and ideas and not be restricted and engulfed by role expectations.
- Stop being governed by fear -acknowledge his vulnerability, insecurity, and feelings.
- Embrace the feminine aspects of their self and integrate their anima
- Speak out, tell the truth and share your pain.
- Men must leave their mothers and use their wounds to transcend
- Becoming aware of your violence is related to being violated.
- Seek out his father, his tribal leader, and embrace his masculinity
- Must activate from within, acknowledge what they did not receive, suffer the sickness of their soul, enter the abyss and be reborn