Last week I wrote about the stages of the masculine journey. John Eldredge released his book, ‘The Way of the Wild at Heart – a map for the masculine journey’ in 2006 and it will go down in history as a must have book about manhood just like “Iron John.”
The “Way of the Wild at Heart” does not make the Art of Manliness 34 best books on manhood to read but it should. John’s previous book “Wild at Heart” does make the list but “The Way of the Wild at Heart” is a much deeper book. You will have to make your own opinion.
In some of his ideas on the masculine journey he is not alone. Ed Cole wrote about this subject in the eighties in Maximised Manhood. Richard Rohr is another author who has a deep understanding of this subject, ‘The Wild Man’s Journey – reflections on male spirituality’ © 1992, being a foundational classic in this genre.
Richard Rohr’s has had several sell out tour in Australia over the years. Richard Rohr’s books and resources are currently available in Australia through the Centre for Men Brisbane. Steve Biddulph also broaches the subject of the stages of the masculine journey in his bestselling book, ‘Manhood’ which has been recently revised in 2015.
Books on the Masculine Journey are greatly needed as masculinity is under great attack. New York City Council wants to fine you $250,000, if you refer to a man who “thinks” he is a woman as a man. Unfortunately with the rise of political correctness we are in danger of embracing insanity in the name of progress.
The masculine journey is different to the feminine journey. It is hard enough for modern men to navigate their own journey without dealing with the dangers inherit in Gender Disorientation Pathology. Men are men and women are women and that fact is the very foundation on which our society rests. Gender does matter – body, soul and spirit for a thousand different reasons.
I believe that John Eldredge has really brought it all together, body, soul and spirit in “The Way of the Wild at Heart” with a very well-crafted exposé , which I believe will become a ‘classic’ in the years to come. John Eldredge identifies six stages of manhood: Boyhood, Cowboy, Warrior, Lover, King and Sage and does an excellent job in the process. He contends that these stages are not necessarily absolute and at any one time there can be several stages at play in a man’s life.
Eldredge points out that all these stages are progressions and building blocks to form wholeness in character at every level: body, soul and spirit. Without one it is very hard to have the other and without all it is very hard to have the last. The Sage or ‘wise man’ being in many ways pre-eminent. I’ll let John Eldredge say it in his own words.
I would place the stage of the Sage as beginning in the waning years of the King, sometime between the ages of sixty and seventy. There comes a time when the King must yield the throne. This does not mean failure. It means it’s time to become a Sage, and let another man be King. Too many Kings hold on to their thrones too long, and they literally fade away once they have lost them (which tells us they were drawing too much of their identity from their position).
It will appear that at this stage a man’s ‘kingdom’ may be shrinking – he retires from his career position, perhaps moves into a smaller home or apartment, lives on a fixed income. But, his influence should actually increase. This is not the time to move to Ft Lauderdale, ‘wandering through malls’, as Billy Crystal described it, ‘looking for the ultimate soft yoghurt and muttering, ‘How come the kids don’t call, how come the kids don’t call?” For now the man is a mentor to the men who are shaping history. . .
Knowing how hard it is to find a Sage, you might for the time being draw strength and inspiration from those we find in books and film. Yoda is a classic Sage: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to suffering.” There is also the wonderful old priest in The Count of Monte Cristo. “Here now is your final lesson: do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, ‘Vengeance is mine'” “I don’t believe in God,” replies Dantes. “I doesn’t matter. He believes in you.”
In many ways the Sage is usually the grandfather and often a great grandfather. These are the men who should help you become a great father. I believe that the grandfathers and great grandfathers are the key to family renewal in this nation. They are the ones most likely to fulfil the much needed role of the sage. It is so critical that we as fathers honour our own fathers and grandfathers, because long life is a promise to those who do. And who doesn’t want to have a long life?
Keep reading good books that will build your body, soul and spirit. John Eldredge’s book, ‘The Way of the Wild at heart’ is one of those: Buy it here, and no I am not getting a commission but I probably should.
Look out for the sages in your life and make them feel needed by asking them questions. Their wisdom is a deep well and one we all need to draw from. It will give them life too!
Yours for more wise men
PS: Recently a Dads4Kids subscriber who is passionate to help men in general, and support men who share a Catholic faith in particular, sent me a video link. I am not a Catholic, although I love Pope Francis and have a deep appreciation for Pope John’s work on Theology of the Body. (I digress, but Theology of the Body is a profound study of the complementarity and the majesty of the masculine and the feminine.)
This is what I said to the subscriber who sent me the video link. “WOW!!!!! Every man on earth should watch this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mDzNm7cylw The ten minute clip got me crying at the 8 minute mark. I am not a Catholic but this clip is really cool. The reality is the precepts and logic behind this ten minute clip are for all men of faith and for those who don’t have faith as well! Like the man said to Jesus; “I believe, help my unbelief! “I will pass it on.”
So I have done my duty and passed it on. Please make your own judgement.