Gordon Dalbey is a well-known writer and leader in the men’s movement. Dalbey is not travelling as much as he used to, but his legacy of wisdom lives on. His first book, Healing the Masculine Soul, released in 1988, became a classic in the worldwide men’s movement, much like the poet Robert Bly’s ground-breaking book Iron John, which was released two years later in 1990.
Some time ago, a good friend encouraged me to read Sons of the Father by Gordon Dalbey. It is probably one of the most profound books about fatherhood that I have ever read in my life. John Eldridge’s book, Fathered by God, is still my favourite, but Sons of the Father is right up there and, like good wine, it gets better with age. I have talked about it before.
The pervasive influence of wokeness and political correctness stifles a lot of modern-day writers on this subject. Gordon Dalbey, in his books, tackles the deeper spiritual issues of fatherhood and the development of the masculine soul. He shares both personal insights and stories from his decades of counselling.
Gordon Dalbey was touring in Australia over a decade ago. Fortuitously I caught up with him at Ellel and recorded a ten-part video interview series. The most popular is Part One, with over 5,000 views, called ‘Discover the Wound’.
His book, Healing the Masculine Soul, is well worth the purchase price, as long as you don’t mind deep water.
This excerpt gives you an insight into Gordon’s relaxed and informative style:
“What does a boy gain from having a father present that men today must remember? Apart from such ‘manly’ skills as business, carpentry, and auto repair – which a knowledgeable mother might teach equally well – what does the father communicate or impart to a boy that the mother cannot?
The most intriguing answer came to me after a long session of prayer and healing with a thirty-year-old man whose father had severely rejected him. “Sure, Dad hurt me terribly at times,” he said. “But I remember once, when my brother and I were about six and four, sitting on the bed with Dad, one of us under each of his arms as he told us a bedtime story.
“I don’t remember what the story was, but I’ll never forget feeling there was something different about him that I’d never felt from Mom – something hard to describe, but definitely masculine, like a kind of brown ooze coming out of him and going into us little boys.”
Fascinating! I thought – then wondered: Where have I experienced the ‘brown ooze’ myself?
Praying later, I thought of years ago, when I was a small boy and my father was a Navy officer stationed aboard a ship. When the fleet went to sea, I missed Dad as deeply as I rejoiced, on seeing him in his khaki uniform open the door, squat down with arms open, and call to me, “I’m home! How’s my boy?” Heart racing, I sprinted to him and threw my arms tightly around his neck as he lifted me high off the ground in his secure embrace…
When my sisters and I finally gave him a chance, he set his hat on the table and embraced Mother – whereupon I turned with awe and approached the table reverently, to do what my mother and sisters could not do.
Slowly, with both hands, I lifted The Hat. As if to crown myself, I angled its thick band and strong, hard visor sharply off my forehead and down the back of my neck; otherwise, laid squarely on my head, it covered my face down to my chin. In the embrace, in The Hat, I was one with my father – certified as a man-to-be, anointed with the brown ooze.”
Robert Bly, in his breakthrough book titled Iron John, talking about this same subject but with different words, says,
“Fathers and sons in most tribal cultures live in an amused tolerance of each other. The son has a lot to learn, and so the father and son spend hours trying and failing together to make arrowheads or to repair a spear or track a clever animal. When a father and son do spend long hours together, which some fathers and sons still do, we could say that a substance almost like food passes from the older body to the younger.
The contemporary mind might want to describe the exchange between father and son as a likening of attitude, a miming, but I think a physical exchange takes place, as if some substance was passing directly to the cells. The son’s body – not his mind – receives and the father gives this food at a level far below consciousness.
The son does not receive a hands-on healing, but a body-on healing. His cells receive some knowledge of what an adult masculine body is. The younger body learns at what frequency the masculine body vibrates. It begins to grasp the song that adult male cells sing, and how the charming, elegant, lonely, courageous, half-shamed male molecules dance…
Now, standing next to the father, as they repair arrowheads, or repair ploughs, or wash pistons in gasoline, or care for birthing animals, the son’s body has the chance to retune. Slowly, over months or years, that son’s body-strings begin to resonate to the harsh, sometimes demanding, testily humorous, irreverent, impatient, opinionated, forward-driving, silence-loving older masculine body. Both male and female cells carry marvellous music, but the son needs to resonate to the masculine frequency as well as to the female frequency…
Women cannot, no matter how much they sympathise with their starving sons, replace that particular missing substance. The son later may try to get it from a woman his own age, but that doesn’t work either.”
Our children need to experience the brown ooze, and so do we as adults. We need the same from older men. Many call them elders. Others call them sages. We all need to belong to a men’s group of some sort, so you can find the ‘song that adult male cells sing’ and join in the chorus.
Yours for the Masculine Frequency,
PS: Sorry to inundate you with emails about the Men’s Leadership Summit 4-6 August. The good news is that places are still available. Watch the Promo Video here. To book to get and more info, click here.