Tuesday, May 14, 2013
While I was working on my movie blog about the medieval Arthurian story, The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell and the movie, What Women Want, (which you can find at The Bard's Grove) I started to tell a male friend about it and about how a man's anima is formed. These are the insights I didn't include in the movie review.
Man greeting his Muse
In ancient times, men were more inclined to imagine their muse or their anima as a faerie queen or goddess. Today men have to go within and find their feminine soul.
A man’s anima is a shape-shifter—as you could say all women are shape-shifters, since women naturally go through so many physical and emotional changes in the course of our lives. This ability to change shape comes in part from channeling raw emotions into conscious feelings—or unconscious drama. Neither of these options are particularly attractive to most men. So men often choose to ignore their anima—which is what patriarchy has taught them to do— and hand their feeling life over to their wives and lovers.
The cultural instructions to our young men are basically concerned with learning how to take power, which seems to preclude learning to love. The power of love, which is sourced in the anima, is its willingness to share and make more love, power & life. When we learn to become a channel for power –full of power—rather than someone who is powerful, we will have united the opposites within us and can bring a powerful, loving presence into the world.
A large part of fitting into the ‘system’ involves repressing one’s own genuine feelings, values and tastes, because they get in the way of ‘making it’. (This applies to both men and women now—but this is a masculine issue that our forefathers have asked us to solve for them.) This process of fitting in begins in childhood, where we pick up culture values from our parents and siblings. In a culture that doesn’t value feelings & intuitions, especially in boys, children end up repressing their feeling life, their inner being. To fit in, especially when we’re cut off from our inner guidance system, we come to believe in the desires of conventional, collective ideals of beauty and love and imagination to offset the frustration of our collective lives. We lose touch with our imagination, which is the source of creativity and bliss. Instead we substitute unsatisfying desires made available to us by our culture. Pornography is one symptom of this repression. Being a playboy is another. But neither of these options are ultimately fulfilling.
So when a man is ready to grow up and own up to his feeling life, he first has to see his own childish, competitive shadow feelings, his own thoughts and judgments, as well as his own tender feelings. He comes face to face with himself and has to fall in love with what’s best in him. But first he must kiss the Hag!