Wounded Masculine

October 14, 2007

Men, male, masculine, animus, soldier – the imagery of maleness is welling up and asking to be explored. As a good Athena daughter of “The Patriarchy” I made it almost to thirty before I truly questioned the power distributions in our culture, my jobs, my schooling.

Sure I was a good follower of Helen Reddy – I am WOMAN hear me ROAR – but I didn’t yet have the context to fully experience oppression until graduate school. There I learned all the strategies that women use to succeed in the world of Men. I chose to bond to the soft and tender males and to allow them to shield me. I chose to form alliances with women – who ultimately chose the Institution and Saving Their Own Selves rather than risk being in alliance with “She who names things.” I co-created the experience of abandonment that is one of my inner templates of intimacy.

Many years have passed since those strident days of asking to be called a woman not a girl (I was 29 at the time and many of the professors still kept us in our place by calling us by the diminutive “girl”). My women friends in school pleaded with me “Why does this matter so much to you? Can’t you just let it go?” I could not. I wasn’t yet ready to heal the wounded masculine in me.

Recently, there has been a softening inside me for all those men who feared me and kept me under their boots because if not – who knew what I would be capable of. I chose a women’s quest because I wanted to experience the nurturing and warmth of women as mothers. Not only was I not ready to be nurtured, my guides were not willing to let me out from under their boots because who knew what I was capable of.

I have pondered and mused and ruminated and rocked this experience and much of it is still hidden in my depths. Looking into the eyes of my clear mirror Dianne Timberlake is like falling into the folds of Guadalupe’s robes or being warmed by Kuan-Yin’s radiant being. She gave voice to an important piece of this experience for me. Another five months have passed and during that time I find that I am being drawn into healing the wounded masculine in myself and others.

Wait! How can this be? I am the one who sits in WOMEN’S Wisdom circles. What happens when I am finally able to hear the wounded masculine speaking? What happens is that I return to The Heroine’s Journey and check in again – asking where am I? What is my work? Ah yes.. there it is Healing the Wounded Masculine.

Suddenly Michale Meade’s The Water of Life which sat on my nightstand for months is leaping into my eager hands. I am listening to Robert  Bly’s Iron John and my husband came closer – wondering, listening, intrigued, asking “Is this something *I* should be listening to?” Now we are listening together.

I look at my son and know that he must steal the key to the cage that contains his Wild Man. The King gives the key to the Queen and she keeps it under her pillow. Once the Wild Man is free – my son will have to decide for himself if he has the courage to go off with him or if they chat and drink hot cider in the courtyard of the castle.

I hope  with everything inside me that he runs off with his Wild Man self and grows hairy and fierce!  In the meantime, I will tend to the duties of the Castle when I am not out on my own journeys into the deep, dark woods.



  1. This post really excited me. Every time I come in contact with a strong woman who seems to associate *only* with the feminine aspects of life/herself, I wonder when/if a dawning with arrive. Have gotten into some uncomfortable situations when I was younger and a lot more inclined to actively challenge those who were, in turn, very challenging *to* me. Now that I am more confident about seasons and cycles beyond my own sphere of awareness I have stopped feeling so much emotional and psychic attachment. The healer in me still chafes at the bit, though, at so I am always heartened by the sharing of insights such as these.

  2. Hi Emerging Crone,
    Just wanted to say I appreciate both the references to being the “namer of things” and to the wounded masculine. Having raised a son, I had to become distinctly aware of how we, as women, are now surprisingly wounding to the males in our world. I watch in dismay as I see constant arrogant put-downs from women toward men in our media and elsewhere.

    I loved what you wrote. Thank you.

  3. Just wanted to say I’ve just received the “Heroine’s Journey” ordered a long time ago and have started reading it, it’s awesome. Thank you for the tip ! Hugs.

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