Discussion forum for The Radical Notion that Men are People

New edition of Planet Waves.
New edition of Planet Waves.

This is the discussion area for the article “The Radical Notion that Men are People.”

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In addition to today’s in-depth (and beautifully illustrated) lead article on men and maleness in the context of Mars stationing direct in Libra, the issue also includes this week’s horoscopes interpreting the event for all 12 signs. This is definitely astrology to ease into with awareness.

46 thoughts on “Discussion forum for The Radical Notion that Men are People”

  1. Allowing for the logarithmic function on my calculator going retro-stationary, let me correct that to an exact.
    The moment of conception is presented at the Lunar month commencing 6 degrees Pisces.
    The 23rd November puts you at 27 Taurus, the midpoint of Nessus in Gemini and Pars Fortuna in Taurus!

    What coincides with what?


  2. Eric…..as you know I have worked with A.T. Mann’s ideas of pre-birth experience. He also covers the sense of time changing as our lives proceed. It is a logarithmic function. 1 lunar month is conception; 10 lunar months is gestation; 100 lunar months is childhood; 1000 lunar months is maturity. Octaves of Gestation, Childhood and maturity.

    You will not be surprised to learn that when JFK was shot and shock waves shuddered the planet, the octave of Gestation puts you at approx 20 degrees of Pisces, somewhere around the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Chiron, MC., Stellium.

    Coincidence huh?


  3. There is a story in Native American history of an Indian chief who one night talking to his tribe tells them there are two dogs inside his mind. One a white dog who is good and courageous, the other a black dog who is vengeful and spiteful.He tells the tribe the dogs are fighting to the death. A brave, not able to wait for the end of the story asks “Which one of them will win.” The chief responds “The one I feed.”

    From (Amazon) Debbie Ford the dark side of the light chasers (looking up Paul Levy and reading the comments and subsequently the comments for Debbie Ford’s book)

  4. Jung too: (from Memories dreams reflections) an illness he had that helped him fully integrate himself so that more or less he had ‘an ego that does not break down even when incomprehensible things happen…’ and a sense of himself and so a sense of ‘destiny’ ie he knew what was true to this self and what not.

    Fear. (?Fear is the root before anger too). And facing it, and working through the terrain of your fear (and the threat), and when you encompass/incorporate/see that, you can either erase it (as though it never was) or work with it or leave it completely behind (taking all yourself with you) and go into something else.

    Points of transition

    And. There is always (somewhere or with someone) the knowledge to be going on with that you can’t see for the moment, but it helps alot if you can narrow down what you are searching for, and be precise about what you have and what you don’t. Sometimes what you are looking for too, sometimes not. There is always a pivotal moment of some sort and it helps if you can see your difficulty from several planes/perspectives.

    I realise that this is probably ‘thought biased’ (and undoubtedly where mercury is placed in a natal chart and the themes of that chart may mean your info comes from different cultures (astrocartography lines) or is linked to one or other house or element or sign).

  5. “(….)She told me a few years ago that it was the day she decided or understood the world was not safe. From what you know about me, how does this apply?” This is an amazing thing to have discovered from your mother, Eric. Thank you for sharing it with us here.
    An extraordinary conversation going on here – that I hope to catch up with properly soon – was very sick yesterday, back to work today….

  6. James W. Prescott – Origins of Love and Violence

    American developmental psychologist proposed that a key component to development comes from the somesthetic processes (body touch) and vestibular-cerebellar processes (body movement) induced by infant-caregiver interactions, and that deprivation of this stimulation causes brain abnormalities.

  7. Eric and Chief Niwots Son, an hour ago I heard an interview with Dr. Sarah Gottlieb on hormones. A mother who is traumatized during pregnancy will cannibalize her fetus’ adrenal glands for cortisol to correct her own imbalance, or her cortisol addiction in the case of prolonged stress. I was astounded, as I’d never heard anything like that. The interview did not go into details on the impacts, but it does put the newborn at a disadvantage. We live in a world populated by traumatized pregnant mothers, and overstressed pregnant mothers, which is slow trauma. I agree that what happens to the mother happens to the baby, so generations are being born with post trauma distress.

    I’ve known about this from reading, but tonight was the first time I had heard of this biological effect.

    Saving the Emerson article to read earlier another day, AWord. It looks great!

  8. That is a very interesting question, and I can only provide a limited response here. To be clear my work is primarily somatic and energetic, not psychological, answering your question without having ever met you is not my forte. And I know you only through what you have written here, which while revealing, is quite contextually limited.

    With those caveats in place (and perhaps others that have not yet come to mind), I’ll say a few things. What our mom experiences we experience, period. This is a result of our shared biochemistry, and it also occurs through the energetic and psychic connection we have with our mom. When you say she experienced a profound shock, that statement is equally true for you, YOU experienced a profound shock. The energy of this event may still be active within your bio-energy field, which in turn can impact every level of your being- physical, emotional, cognitive, psychic, spiritual.

    There are a couple of additional factors for a pre-nate. The experience of time in the womb is very different than out here, and our understanding of the world into which we are incarnating is still vague at best, so you did not have the same ability to make sense of the profound experience. And this experience was unbounded by time, not just 24/7 clock time, this experience was timeless- as if the world you were coming into was always and would always be a place of profound shock.

    This is an interesting event to write about because it is also a clear example of a transpersonal shock, an event shared by our nation/culture (though of course there were not few low-vibrational folks who likely celebrated JFK’s death) in which everyone participated in the shock. This shock of this event has created a wound in our culture that has never healed, it impacts the present, and is linked obviously to the assassinations of RFK and MLK. A transpersonal shock impacts all people within a shared cultural/national consciousness, whatever their individual opinion of the event. So JFK’s death has been experienced by those of us who were alive at the time certainly in multiple layers within ourselves, our view of self, our view of our society, our view of our world has all been shaped by this event. You have written extensively on this perhaps for this very reason, analyzing the causes and the astrology, but maybe not able to say simply: “this wounded all of us.”

    What I will venture to say about you, based on your work here, is that this event has inspired you in a profound way to make the world a safer place for yourself and for others. Because of the diffuse/non-existent boundary structure of a pre-nate I see you trying to make the world safe in every possible way, nothing is excluded from your perspective of potential threat because that was your womb-time experience of the event- nothing is excluded.

    Now, this is a very creative response to a profound shock, but it may be driven by the unresolved energy of the shock in you, which would cause a quality of distortion in how your work is presented to and/or received by the world. There may be an urgency for action that motivates you, but if other people cannot receive that quality of energy they may not be able to effectively hear your message. The energy of the urgency may itself be the unresolved energy of shock. If this is the case it is important to know that resolving these energies would not rob you of your gifts or purpose, but would allow you to pursue your vision with greater clarity, without putting your own shock into the mix, which can manifest as shadow, projection, inaccuracies, and so forth.

    That’s a short answer to your question. The work of how these energies can be resolved, and please trust me when I claim they can be resolved, is a separate conversation, and one I’d be more inclined to pursue elsewhere.

  9. OK, I was about five months in vivo when JFK was shot, and it put my mother, who was 22 at the time and pregnant with her first child, into profound shock. She told me a few years ago that it was the day she decided or understood the world was not safe. From what you know about me, how does this apply?

  10. EFC- You asked me for an example of one place we can start, and my answer comes from what has been a profoundly positive influence in my life. I can only provide an brief appetizer, and I hope it suffices in this conversation.

    I would begin with the work of William Emerson, Ph.D., one of the pioneers in the field of Pre- and Perinatal psychology, whose healing work and teaching fulcrum around his recognition of ‘Shock,’ which he refers to as a “universal malady.” His view is much larger than the commonly known label of PTSD.

    Dr. Emerson has uncovered the pervasive way in which shocking events in our pre-natal life, and during our birth are continually recapitulated and played out in the patterns of behavior on the level of the individual, and consequently in larger community clusters. The depth of wounding experienced in some of the pre-natal and birth scenario’s Dr. Emerson has encountered and cataloged leaves people in states of deep confusion, cut off from genuine connection to their own inherent health, cut off from people around them, and cut off from their relationship to the Earth. In this state people can and do regularly inflict horrors on themselves and others, because at deep levels their own wounding prevents them from, for lack of a better term, knowing any better.

    I believe this also ties into the notion of “wetiko” which I have seen mentioned here, which Paul Levy (who has written an informative book on wetiko) calls “a contagious psycho-spiritual disease of the soul.” As I have been seeking to understand wetiko I recognize many of the same “symptoms” that early shock experiences leave in human thought, emotion and behavior. Part of my journey at this time is working to integrate Levy’s calling-out of wetiko into my prior self-healing work which has been been strongly influenced by Emerson’s work on Shock.

    My point being that healing at these deep levels of Self is the way we can cut the root of the issues you are working to articulate. The beauty of what people like Emerson and Levy are doing is that they are not just diagnosing a problem, they are presenting functional solutions that can liberate people from the darkness in which we all participate.

    I hope this is helpful to our conversation.

  11. Excerpted from The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy by the American sociologist, Allan G. Johnson, PhD (Temple University Press, 2005)


    A key defense of patriarchy invokes the mysteries of warfare as crucial to understanding the ‘natural’ gender order. As the argument goes, men must be aggressive and develop a capacity for violence in order to defend society and family. As Sam Keen puts it in his book, Fire in the Belly, sacrifice is at the center of men’s lives as they put the welfare of others above their own: “Most men went to war, shed blood, and sacrificed their lives with the conviction that it was the only way to defend those whom they loved. . . . [S]hort of a utopian world . . . someone must be prepared to take up arms and do battle with evil” (p. 47).

    The violent-man-as-protector image is connected to patriarchy through the idea that men’s capacity for violence and aggression inevitably leads to male dominance over women, children, and property, since men must be more powerful than those they protect. “Men . . . must be manly,” anthropologist David Gilmore tells us in Manhood in the Making, because warfare demands it” (p.150). But it is no less reasonable to also argue that warfare exists because patriarchal manliness and its related structures of control and dominance demand it.

    There are two major problems with using warfare to justify patriarchy and male dominance. First, the romantic images of warfare don’t fit much of what we know about actual men and war. The idea that men are motivated primarily by self-sacrifice doesn’t square with the high value patriarchal cultures place on male autonomy and freedom. According to Keen, autonomy and independence, not self-sacrifice for women and children, were a key to the patriarchal rebellion against goddess religions and men’s ‘servitude to nature.’ The warfare argument for patriarchy also fits poorly with the reality of warfare as most people actually experience it. I don’t know which wars Keen has in mind, but most that I can think of were fought for anything but defense of loved ones, and men in privileged racial and economic classes who presumably love their families as much as the next man have been all too willing to allow those less fortunate than they to serve in their place. Was it love that motivated the endless bloodshed of the Roman conquests, the slaughter of countless religious wars and crusades, the Napoleonic wars, the U.S. Civil War, or the two world wars? Was it to protect women and children that the United States ‘liberated’ the Philippines from the Spanish following the Spanish-American war and then brutally suppressed Philippine resistance to becoming a U.S. colony and gateway to Asian markets? Was it for the sake of hearth and home that U.S. soldiers went to Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and Iraq, or Soviet troops to Afghanistan? Does love of family explain the ethnic slaughter in Eastern Europe and the brutality of civil wars from Cambodia to Somalia to El Salvador? Is the collective emotional rush that typically greets declarations of war and the itchy yen for glorious victory simply a joyous welcome for yet another opportunity for men to demonstrate their love for wife, children, and community and the fulfillment of their duty to protect?

    It would seem not. Closer to the truth is that war allows men to reaffirm their masculine standing in relation to other men, to act out patriarchal ideals of physical courage and aggression, and to avoid being shamed and ridiculed by other men for refusing to join in the fight. As Keen himself tells us, war is “a heroic way for an individual to make a name for himself” and to “practice heroic virtues.” It is an opportunity for men to bond with other men, friend and foe alike, and to reaffirm their common masculine warrior codes. If war was simply about self-sacrifice in the face of monstrous enemies who threaten men’s loved ones, how do we make sense of the long tradition of respect between wartime enemies, the codes of ‘honor’ that bind them together even as they bomb and devastate civilian populations that consist primarily of women and children? Could soldiers fighting only out of such lofty motives as love for home and hearth accumulate such an extensive and consistent record of gratuitous rape and other forms of torture, abuse, and wanton violence inflicted on civilian populations? Certainly there are men who refuse to go to war, and others who go with the sense of self-sacrificing mission that Keen describes, but to attribute warfare as a system to such altruistic motives is the kind of romantic thinking that warfare thrives on. In spite of the horrible price that many men pay for their participation in war, we shouldn’t confuse the fact of their being sacrificed with self-sacrificing personal motivations, especially when trying to explain why warfare exists as a social phenomenon.

    The second problem with using warfare to explain male aggression and patriarchal dominance is that it’s a circular argument. As much as we like to divide the world into good guys and bad guys, every nation going to war sees itself as justified in defending what it defines as the good. Each side believes in and glorifies the use of male-identified armed force to resolve disputes and uphold deeply held abstract principles, from the glory of Allah to ethnic or racial purity to the sacredness of democracy. Even the most reluctant government may welcome a breakdown of negotiations that will justify using force (unless they think they’ll lose), and it has become commonplace for national leaders to use war as a way to galvanize public support for their regimes, especially in election years. The heroic male figure of western gunslinging cowboys is almost always portrayed as basically peace-loving and unwilling to use violence “unless he has to.” But the whole point of his heroism and of the story itself is the audience wanting him to ‘have to.’ The spouses, children, territory, honor, and various underdogs who are defended with heroic violence serve as excuses for the violent demonstration of a particular version of patriarchal manhood. They aren’t of central importance, which is why their experience is rarely the focus of attention.

    The real interest lies in the male hero and his relation to other men as victor or vanquished, as good guy or bad guy. Indeed, the hero is often the only one who remains intact (or mostly so) at the end of the story. The raped wife, slaughtered family, and ruined community get lost in the shuffle, with only passing attention to their suffering as it echoes across generations and no mention of how they have been used as a foil for patriarchal masculine heroism. Note, however, that when female characters take on such heroic roles, as in Thelma and Louise, the social response is ambivalent if not hostile. Many people complained that the villains in Thelma and Louise made men look bad, but I’ve never heard anyone complain that the villains in male-heroic movies make men look bad. It seems that we have yet another gender double standard: it’s acceptable to portray men as villainous but only if it serves to highlight male heroism.

    To support male aggression and therefore male dominance as society’s only defense against evil, we have to believe that evil forces exist out there, in villains, governments, and armies. In this, we have to assume that the bad guys actually see themselves as evil and not as heroes defending loved ones and principles against bad guys like us. The alternative to this kind of thinking is to realize that the same patriarchal ethos that creates our masculine heroes also creates the violent villains they battle and prove themselves against, and that both sides often see themselves as heroic and self-sacrificing for a worthy cause. For all the wartime propaganda, good and bad guys play similar games and salute a core of common values, not to mention one another on occasion. At a deep level, war and many other forms of male aggression are manifestations of the same evil they supposedly defend against. The evil is the patriarchal religion of control and domination that encourages men to use coercion and violence to settle disputes, manage human relations, and affirm masculine identity.

    None of this criticism means that men can’t feel compelled to lovingly sacrifice themselves. It also doesn’t mean there’s no place for ferocity in the face of danger, as the females of many species, including our own, demonstrate in defense of their young. But as we saw in Chapter 4, there is a difference between patriarchy as a system and the personal motivations of the people who participate in it. When some men go off to war they may feel full of love for family and community, but this doesn’t explain why warfare exists as a social institution or what compels men to march off to it. In similar ways, men may put family needs before their own simply out of love, but this happens in spite of a patriarchal system that encourages them to value their competitive masculine standing above all else. How else do we explain the men who abandon families rather than work at jobs they consider beneath them and leave behind wives who are far less reluctant to do whatever is necessary to support their children? How else do we understand men who insist on ‘sacrificing’ themselves only in ways that tend to impress other men? I suspect that most men would rather work overtime or fight another man, for example, than diaper babies or risk true emotional intimacy, even if the latter provided loved ones with what they needed most. The patriarchal path of least resistance for a man whose wife is raped isn’t to take care of her, but to wreak heroic revenge on the rapist, an act that, if anything, makes things worse for her. But in a patriarchy her well-being is secondary to his rights and standing as a man in relation to other men. In this sense, the rapist does more than assault a woman, for he also violates a man’s proprietary rights of sexual access and casts doubt on that man’s ability to defend his sexual property against other men. The husband’s revenge uses violence in true patriarchal fashion to reestablish his masculine rights and standing in relation not only to the rapist, but to men in general.

    When we romanticize patriarchy or define it as noble and socially necessary, we blind ourselves to what’s going on and paralyze our capacity to work for change. In truth, patriarchy is everywhere, from family, sexuality, and reproduction to global politics and economic production, and not seeing it won’t save us from its consequences.

  12. Green Star-gazer, I too wondered about the whys of things such as the 200+ kidnapped girls, dead miners, etc. and came to the conclusion that we (humanity exposed to media) have become numb to the 3 or 4, 6 or 7, or 20 to 30 losses to some tragic event. Like any opiate, the news deadens our (as a whole) reflexes so that it takes more and more to reach the original high. We seem to have reached the level of 200+ human bodies lost to whatever in order for it to register consciously (as a whole).

    As for why we are “rushing in with assets and support” in this particular case is in part likely to “our” desire to increase our military footprint in Africa, as well as compete for her natural assets with other countries such as China. I wish it was just altruism.

  13. This weekend I am immersed in feminine power to feed myself and fill myself up so I can continue the feed others. As I take breaks to come read this article and thread of commentary, I keep coming back to this truth: Women coming into their real feminine power, which is grounded in their sexuality, is the foundational step for men to reclaim their real masculinity, which is also grounded in their sexuality. I used to agree with the spiritual truism that men are behind women in awakening on the spiritual and enlightenment path. It didn’t take much observation to turn that around, and I no longer believe that is true. Men are waiting for women to awaken.

    As Green Star Gazer says, women have a long road to come back from repression, violence, being property, etc. In modern times, women took a dangerous detour into masculinizing in order to redress political and economic oppression. Now we aware of that dead end, and awakening and cultivating our feminine. That will instantly wake men up, or create the environment in which they can remember. Until women rise up, reclaiming their feminine, the masculine has no reason to waken into a world populated by the toxic feminine.

    Men, youth, and boys need attention, love and teaching that counteracts the patriarchal abuse that robbed them of their holiness… wholeness. They may have to break some habits and learn some lost arts in order to show up for the awakened feminine.

    Woman is life and man is the servant of life. The male’s job is to protect the women. ~ Joseph Campbell

    Does this still apply in our modern world? Yes, I say, in an archetypal and indigenous sense. The Feminine holds the mystery of Life, and the Warrior Masculine protects the sacred space so that the Feminine is safe to create their ceremony. Masculine has ceremony so he can maintain his warrior strength. These things are not disconnected.

    The healthy, indigenous dance of masculine and feminine can infiltrate and transform the gridlock of the patriarchy. I see the images of the plant movements in the Create article from the member edition. Yes, like that. I watch plants crumble the old West Side Highway in New York before they ever brought a bulldozer in.

    Here is the Ted Talk video where I found the Campbell quotes: Sheila Kelley of the S Factor, Let’s Get Naked.

    Give it 20 minutes, and tell me what you think? Do these thoughts contribute to the issues in this thread?

  14. I am not proposing that human rights is enough — I am proposing it as an alternate paradigm for women’s rights and (or versus) men’s rights. That is so far as I can tell a divide and conquer scheme. I am with you that the shift is an inner one, and that adds up to a cultural one — though enough change in individuals seems to precipitate cultural shift, which in turn brings more people along.

    On my deepest journeys I have several times arrived at the spot where I understood the cause of war and the war on women to be homophobia. The ultimate homophobia is hatred of self, which tends to manifest as narcissism.

    In my post below on the themes of Book of Blue, I describe some of that. In terms of my own writing, I think that Book of Blue comes closest to the heart of the matter, of self-relating and human to human relating.

    Here is a brief synopsis of the prequel which is written and not yet published. In the process of healing a serious sexual injury, I was made aware of a gruesome mass murder scene, part of a series of crimes that occurred across the Midwest from late 1911 to early 1913. I was given the data for one of the crimes before I knew what it was, cast the chart, deduced what it was about from the astrology, googled the data and discovered the crime scene.

    In the course of assembling the elements of this mystery, I began a journey deeper and deeper into the nexus where desire meets violence; where all desire has an essentially violent element, and the healing process associated with that — all of which are described in the chart.

    Most of Book of Blue takes place from within this nexus, wherein I experimented with many facets of withdrawing, experimenting with, exploring and denying various shades of sexual desire, with an understanding that the purpose of the inherent association between desire and violence. I experimented with the experience of many different seemingly extreme theories (that are rarely felt, only stated as a kind of law that few people care about), including the “sex is inherently rape” idea, “desire is inherently violent,” “all sex is about projection,” “all sex is a form of masturbation,” and a great diversity of others.

    I also explored (and continue to explore) the nature of compersion, and the experience that the truly nonviolent form of sexual desire consists mostly of this emotion. The journey into the nexus led me to the what I refer to in Book of Blue as the Eastern Gate — or what in Buddhism is sometimes called the Great Eastern Sun.

    This all proceeded over about seven years, peaking with a visit to the murder scene and graves of the victims in Villisca, Iowa on the summer solstice of 2010. None of this is explained explicitly in the chapters I’m making available; what I am presenting are vignettes from along the way, including in the years before encountering the information about the murders of the Moores and the Stillinger girls.

    As time permits I will finish my edit of the prequel and make that available.

  15. Nearly 20 years ago a dear male friend of mine gave me a book that rocked my world: “The Myth of Male Power” by Warren Farrell. I don’t know how others would read it now but back then it opened my eyes to all the ways that males are victimized by the Patriarchy and it was deeply sobering and transforming piece of work. Afterwards I raged and grieved for all the young men and boys and old men and men of color and sensitive men and all the other nameless, label-less men who had been hypnotized by, and then consumed by this rampant, toxic paradigm we were all immersed so deeply that we don’t even know it. So when I rail against the Patriarchy it is from that perspective not just from a Feminist one.

    And when I heard the horrific story of the 300 girls being taken from their school, yes I was in shock and felt deep sorrow for them and their families. And yes, all efforts should be made to find them and return them to their home… but what of all the young boys who also get kidnapped and turned into child soldiers? Why is it that not the same level of outrage is expressed for them, generally speaking? Why are we not rushing in with “assets” and “support” to help the kidnapped children of all cultures? Sadly much of it is because in many other cultures, children have no rights, they are property or slaves of the elders in their culture. Not because people are inherently evil or brutal but because this is just how it has always been done. We need for this mindset to change.

    Another area that is deeply troubling to me is popular media where stereotypes are reinforced culturally and where we re-program ourselves collectively with old, worn out and toxic myths and models. Violence and brutality sells. And while the collective will raise objections to some violence against women on the screen, why is it that we generally accept the depiction of violence against men? Is it because generally it is also the men perpetrating the violence? Is it because we expect this from men therefore somehow they “deserve” to be on the receiving end? The time of tacitly accepting that this is “just how it is” or that it is “only” a movie/song/video game REALLY needs to be questioned and pushed back against.

    One of the things I appreciated most about this article was the call to stop the projecting… all of us.. just stop it. We can observe the past and learn from it but none of us should be held hostage to it – unless we’ve personally done something really bad or hurtful – then we need to make retribution and ask forgiveness. That said, the suppressed male rage that is hiding beneath all this shadow material is formidable indeed, but this I KNOW: that under the rage is grief. And fear. And when we can each go down in our basements and meet the shadows we’ve held down there, as individuals and also as a collective, we can start to re-power ourselves in ways that are beneficial to the whole because our birthright is to come to this planet and do great things, magical things, wondrous things – for the planet, for each other and for the future.

  16. I want to make it quite clear that I have no intention of blaming – my anger which I indulged as a child has taken me years of work – together with the relationship difficulties that my pride created.

    However it is necessary to get to the deepest parts of yourself and work with these things – to follow them up.

    THere may be other ways this is the way I have found!

  17. Eric I’m not sure human rights is enough – still ‘rules’ and abuse of rules. Each individual needs to ‘get’ it for themselves what it means to be be human ie in the human condition rather than regulating it (outside).

    Making the world a better place – the same – if we ‘be’ better it follows that the world will be a better place.

    And again where there is damage, women tend to self harm, men to harm others – it is not against men to see that there are differences and different ways to go.

    Yours sincerely


  18. Salamander, why the military? Why not a Peace Corps?

    The military’s orientation is on killing and conquering, not defending. A well-outfitted Peace Corps could be a powerful force for civil service, personal training, discipline, education…oriented on usable skills, rather than washing off the insides of engines with break fluid that cracks the hoses.

  19. This Mars retrograde transit did make me think a lot about my desires, and examine my assertiveness. I am also more convinced than ever that men and women are not that different from each other, for a lot of people have an “active/external” side and a “nurturing/internal” side (astrology already shows this, but this retrograde transit really emphasized this). In my case, I want to use science, field work and adventure to care for myself and other people. The recent floods in the Mid-Atlantic really made me see the weight of my responsibilities and my place in the community. I see how important it is to carefully position roads and homes (runaway development needs to be reined in) in order to reduce the risk of being caught in a flood, and sometimes, in the worst-case scenario, there needs to be economic room for climate-induced breaks in work. Climate change hurts work productivity and business.
    I am really glad about this transit because it has given me space and self-confidence to focus more on my character, and honing my skills more than anything else. As a woman, I am glad that things are changing for the better on that front (yes, there are counter-reformationists in other parts of the US and the world, but where I live, things are getting better).
    I also see a lot of yin/yang balance in my life in my family, in my retail job, in my studies, in my martial arts, and in my internship. I use strength, knowledge and skill to help and care for others.
    I think war should be a last resort rather than a first resort because of the amount of human resources, energy resources etc. involved. However, I do think the military has its place in society because it is an institution that can help people get their act together, or have the courage to stand up for what is right. I have had the fortune to encounter a few veterans who embody this mindset. I think the bigger issue is to decide when a military mission is necessary or not (if diplomacy can be used instead), is justified or not, how to share natural resources with other nations (I doubt all countries can achieve self-sufficiency in all materials), what regimes countries can put up with and cannot tolerate…And then, if a regime is intolerable, if the opposition is actually worth supporting or not…
    Dealing with wildfires and floods are missions the military can do in an era of climate change. And then, there are uniformed services that do help, such as the US Public Health Service conducting lab safety inspections, or the NOAA Corps drawing up nautical charts, or the US Coast Guard setting the gold standard in boating safety.
    I also think that the military and the police can have a yin/yang balance. The idea of using strength to rescue car accident victims or to stop a fistfight balances the yin and the yang.
    I do think though that people who want to remain civilians (because not everyone is cut out for the military, especially since people have to have honorable discharges in order to get the educational, occupational, financial and healthcare benefits of the military) should have as many opportunities as people who are cut out for military life. College can be just as challenging as boot camp, and deserves to be get as much funding.
    As for me, martial arts has been a great structure in my life where I learn how to assert myself in an environment where men and women respect each other and focus on the issues they need to work on.

  20. I watched little kids (all boys) in Yeman on HBO last night, smiling and laughing, standing in a pile of rubble, chanting “Death to America,” and “Damn the Jews” and thought exactly the same thing, Eric. It’s humankind, itself, in dire need. We worship death and destruction, turned upon one another (on ourselves) — no surprise that’s where we’re headed if we aren’t mind-ful. Thanks for this terrific piece, it’s a “leveler.”

  21. The HUMAN rights condition is abominable on the planet right now. Women are treated terribly, and so are men. The United States for example houses 25% of the world’s prisoners, the vast majority (more than 90%) of whom are men, and most of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent acts.

    In many parts of the world men are forced into the military as young boys. We don’t see this as “kidnapping” but that is exactly what it is. When one country wages war on the other, it’s largely men and boys sent to the front lines, compelled not only to risk their lives but to take the lives of others.

    So I think that the discussion, to be productive, needs to shift to the HUMAN rights condition rather than focusing on one sex or the other. When the discussion breaks down along gender lines (almost always assigning women the role of oppressed victim), the larger scenario disappears along with the common ground we share. This is typical divide and conquer. Please read the lyrics to A Pawn in Their Game.

    We are not going to ‘fix’ the world for women, but leave it in horrible condition for men. The condition of the world must improve for everyone if it’s going to improve for anyone.



  22. “We didn’t get to this place overnight and the journey to true equality between the genders and the races is still a work in progress with MUCH that still needs to be done (…)” Yes, you are right, Green-Star-gazer, and recent news shows us that there are still too many parts of the world where women are still treated appallingly, like property, such as this terrible story in Sudan
    and the recent news of a young Egyptian girl’s death following the barbaric practice of genital mutilation.

  23. “I have not done a formal study but I would say that exactly as any men and women have claimed some element of core reality, and exactly as many men and women are in La La Land, utterly cluleless. I have no evidence that women are ahead of men in this, in any significant way — only that, as usual, their PR department is more efficient.” -EF

    In order to move from a position where women were generally regarded as the property of men and could be whipped, starved, raped, sold/bartered or even burned at the stake with very little recourse to a place where a woman could possibly become the President of the United States and many are the Heads of state in their own home countries is a significant elevation in status and power. This says to me that a LOT of work to shift the balance of power economically and politically in society has been done, especially in the last century. I meant that in terms of power, Women have traveled the greater distance from being so deeply denied their own basic humanity to being able to have the opportunity to stand on their own two feet. We didn’t get to this place overnight and the journey to true equality between the genders and the races is still a work in progress with MUCH that still needs to be done but the trend is encouraging.

  24. When people behave badly towards other people, they very rarely do it deliberately. Generally, they don’t know (or can’t see) how offensive or upsetting their actions are. Those who are on the receiving end of such poor treatment find it hard to believe that it is not the result of a conscious choice. ‘How can they be so blind?’ say the victims. ‘How can they expect me to read minds?’ say the perpetrators. There is nothing to be gained from blaming anyone or anything this week, but there is much to be gained from pursuing peace.

    cainer weekly for pisces this week.

    Fits well here too?!

  25. A pluto in virgo element too? ie taking each case in its own light and going backwards and forwards until there is repair wherever repair is needful?

  26. Kosmic, there is room in the world for all herbs and all substances, and they all have their use, so far as I can see. Tobacco/Tabacum for example is an important homeopathic remedy, tobacco it has ceremonial use, and so on. But that is not what I am talking about.

    Like many things in our society is is abused severely by both industry and individuals. If you recall the congressional tobacco hearings of the mid-1990s, what is in cigarettes is not actually tobacco. It’s paper made from tobacco and many other ingredients: for example, sugar and chocolate to make it more addictive. Some cigarettes were 10% sugar by weight. As far as I know they still are. This is not listed on the package. Some brands had 200 ingredients.

    There is dioxin in cigarette smoke, not listed as an ingredient. There is radiation in cigarette smoke, which gets in via the fertilizer.

    That is what I am talking about, mostly.

    Then the industry pushes the stuff on kids, not so much in the U.S. (it used to, wildly) but in many parts of the world there is rampant cigarette addiction by small children. Many many teenagers in the U.S. smoke. In Europe it is out of control.

    It is true that there are numerous other sources of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and immune suppressants. There is dioxin in nearly all animal products, and in human milk. Once one really starts to understand toxin levels and how toxins work, it can be extremely troubling and one starts to question biting into that shrimp in the Chinese restaurant, wondering if you can actually smell the Corexit that was dumped into the Gulf of Mexico a few years back.

    We have to eat and kids have to nurse. But you don’t have to smoke. It is a wholly voluntary act, devoid of any nourishment. It’s addictive, habitual and always inflicted on others, if only via the clothes of people who were near them when they smoked.

    How many times have you seen a smoker put their butt in the trash? I almost always see them go flying out the car window, still, in 2014.

    Factoring the whole environment, and the whole food supply, the best thing one can do is avoid what is possible to avoid, one thing at a time. I did not list off food additives but I suggested cooking for oneself, which obviates a lot of toxins, depending on how it’s done.

    I personally don’t know anyone who uses tobacco strictly ceremonially, or who grows it. Well, I might know one person, I would have to ask him. I know many people who pretend to, because their smoking is so ritualized.
    Cigarette smoke remains the most bioavailable toxin I encounter when I walk out of my house — dozens of people smoking under the sidewalk canopy on my street (which traps the smoke), despite it being against federal law, city ordinance and basic courtesy.

    Like cannabis, it should only be legal to smoke it within one’s own home — but then your neighbors have rights, if for example you live in a condo. At least cannabis is smoked in relatively small amounts, better for the neighbors.

    As far as whether commercially available “organic” tobacco (i.e., American Spirits in its various forms including “organic,” which still can be sprayed) is “safer” than regular — personally, I would have to see the data on that, but I don’t believe it. The dioxin and radiation issues are rarely studied, and all smoke is carcinogenic. And nicotine is more addictive than heroin. The cigarettes don’t need chocolate, sugar or tobacco extract to be that addictive.

    Smoking is not the scapegoat, imo, it is the best example of what we need to and can in fact address in a world with too many toxins and toxic products, all of which are pushed on us for profit. It’s the easiest starting point. And once you know what is in so much food, and in the air, an obvious one. Radon seeping out of the ground is not a reason to rationalize smoking, imo — it’s the reason to stop.

    Note, I understand smoking and I like smoking. I smoked my share of Winstons when I was a college student, churning out books and magazines. It’s good that the pipe I used to occasionally smoke with fancy imported tobacco would blow my voice out, because I love my voice more than I love to smoke. The addictive nature is impossible to miss, though I am someone for whom it’s easy to go cold turkey. The nicotine did not have the grip on me; the act of smoking did.

  27. “I have no evidence that women are ahead of men in this, in any significant way — only that, as usual, their PR department is more efficient.” Good point Eric. There are times when I find men are far more on the ball about deep psychological issues than women are – I find there’s something very special (and often refreshing) about male sensitivity. One of the things that I can’t stand, that both men and women are always coming out with is, “If only women ruled the world…”. We had the bellicose Margaret Thatcher in the UK, for far too many years – and you have (mama grizzly) Sarah Palin in the US… for example.
    This is a wonderful, wise piece.
    Fe, I take my hat off to you – you’re doing the most amazing work with your theatre company!

  28. What an outstanding, thought-provoking article, Eric. Thank you for sharing these wise perspectives, so essential for all men to consider deeply. I especially enjoyed the addition of “deal with your homophobia”. As an openly gay man myself, I’ve noticed throughout my experiences that heterosexual men most aligned with these suggestions/qualities are far more comfortable in the presence of gay men; they’re more “secure” within themselves, know who they are, and are clear about their own sexual inclinations.

    I of course grew up with the admonitions that made it very clear that being gay was a really bad thing. For most of my life I never felt like I was truly a man, that I was somehow only half a man, or not quite worthy of being considered one. My Saturn return has changed all that, and this article is such a profound validation that I’m truly stepping up and embracing my masculinity in a functional and healthy way, gayness and all.

    My Aries Moon has a little quip, though. Yes, smoking conventional tobacco is probably not a good idea (additives, pesticides, etc.). But I’m not sure that’s it’s truly as harmful in its pure natural, organic state. Tobacco is used as a scapegoat for so many things. Everything is blamed on it to distract us from other causes (other environmental contaminants as well as nutrition). Radon gas emissions (in our homes) and car exhaust is far more harmful and carcinogenic (radon gas contributing to 50 percent of lung cancer cases). A cup of non-organic coffee–far more deadly, yikes. Yes, I smoke but still feel like a man 😉

  29. I have not done a formal study but I would say that exactly as any men and women have claimed some element of core reality, and exactly as many men and women are in La La Land, utterly cluleless. I have no evidence that women are ahead of men in this, in any significant way — only that, as usual, their PR department is more efficient.

  30. I loved the article, all of it. You covered many topics that I as a female, a wife, mother, and grandmother would want for the males in my life. To take accountability, responsibility, and self appreciation for what they are and can be and want to be. We do have too many wars and too much violence. Then in the aftermath, we don’t want to take the responsibility for healing the damage on the injured mind and body of those involved. Conscious choice and self responsibility are key for each of us.

  31. I very much appreciate this article and this conversation.

    The only way forward is to heal the massive imbalances we have in our culture(s). I’d like to suggest that a deeper layer to this discussion is the tension that exists between the competition model and the cooperation model. Most of what goes on here in the 3-D realm of physical reality appears (and I use that word very selectively) to be based on competition. Look anywhere in nature where there is big drama and it looks like a competition and that “survival of the fittest” is the rule. Somewhere along the line, as we moved further away from the natural world we thought this was how things just were, so the competition model got reinforced as the Holy Order of Things and it brought out the strong Yang parts of ourselves to be successful. Whoever had the bigger _____ (fill in the blank) was the winner and got to make the rules for everyone else.

    Now, we are learning that Nature is in fact NOT a competition but rather it is a set of nested systems of cooperation that are connected via invisible streams of influence. Science is now able to show us that this is truer than we realized: wolves are returned to Yellowstone and the water table rises. Live sperm in a cup can respond positively to stimulation that the donor experiences many rooms away. Even plants have the ability to communicate to other plants and “call for help”. And we, the human members of this ecosystem need to learn to increase our cooperation skills and see ourselves in terms of being in relationship with everything else. At the same time, we have to learn how to let go of our glorification of the competition model, something that is going to be very hard to do because that is the meme that has been driving our brains for a very long time… and Patriarchy is it’s crowning achievement. And we all know how well that went.

    The truth is we need both. We need to compete a little because it keeps us sharp. BUT, not if it is at the expense of anyone or any thing. Competition and its ladder of winners and losers is an artificial construct that we adopted and embraced as the ONLY truth for how to be successful in life. What we are moving towards now is learning about how to operate within nested systems. How to understand “relationship” more fully. ALL relationships and how everything is interconnected and how to support that part of ourselves that wants to be just as masterful at relating as we’ve become at competing. Finding that balance seems to be where we are headed.

    Men have been struggling because as we make this shift in paradigm, the usual ways that they have functioned in our societies has undergone a fundamental loss of purpose. The Sacred Male has lost his way and has lost his ability to shine without being a threat. I see that as women have done the work to reclaim the Sacred Feminine, to come out of the shadows and learn how to power themselves up without being a threat, (and many Men have engaged in this work too, as is required) so too our collective must engage in recovering the Sacred Masculine so he can be fully powered up without it being threatening. While women can help in this process, it is mainly the male half of the population that must do this healing work and it is going to be a huge challenge because the men have to let go to power-up, something that the previous paradigm did not support. BUT, and this is the trick… this does not mean a return to some sort of glorified patriarchy… this is a radical leap forward towards a new model where a healthy kinetic balance between polarities, all polarities, is sought and valued both in ourselves and in our systems of society.

  32. ..Half laughs, don’t have the whole story, but…

    Mars retro, I planted seeds in containers. April, I put some shit in the ground. (Yellow wax, green beans, and snap peas were in the ground in March.) Other than that, I’ve got a fuck-load of shit (vegetables) coming up now. Second harvest, today… enjoying some home grown.

    What I’ve learned,.. Good food, Good work, and correct thinking,.. the body, as all things, heals.

    Thanks for viewing the similaritous dichotomy of gender, ’cause to me, it’s all androgynous…

    (Yes, I have a tendency to make up my own words,.. as long as the meaning holds.)

    Nice to have this conversation.


  33. Son of Chief,

    I am flattered that you feel I can take on the issue of the foundation of Western Civilization. There are however different ways into that foundation, to the extent that it’s even accessible. I am writing from the point of view that each person carries a piece of it with them.

    Let’s say for laughs all men woke up one day respecting women’s bodies. Civilization would have indeed changed on the foundational level. Therefore for each person to awaken to that reality, and make that adjustment, we are talking about authentic change.

    In one sense there is no “civilization” just like there is no “relationship” as often is described by some people as a third party to their coupling or marriage. Civilization is also the set of compacts that any relationship stands on; its ethics, its expectations, its perceptions, its laws and its customs.

    I am curious for one example of where you would have me go.

    I can give one possible example. In Book of Blue, I begin with the premise that all sex is inherently self-relational and all desire for the other is potentially violent, or that there is a common theme between violence and desire for the other.

    From there, the rest of the story takes place either in the mirror, or with a woman holding the mirror, reflecting back all projections and compelling me and thus the reader to look at the source of the projections.

    That in turn requires a confrontation with narcissism and the allegation of such, in a society where nearly all relationships have narcissism as their foundation; and idea is unappealing to many because it might be true, and in this story not only reaches momentarily into a world without partnersex but also prompts everyone to confront their role in projection.

    That said, it took a while to get there, to prepare for that step, including confronting the scene of a mass murder where the seed idea of the sex/violence nexus revealed itself to me.

    In all this sounds like a better job for fiction than for nonfiction, though I think that many preliminary steps can be taken that are not a Band-Aid but more like karma yoga, the yoga of action and of awareness. Perhaps dharma yoga would be more accurate — that is what I was describing in my article.

  34. “I say this because men are currently blamed for all of the world’s problems. This is so prevalent that it’s seemingly an unquestionable truth, perceived to be a fact of nature. Everything bad that happens is allegedly a man’s fault. I don’t deny the existence of the patriarchy, but it consists of a far more complex set of dynamics than most descriptions you will see.”

    Yes, there is a far more complex set of dynamics at play here, and I’d love to see a piece that begins by articulating the underlying processes which manifest as patriarchy, loss of self-esteem, victimization, etc., and proceeds from there to offer solutions. I recognize you are writing from within, and writing to, the “Judeo-Christian Western Civilization” (a cumbersome and rather general label, but one that I hope suffices for this context), but I feel that by orienting the conversation to our cultural landscape, our external reality, the solutions presented serve as a bandaid for functioning within a dysfunctional culture.

    If the foundation of a building is not set properly, the structure is unsound (ask the folks in Pisa, Italy, if this holds true). I recommend setting a different foundation, based on something deeper than our insane culture, and building an offering of sanity to serve as a beacon for and from the community of Planet Waves.

  35. Thank you, Eric, for this brilliant article. It is a very well-timed and well-written reminder that these broad stereotypes are just irrational prejudices, however allied with common sense one’s opinion may seem.

    The current prevalence of abuse stories in the media, particularly the Operation Yewtree cases, has been tough for me. When I am feeling at my worst, it is difficult to trust and not be afraid. Writing like this helps me get back to sanity, and underlines the fact that most men, like most women, are just decent human beings trying to live their lives as well as they can in an imperfect world.

  36. ::::::clapping and cheering::::::

    As one of those women married to a very wonderful, sensitive, intuitive, caring, gentle, man, I am SO glad you wrote this, Eric. I would love to share the article (just that) with my FB friends; many of whom are not believers of astrology. Many of my Fb friends are men; they are great human beings and they are people. I have been saying this for so long and wondering how to put it into words; you have done it and I am glad.

    Yes, these apply to everyone. Women could use so many of the points listed, too. Yet I am glad you wrote about men because in the rush to feminism, many women and men have forgotten that men have a role in life, an important one and it is not about the “bad man;” it is about all those perfectly good men who are floundering under the weight of so much negativity and confusion about what their roles really are. Men ARE people, amazing, wonderful, sexy, smart, tender, compassionate, intuitive, protective, caring, people. It is high time everyone realizes that and values men for who they are.

  37. You’re welcome!

    And yes on the self-esteem issue. I tend to look at it as the two sides (or two of the sides) of Venus. First, there’s the Taurean expression of Venus which is very insular – dealing with self worth and value and resources and how we hold and love ourselves. Then, developmentally speaking, we go through the process of finding words for our perceptions (Gemini) and learning our ego ID through family (Cancer) and then ego expression (Leo)…..and so on to the Libran expression of Venus which is very much about the extension of that inner sense of value and relating with other people from that place of core self esteem and knowledge of our skills and resources. Trouble being that our society tends to value the Libran expression first and foremost – making self-esteem a product of external validation and imput rather than the other way around.

    Maybe another over-simplification…but that’s OK!

  38. I think a lot of this relates to the idea of ‘being real’, a theme Planet Waves has discussed before, and which seems to be prevalent during this Mars retrograde phase. The societal standards that have set up these gender roles and perceptions of men are all related to people being unsure or unaccepting of themselves. Like Eric said, the self-esteem issue is a major crisis at this point in humanity. I’m not trying to over-simplify, but I think that is the core problem.
    For example, I have two older brothers, and I’ve seen their “sensitive” side. However, at those moments, if one of their buddies had walked into the room, each one of my brothers would have closed down. Even if it was a close, trusted male friend. There’s something twisted about the way men act when together– the macho BS seems to take over. Same as the twisted competition and jealousy among women. People seem to lose who they really are when trying to project an image of what they think they should be.
    I agree, I think we need to change this by talking about it. Oh, and Amanda Moreno, thank you so much for adding “assholery” to my vocabulary. Love it.

  39. This article made both my mind and my heart *incredibly happy.*

    I read it just after I spent an hour listening to someone vent about some men that she works with. Although said men definitely seemed to fit the “asshole” category, I couldn’t help but feel a whole lot of compassion for these men as I knew their initial acts of assholery constellated a whole lot of projective energy from her ~ and it sure does seem hard to come by tools and models for self-respecting and nurturing ways to move beyond other people’s projections, especially for men. Especially tools and models that are intelligent, straight forward, and that cut through the bullshit in favor of owning our own desires as well as our own wounding (as Fe said – there’s a lot of overlap!) and moving forward from there. Thank you for providing all of these things in one swoop. Seriously, this is a beautiful piece.

    Thank you for also prompting me to reflect on the great big gaggle of men in my life and who come in to my astrology/tarot practice who ARE trying to engage life as honestly as they can. I could sense them throughout this piece. They’re quite the inspirational bunch.

    Finally – everything in this article seems fitting for anyone trying to engage an authentic path. I personally really appreciated reading the bit about loving people who respect you, as this has been a hard-earned lesson for me. “I have found that we tend to love who and what we take care of. This is a profound gift of human psychology, and I suggest you be open to it working in all directions.” Yes!

    And encouraging men to be friends with women – well, I’ve been recently lamenting the loss of my formerly male-centric circle of friends as opposite sex friendships seem increasingly hard to come by, which is quite the [sad] adjustment for me. A world where friendships are prioritized across genders…sounds delicious. Let’s just go ahead and make that happen.

  40. I greatly appreciate this article. As aware as I try to be, I actually caught myself thinking, “Men have feelings?” when reading a heartfelt letter that a boy wrote to my best friend.

    I guess I had just been seeing too much of the bad side of men lately and forgot that they were people.

    I am woman and am fully aware of the injustice toward women but I’ve always wondered why there is so little said of what men are conditioned to be: emotionally closed off, always strong, never vulnerable, worthy only of their accomplishments. I’ve seen such beautiful, sensitive, psychic men go down a road very far from their hearts just to “be a man”. It saddens me.

  41. I have printed this out as research for the women in our theater company, “The Medea Project – Theater for Incarcerated Women” to peruse and ponder for our new show in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, because so much of what troubles a majority of the women in our company in their past lives has to do with their projections onto men, because of the abuse they suffered under men.

    What this article does is shed light on what somewhat socially healthy men need to do to self-contain and become self-aware — so much of it overlaps what women have to do in key ways. Almost basic, actually, to our survival as a species.

    Reading this article made me open up a new lens on perceiving men, the old ones getting a little muddied and myopic from traversing down the same road of perspective and projection.

    Bravo, e!

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