Through a Jungian Lens

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He: Understanding Masculine Psychology – Pt 2

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The first touch of consciousness in a youth appears as a wound or as suffering.” [Johnson, He, p. 7]

Wounding is not something new. It is impossible to move through childhood and youth without being wounded. Even those with safe, loving and nurturing environments are wounded. The wounding isn’t necessarily due to abuse – physical, emotional, mental, sexual, psychological. In spite of all the types of abuse that make the news, everyone suffers the wounding of loss – the loss of innocence that comes with consciousness, that shift from childhood to adult through adolescence.

The arrival of consciousness at the cost of innocence. Typically this loss comes with adolescence where the body physically changes from child to a reproductive being. Testes enlarge, pubic hair emerges, the voice deepens, the penis takes on a curious life of its own often embarrassing the adolescent male. The shift from childhood isn’t the wound though. The wound is heralded by this shift.

Most western men are Fisher Kings. Every boy has naively blundered into something too big for him. He proceeds halfway through his masculine development and then drops it as being too hot. Often a certain bitterness arises, because, like the Fisher King, he can neither live with the new consciousness he has touched nor can he entirely drop it.” [pp 7-8]

Fantasy, the avenging hero, the heroic Eros gifting the world with love through wounding.

Fantasy, the avenging hero, the heroic Eros gifting the world with love through wounding.

Like all other young males, I was wounded. I lost my sense of magic, of fantasy and fairy tale and childhood innocence. One day I am a child, and then the wounding leaves me a broken man in spite of the fact that I was only ten years old. I had been wounded sexually, physically and emotionally before I was ten, but those woundings were visited upon me when I was a child, and they didn’t change the fact that I was still a child after the abuse. The wounding means that childhood has come to an end.

It isn’t important that I detail my wounding. What is important is that I am aware of that wounding and what I do about it. I know what I did for the years following the wounding, years which I denied my wounding, buried it beneath layer upon layer of banishment.

It is painful to watch a young man realize that the world is not just joy and happiness, to watch the disintegration of his childlike beauty, faith and optimism. It is regrettable but necessary – if we are not cast out of the Garden of Eden, there can be no Heavenly Jerusalem.” [p. 8]

Necessary? Yes, necessary. It doesn’t really matter how one is wounded, but it is necessary for wounding to happen. Otherwise, we would never leave childhood and become adult men and women. Now, I can understand this without becoming consumed by bitterness. I do understand that the wounding did force me to take a road away from my home in the years that followed the wounding. And like Parsifal, I went in search of my Holy Grail.

With that said, I take leave for now and pledge to return with more words of wounding, and becoming a man as a result of the wounding.


2 Responses

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  1. Thank you – I lost my mother when I was 6 – went back to Slovenia – her homeland and met an Aunt I never knew existed -blessed be the hug!
    the wounding that occurs is a rite of passage formalised in tribal ritual – if done properly – it is the true beginnings of manhood!
    The male emu in Australia rears the chicks till they are 18 months old- he has become my animal totem/metaphor/positive complex/myth etc for what was also a broken father/son relationship
    cheers from the great southern land

    Bob cvetkovic

    March 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    • The papa Jacinda bird in Central America also raises the young birds while Mama Jacinda is off frolicking with other swains. Interesting to here about the Emu being an animal totem. Here in Canada, the gold eagle is my totem. I have collected eagle artefacts for as long as I can remember. My business card featured a stylised eagle, the last school for which I was principal had the eagles as the name of all school teams. And. I found out later in life that my ancestors came to Canada in the mid 1600s on a ship called the Golden Eagle l’aigle d’or. Thanks for your sharing here.


      March 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

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