From Hunt to Hearth: Crossing the Threshold
In the archetypal realm, a man enters the world to do battle, conquer foes, create fame & mis/fortune, and bring back resources to support his family, tribe, community. He wears armor, wields his sword, and protects his women, children, and stuff.
So as archetypes continuously act through us, men still do this battle, as do more and more women. (Welcome to our world.) From 8 to 5 or more, men are out there doing battle, not necessarily with life-threatening foes, but with a vertical hierarchical picture that there is only one winner. Those men both above & below us on the axis are perceived as threats. Traditional success keeps us looking at each other vertically, through the lens of competition. And when we go home, we carry that same deeply ingrained perception layered in our unconscious. And the fiery energy of battle.
But within the hearth, the domain of the feminine, the vertical gives way to the horizontal. It is a place of nurturance, of connection, hopefully of love & acceptance, a place of water. Men want that, need that, but do not really know how to make the energetic shift in order to receive. When fire meets water, one of 2 things happen: the water extinguishes the flames, or the flames boil the water. There is great tension between the 2 conflicting elements, especially when they unconsciously bump up against each other.
Men usually stumble across the threshold unconsciously and often rudely. The problem is that we do not recognize the critical and challenging intersection, the energetic difference across the thresholds. We do not know the necessity of a conscious surrendering of the “warrior (fire)” archetype, and a conscious embrace of the “lover (water)”. We unconsciously carry the warrior energy from the ‘hunt’ into the lover ‘hearth’, and we do damage.
Michael Mead tells us in “Men and the Water of Life” that a warrior must immerse his ‘fiery sword’ into cooling water. There are many ways that help a man do this, prior to crossing the threshold … do a meditation, listen to music, stop off at the local park, feed the ducks in the pond, take a shower, anything that helps him ‘cool the flame’. The intention is to let go of the masculine mode of being and consciously embrace the feminine mode of being.
The intended result of this conscious action … a partner who welcomes him home, children who feel their father’s love & presence, a kind, gentle, and reverent engagement of the energy & consciousness of the hearth, and best of all, peace, nurturance, & love for him, and his conscious & available love for them.