Episode 168 – THE UNSPOKEN WOUNDING OF MEN

Jun 17, 2021

Photo Credit: Gabriel E. via Unsplash.com

Jung’s earliest dream, at age three or four, preoccupied him all his life, “in an underground chamber, a giant phallus stood erect on a golden throne.” Majestic and luminous, it struck him with terror that intensified as his mother’s voice cried out in warning. Phallos, the central archetype of a man’s psyche, was once worshipped as sacred. Its urgent, dynamic, and fertilizing power was split off with the rise of ascetic monotheism and banished to the unconscious. Misplaced and maligned, it surfaces as resentful passivity, fear of passion, confusion of values, and reluctance to take action. Phallos is neither reducible to physicality nor synonymous with the patriarchal structures that have alienated men from their vulnerabilities and locked entire cultures into rigid hierarchies. When properly understood, Phallos can revitalize a man’s spirit and set him in vigorous relationship to himself and others. When wounded, it palls his potential.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I’m in a taxi, on my way to an old friend’s wedding on the high street where I live. I had on a great suit which everybody loved, but I had forgotten my tie. I realized I didn’t have time to go back home, so I went into the back room of a thrift shop which only had a selection of boring ties. As I came out, the shop was filling up with wedding guests. Then I found myself in a different, very gloomy, very cluttered thrift shop with no windows or seemingly a door. In it was a blonde woman, who I asked about ties. She pointed to a corner, and I found a couple more boring ties. I picked them up and laid them on a circular, cluttered table to get a better look in the gloom. I then realized on the table was a larger pile of ties, and to my astonishment, they were ones I had once owned but must have given away to the shop years earlier, still lying there. I told the woman, but she just shrugged. I went through them and found my favorite, which was a dark background with white circles on it. It wasn’t perfect, but it would have to do.”

 RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

REFERENCES:

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by C.G. Jung. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0679723951/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_KJ9YSPFZZ5XZ6A7MND2R

Iron John: A Book about Men by Robert Bly. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0306824264/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_H4265W9BKGA44JC3WJMW

Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men by James Hollis. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y2U9ARS/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_MX6Z6GB2933NNM78FM47

Fear of the Feminine by Erich Neumann. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691034737/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_F6B98SARV608ER64N5CE

Phallos by Eugene Monick. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123260/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Z2J86A205EYN5EK4T7FR

Castration and Male Rage by Eugene Monick. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123511/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PA070QF8AHM4DMM29TCQ

13 Comments

  1. Erica Espano

    This was wonderful and enlightening. But I wonder if a similar discussion on modern women and their animus is coming?

    Reply
  2. Simcha

    Urgently needed podcast – so many issues addressed that it would be helpful to have a “sequel.” If possible?

    I have a question about a comment by Joseph Lee at 11:00: “In the ancient world, intercourse was not associated even with fertility. That in some ancient cultures, the spirits of the ancestors would somehow inhabit a woman’s womb and command a kind of birth. And that the drive to copulate seemed like some other kind of magic.”

    Are there any bibliographical references we could read to learn more about this statement? First: that women were thought to be impregnated by ancestor spirits. Second, that the drive to copulate seemed like magic – so what kind of magic for these cultures?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joseph Lee

      I came across this idea reading about the early contact with tribes on Papua New Guinea starting in the 20th century.
      ~ Joseph

      Reply
      • Simcha

        Thank you! What was the book?

        Reply
  3. Jo Marie Thompson

    This looks great – For some reason this episode is not appearing in Apple Podcasts.

    Reply
    • Joseph Lee

      Thank you for flagging this, Jo. It is indeed being blocked on Apple Podcasts. I have not found a way to explore or appeal.

      Reply
  4. Mamie Allegretti

    Hello,
    Yes, this was a great episode and my husband confirms that you did hit many of the most important wounds. A few things came to mind. First, there really are no rituals of passage for young boys who are having their first experiences with the great god Pan! Where do boys go to get advice and help directing that energy? I imagine it’s very hard to talk about and they do tend to just close the door and turn inward. Things may be different now because men are taking a greater role in raising kids but it still must be difficult to discuss if they do so at all! Second, when you were talking about the campus culture, I was thinking that women, too, have difficulty with their sexual drives and behavior. On one hand, we’re told to be demure and on the other, a seductive vixen. This probably creates a lot of tension in young women who are turned on sexually but are then also shamed for acting that out. Perhaps that accounts for why women then often claim to feel violated after a sexual experience. We often just tell women to “say no” firmly to sexual experience but they really want to. So that doesn’t work and leads to miscommunication, shame, etc. There’s also a lot of desire to play the victim in our culture as well. Everyone is offended in some way by something. Some family members of mine had a great victim complex and so I saw that one quite a bit. The responsibility was never theirs. Third, my husband brought up the fact that men see each other as competitors – for women, for jobs, for pretty much everything. It’s hard for a man to show vulnerability to anyone, especially other men. He saw this in his own home growing up, So, it is a complex issue and one that I hope you will revisit.

    Reply
  5. Mamie Allegretti

    Hello again,
    I just finished Lisa’s book, Motherhood, and I really enjoyed it. Though I’m not a mother (except to a cat!), I found that many of her ideas could be applied to other situations and relationships. But it made me think again about my relationship with my mother. One time, when I was maybe in 9th grade, my mother was seized with anger, grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me and yelled in my face. I immediately shut down. And I notice that I still shut down like this when encountering the same situations where I feel confronted. Of course, she felt so bad afterwards and tried to repair the situation by apologizing and buying me a few things I wanted. Both of my parents were very pragmatic and down to earth. They showed their flaws. They didn’t hold themselves up to be beyond reproach. My mother would often say, “Everyone’s flawed.” I can totally understand how she must have felt after this incident because its happened to me many times. Although I was very hurt, I could understand it because it is also a part of me. In fact, many of my parent’s flaws are a part of me to this day. And even though I am aware of many of them, they still can get me sometimes. I also thought of a great tension of the opposites that moms must hold – living their own lives and at the same time sacrificing and caring for their children. I think Lisa rightly pointed out the imbalance and depression and other issues that can arise from shifting too far to one side. My mom always said that it was her job to “teach baby bird how to fly.” And I could see that, in the great transitions of my life – going to college, moving out of the house, having relationships, getting jobs – she felt sadness and probably a whole range of emotions, but she knew that baby bird was flying and she had done her job. And despite all the mistakes she made and the positive and not so positive imprints she left on me, I feel like she did a pretty good job. So, thank you, Lisa, for making me look at my mom from a few different perspectives! I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  6. Lee Saville-Iksic

    What a bold and important episode! I now have language for psycho-spiritual pain and frustration that I’ve experienced for over 20 years – a lack of “redness”! Reflecting on your conversations has brought such deeper meaning and healing to my personal story, and I’m now convinced that the content of this episode is the core wound with which I have struggled throughout my life.

    Joseph, I have a question: you have talked a handful of times about the active imagination you used to carry forward your dream of someone breaking into your home – would you considering your resulting growth as an initiation of greater redness in your own life? I’m curious about the ways in which a man can embrace this energy long after the teenage years of Pan have passed (I’ve got Iron John and Monick’s books on my reading list).

    Thank you for your important work!

    Reply
  7. Terry

    There is (as always) a lot of wisdom here. But I am troubled by one part of this episode. When you are describing the alleged behavior of the young man punished for an assault in college, you downplay his aggressive behavior when he’s cajoling her to stay. It sounded to me like classic manipulation. She said she was leaving, he should respect that. Women are taught to expect and defer to that kind of manipulation, so I think she was right to call him out on it. The system at the college sounds unfair in the consequences it applied for the behavior, but that is not the young woman’s fault. I believe that, instead of the “punishing goddess” archetype moving through her, it might be Hestia–protector of the hearth and her own sovereignty. I think it is important for us to not blame the male wounding on female empowerment. It does not necessarily have to work that way, and I believe it is up to us to envision how male and female can share power and respect for one another.

    Reply
  8. Peter Möller

    This was one of the most interesting episodes to date! As a man (55 years old), I recognised everything you talked about and it was at times both painful and liberating to hear. I have often been intrigued by the conflict between men wanting “armour” and enhancement of our power/ability on one hand, and on the other the fact that it is only when Darth Vader removes his helmet that he can truly live. I could go on and on about how I recognised everything you said, but will restrain myself here.
    I would gladly listen to more in-depth about men and also about women. There’s a tragic tendency to believe that one must talk about *either* the male *or* the female perspective and not realise that the stage is big enough for the both of us. We must take turn and truly listen to one another. This was a great, great part about one side that is very rarely spoken about (if at all).
    Again, from the bottom of my heart: thank you for an absolutely fantastic episode!

    Reply
    • Joseph Lee

      Thank you, Peter. I was trying to reach men in the collective who would appreciate this archetypal depth of soul. Your comment reassures me.
      ~ Joseph

      Reply

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