Men and the Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of Men

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"When generativity, creativity, generosity, and the capacity to embrace life dry up, the Water of Life has gone underground. At such times, the earth becomes arid, life becomes devoid of meaning, the ground of culture cracks and splits, and gaps develop among peoples and between people and nature. Only water can bring the piece back together, awaken seeds hidden in the ground, and enliven the parched Tree of Life." One of the most important ways to call forth the water of life is through story. For years Michael Meade has been steeped in stories, ...
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Overview

"When generativity, creativity, generosity, and the capacity to embrace life dry up, the Water of Life has gone underground. At such times, the earth becomes arid, life becomes devoid of meaning, the ground of culture cracks and splits, and gaps develop among peoples and between people and nature. Only water can bring the piece back together, awaken seeds hidden in the ground, and enliven the parched Tree of Life." One of the most important ways to call forth the water of life is through story. For years Michael Meade has been steeped in stories, some from the ground of his own life, others from the ancient rivers of Celtic, European, and African myth. Still others emerge from years spent as a teacher, listening to the stories that both men and women carry. From these stories he derives medicine for healing individual wounds and uncovers rituals for the remaking of community. Through stories that explore and illuminate the lives of men, Meade examines the wounds that often arise between father and son and the spells that can exist between mother and child. These "troubles" are investigated from psychological and mythological perspectives in order to uncover the layers of meaning embedded in life experiences and to discover the seeds of healing. At the core of the book are stories of initiatory events that mark a man's or a woman's soul over and pull a person deeper into life than he or she would normally choose to go. Seen as tempering through fire and water, these events decide who a person is, cause some power to erupt from inside, or strip everything away until all that remains is one's essential self. Attuned to our modern needs - the wounds of divorce, addiction, and loss, the moral abandonment of children, the gap between the genders - and our mythic inheritance, Men and the Water of Life offers narratives that reflect and resonate with the oldest parts of the human psyche - the place where things began and the place where things can begin again.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In an effort to balance all the self-actualization books aimed at women, Meade successfully compiles international legends and myths that allow men to examine themselves objectively. This, Meade hopes, will help us avoid the chaos and ruin that occurs when a society no longer contains a relevant mythology, much as Joseph Campbell observed. The book is most effective in its use of ancient stories to illuminate conflicts modern men may experience. For instance, one story tells of a boy and a half-giantess who brews all the elements of creation in her cauldron. The boy steals food from her, symbolizing the partaking of wisdom, which helps him to become a full-fledged adult. Through such tales, the author examines how men can learn to understand their inner landscapes. For large psychology collections.-- Michael Tierno, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062507266
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/3/1994
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Road of the Two Fathers
1 The Hunter and His Son 27
2 The King's Hut 36
3 The Two Slayings 46
4 A Fondness for Swords 56
5 Spirit Fathers 68
Pt. 2 Moving the Mother
6 The Boy and the Half-Giantess 87
7 The Spell 101
8 The Lizard in the Fire 111
9 Breaking the Spell 121
Pt. 3 Ceremonies of Innocence
10 Recovering the Boy, Uncovering the Man 137
11 The Druid's Hut 149
12 The Land Below the Waters 162
13 Bound for the Sacred 181
14 Conditions on the Soul 193
Pt. 4 The Land of Fire
15 The Burning Feather 217
16 Litima: The Inner Heat 233
17 Those Who Are Burning 246
18 Cooling the Fires 260
19 Leaping into the Cauldron 276
Pt. 5 The Water of Life
20 Breaking Down 297
21 The Territory of Brothers 306
22 Submission, Surrender 319
23 Men of Stone 335
24 The Effects of the Water of Life 351
Pt. 6 The Companions
25 Incurable Wounds 375
26 The Territory of the Ancestors 386
27 Conflict, Shadows, and Community 402
28 At the Wedding 423
Acknowledgments 437
Select Bibliography 439
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