We’ve been wondering what masculinity is for some decades. Is it important? Is it toxic? Has Western society evolved beyond the point of needing it? What about male mentors and the education and initiation of young men? That sort of thing.
During the 1990s, there emerged kind of back-to-nature men’s movement arose, based loosely on the book Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly. As you’ve probably noticed, today, in response to the above questions about — as well as criticisms of, masculinity, especially in the media — a range of groups, movements, and websites have appeared. Continue reading “When Did We Become Men? Manhood, Archetypes, and Going Beyond”
In the documentary Kumare, Vikram Gandhi dresses himself as a guru, speaks in a fake Indian accent, and builds a following of devotees. His teaching: he is an illusion and that the student has to make changes for themselves. The devotion to “Kumare” remains high until he reveals that he really grew up in America, and is not a guru (he’s a reporter for Vice). Then, half of his devotees walk out in disgust. Those that don’t, however, are the ones that see major changes in their lives — changes that they had apparently been unable to make before.
In the West, the guru is a controversial figure. Although many Americans reference their university professors and first bosses whenever possible, most utterly reject the notion of a guru. Conversely, some — especially in the fields of Yoga, Tantra, Sufism, and Eastern religion — actively search for a guru to almost blindly follow. Continue reading “The Guru On The Journey Of Self-Initiation”
Richard Smoley is a consulting editor to Parabola magazine and the author of several books on esotericism, religion, and spirituality, including Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History, How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible, and Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition.
During the 1980s, Smoley was a writer for the respected esoteric journal Gnosis, and in 1990 he became the journal’s editor. Under his editorship, Gnosis released issues on Gnosticism, Freemasonry, G.I. Gurdjieff, the spirituality of Russia, and more.
We spoke to him about the spiritual crisis of the West, alternative spirituality, and inner Christianity. Continue reading “Interview: Inner Christianity and Esotericism With Richard Smoley”