My brother Artie
As abusive as our culture can be to women, it is equally as abusive to men. Male energy is very different than female, male energy is Yang in nature, while female energy is Yin. Each of us has both Yin and Yang within ourselves, both are sacred.
I was blessed to grow up with three younger brothers. That became the basis for my deep love for what we call in Native tradition, ” the Male Shield”. Watching my brothers play, tumbling over themselves like puppies, wrestling with each other, laughing, enjoying each other, was joyful. Their boundless exuberance was incredible. Little boys don’t sit still. They aren’t designed to. I often grieve our educational system, that expects them to. I wonder if as many kids would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, if they were given the opportunity to just MOVE, every hour or so.
Watching my brothers, their bond, their love for each other that spanned decades, taught me so much about men, warrior spirit, and the sweet heart that men have. A little boy will offer you his last piece of candy, all melted or squashed, that he’s been saving, with a generosity that is staggering. Their loyalty, coupled with fierceness, is deeply moving. If anyone messed with one of my brothers, he messed with all three, much to that person’s dismay, because by their teens, they were all huge. 6’7,” 6’4″, and 6’2″ being the smallest. Their fairness and kindness was wonderful to watch.
I’ve wondered who made the rule that if you’re born with external plumbing, you have to put your dreams on a back burner to become a ” good provider”. No matter that you may want to be a writer, an artist, a musician… those are just dreams, and men can’t be allowed those. No, you have to do something PRACTICAL, and have your dream as a hobby. What? Why? Our dreams are what keep us alive, and give our lives meaning. Stripping men of their dreams is the cruelest thing the culture does to them. I believe that is what contributes to the pandemic of addiction we see, the death of dreams.
It’s less obvious than misogyny, but just as pervasive, the abuse of the Male Shield. It’s heartbreaking. Men are celebrated if they are warriors when they are soldiers…. until they come home. Then, society wants them to forget what they were exposed to, forget about their battles, and return to a kind of placidity that is completely at odds with their military experiences. If they have PTSD, they are made to feel less than, ashamed, that somehow a REAL man wouldn’t have that. That it would be easy for a real man to kill, to wound, or to watch friends die. Some fall into depression, or become suicidal, from the rejection of a culture that has no understanding or respect for the truth of the Male Shield.
The truth of the Male Shield lies in the sweet heart of it. That incredible combination of fierceness and sweetness. Gentleness and strength. Passion and compassion. The capacity for empathy. That’s the Male Shield. Western culture has absolutely no clue about it. It sees men that are bullies, or who are aggressive, or are narcissists, as ” real men”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Real men don’t bully. Bullying comes out of fear. Aggression comes out of fear. Courage comes out of love, that sense of honor and integrity that a real man has, all of the time.
I’m married to a wonderful man, with that sweet heart. Generous, kind, and funny. But…. don’t threaten his children, me, our animals, or anything he sees as being vulnerable. That would be a big mistake. Huge. Out comes the fierceness, the fearlessness, the warrior. His eyes turn to flame. It’s fascinating to watch. Sleeping next to him makes me feel completely safe.
Some may wonder how I, as an incest survivor, and a survivor of domestic violence, can have so much love and respect for the Male Shield. That’s easy to answer. Those beings that are predators and offenders are not men. They are something else, something dark, twisted, and pathetic. Evil. The Male Shield vibrates to the Sun, it is radiant light, healing and warming. Lying next to a man is like lying next to a furnace, their body exuding warmth. They burn hotter than women. It’s wonderful, unless it’s summertime and you have no air conditioning.
It is the natural instinct of the Male Shield to protect and defend. It doesn’t mean that men see women as weak, when they want to protect us. It’s part of the way a man is hard-wired. That’s the fierceness. That’s the warrior spirit. I grieve that the culture corrupts that, by its sexual objectification of women. Men are bombarded by images and music that can taint their experience of the Female Shield, robbing them of that sweet heart that is inherent in all men, turning compassion into passion…. Love and gentleness into lust, sex for the sake of sex…. Giving them permission to indulge in a darker side of sexuality, which has nothing to do with intimacy, in fact, destroying any chance for true intimacy, which is founded on tenderness and vulnerability.
A real man can be tender, kind, vulnerable, while at the same time being passionate and fierce. They are the storm, the thunder, the lightning, the dragon. At the same time, they are the wolf that mates for life, the peaceful lake, the beautiful field of wildflowers, the trees, rooted into the Earth, enduring.
I have been blessed in my life to have journeyed with them, both four-legged and two-legged. The teachers in my life, from Native elders to Taoist Master Yuen, have all embodied the highest vibration of the Male Shield. Don’t ever become discouraged by some of the worst aspects we see of what appears to be Male. It isn’t. It’s the poorest, most diluted imitation of it, posers trying to fake maleness, without having any idea of the beauty and power of the true Male Shield.
May this perspective bless all who read it. The photo I’ve included is of my brother Artie, my middle brother, who passed away in 2000. He was forty five. One of the finest men I’ve ever known. I miss you, dude. I love you. Blessings, Judith
*** Some of my beloved four-leggeds on the other side… Nardo, ( my horse), Willy and Onyx, ( my German Shepherds), Piewacket, ( my Siamese cat) and Ishta, ( my Birman cat) Thank you all for representing the sweet heart and fierceness of the Male Shield in the animal kingdom. Love you all.***