Mythopoetic Perspectives of Men's Healing Work: An Anthology for Therapists and Others

By Edward Read Barton | Go to book overview

the struggle for gender justice (p. 362). He also acknowledges that there are two different and "distinct universes that each group relies upon for analysis. On the one side lies the world of spirit, the soul--poetry, myths, legends and non- European ritual: on the other side lies the world of political and intellectual engagement--history, social science, journalistic narrative" (p. 364).

There are differences in approaches between the two groups but also much more commonality than is usually presumed or understood. From the parallels and commonalities, it seems clear that mythopoetic men should receive more respect and support from feminists and profeminist men for the healing and transformative work they do to heal self, family of what ever configuration, relationships, and others. This healing can and will have a positive impact on healing and changing the negative aspects of social structures and systems that dominate our lives.

The chapters in Part IV in this book discuss some of these themes and commonalities, which may be a basis for starting to heal the rift between the feminists, profeminist men, and the mythopoetic branch. The intervening chapters explore in more detail mythopoetic theory and research that demonstrates the powerful impact on men of the mythopoetic perspective and mythopoetic men's healing work.


NOTES
1.
Reference to newsletters of men's groups and other ephemeral materials are archived in the Changing Men Collections, Special Collections Division, of the Michigan State University Libraries. The archive contains 700 newsletters from all branches of men's work, worldwide, plus numerous topic headings for authors, subjects, men's centers, men's groups, and others, with over 800 cataloged entries under the subject of men's movement. The web site address for the Changing Men Collections is http://www. lib.msu.edu/coll/main/spec_col/radicalism/men.
2.
Although Bly may have popularized the idea of the absent father's causing a father wound, the idea was not original with Bly. The following quotation comes from an undergraduate college textbook my mother, Caroline Read (Barton), used during her senior year in 1928 at Michigan State University (then Michigan State College):

The industrial revolution wrought a profound and fundamental change in the family life of the small workman. . . . Instead of plying his trade in his own home surrounded by his wife, his children and his apprentices, whose work he directed, he betook himself at the shriek of a whistle to the factory, where he labored with his fellows in crowded, unwholesome rooms until the evening. Instead of carrying through a piece of work to its end and thus experiencing the satisfaction that comes to the worker from the finished product, he carried on one simple mechanical process from morn till night, which, as division of labor became more and more minute, was but a small portion of the work necessary to a completed product.

This impacted his relationship with his family. "Absent from home the entire day, his influence over his children was necessarily weakened and he became distinctly less powerful a force in shaping the life and ideas of his family." ( Goodsell, 1927, pp. 422-423)

-17-

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