The Evolution of Masculinity: the Spirit, Relationships and Success

The Evolution of Masculinity: the Spirit, Relationships and Success

‘If you want to be spiritual, ask uncomfortable questions,’ Goddess News, Spiritual Blog, Divine Feminine,

Dr Joanna Kujawa, Spiritual Detective :).

Last November as I was giving a talk and conducting a workshop on Sophia and Gnostic Goddesses for the Carl Jung Society in Melbourne – the talk was dedicated to exploring the Divine Feminine – one woman wisely asked me: ‘But what about the Divine Masculine in our lives?’

I must say that I was in awe of her question because, immersed in my desire to explore my own spiritual path, I had forgotten about my second half, so to speak. All I could say was, ‘What a good idea!’ and left it at that. This was not to say I had not listened to talks at academic conferences or read papers on masculinity, it was more that I could not relate to them because they had never gone in the direction of what I thought was the important part of our being – spirituality. Perhaps this was/is a common shortcoming in academia and mainstream media, perhaps it was my shortcoming. What is important is that the Feminine – however evolved and divine – has a very impressive counter-part to play within – the Masculine.

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst, pointed out to us about 80 years ago or more that all of us, women and men, are a combination of Animus and Anima, the masculine and feminine elements, but just in different ratios. The most well-known symbol for this is, of course, the Taoists’ sign of the Yin and Yang.

So imagine my surprise when among my emails I found an interview with Zeus Yiamouyiannis, the author of the book The Spiritually Confident Man. Minutes after listening to the interview with him I bought his book. I bought it because it helps me to address questions that I have long had in mind about spiritual evolution, relationships and success; until then I had been answering these questions only from one point of the spectrum – the Feminine.

My attitude up until that point was a bit bizarre, especially given that all my life I have been fascinated by masculinity and men. This could be because I was brought up by women (once my parents divorced) but, like many women, I have found myself falling for, or in relationships with, all kinds of men, with little understanding of what was drawing us towards each other, or why things worked or did not work. The only reason I do have some understanding now and am in a wonderful relationship is because I decided to work on myself spiritually and strive to be authentic – in my relationships and especially in my intimate relationship with my husband. No masks. No pretence.

But it has not always been like that, not in my previous relationships, anyway.

What Zeus Yiamouyiannis does in his book that I find most useful is that he explains to us the common archetypes/tendencies/levels of masculinity, and he does this in a very personal and well-intentioned way that precludes any judgement. The three most common ‘types’ (for lack of a better word) of masculinity are: ‘The Animal Man’, ‘The Social Man’ and ‘The Co-Creative Man’. Each of these types has an additional three aspects in either their ‘evolved’ or ‘less evolved’ modes.

Let me give you a few simplified examples from the book. The Animal Man is driven by competition, survival and sexual initiative. He might be passionate and virile but he is often disconnected from his feelings and can be self-centred. At his worst, he is a bully and a buffoon who is insensitive to other people’s needs. At his best, he can be a wonderful ‘provider’, and a ‘man’s man’, whom a woman who wants to be ‘taken care of’ might consider a great partner.

Ultimately, The Animal Man is trapped within a very basic understanding of what it means to be a man, and is disconnected from himself and his feelings. He is the archetypical corporate man, with all the adages of success. In some terms, he might also be considered selfish because, even at his best as a ‘provider’, his sphere of ‘care’ almost never extends beyond himself or his immediate family.

For a brief time I dated an example of this kind of man (who was in his more evolved or ‘better’ mode) but quickly realised that, although I was attracted to his manliness (he was a jet fighter pilot, Top Gun style – I kid you not! – in the US military), I could not find a meeting point between us emotionally. It was as if the Yin and Yang or the Pure Animus and Anima had met but without the possibility of any true connection because the lines between the Masculine and Feminine were so clearly drawn. Our only connection point, apart from sexual attraction, was arguing about politics!

The second ‘type’ is The Social Man who is, I bet, often the son of a traditional Animal Man. The Social Man is what Yiamouyiannis calls ‘a team-player’ who is sensitive and capable of seeing other people’s needs – almost by rule he is a good family man and helps around the house with housework, etc.

However, in his ‘lower’ mode he is ruled by a desire to ‘be liked’ and shows some elements of avoiding facing the challenges of life. Often with this The Social Man can be attractive to either older or successful, assertive women, who might like to ‘mother’ him.

Alternatively, in his ‘evolved’ aspect The Social Man can be a true ‘equal man’ who values his relationships, is an excellent parent and someone who might work in well-paid job which is also ‘socially progressive’ because he understands the value of working for some higher ideal or social good. Unlike The Animal Man, The Social Man treats his wife as his true Equal.

So what is wrong with this picture, since this man definitely lives out an evolved and more amicable form of masculinity? It might be two things: one, that he has lost somewhere along the way the resilience and charisma of The Animal Man and, as Yiamouyiannis says, he will probably go through a midlife crisis because his world is still largely limited to his family and work (even if with higher ideals). I do not want to be mean here, as I love men, but it seems to me that many men in their late 30s or early 40s go through The Social Man stage.

My husband and I go out on weekends to a beautiful café where many young well-to-do families go and I know what Yiamouyiannis means. The men appear really nice but something seems missing in them. They seem to have lost a part of themselves (please forgive me for saying this) by the exclusive identification with being ‘good’ fathers and husbands. They have lost their vitality somewhere but have not yet gained a deeper sense of the Self. Many (not all) of them are completely identified with the their social roles. And I’ll bet it is their wives who read Fifty Shades of Grey when nobody’s home!

This is where Yiamouyiannis’ insight comes to the fore: all three types of man need to be accepted and integrated within each man, within each person. Women are also responsible for this, as it is we who accept and are attracted to specific types as well. We need to accept and respect each aspect of masculinity in our men (apart, of course, from the toxic, abusive, self-centred aspect of The Animal Man).

Let me come back to Carl Jung now and his explanation of Male-Female polarity as being the essential part of the whole of Creation. According to Jung’s Gnostic work The Red Book, this polarity is the cause of all creation: nothing can exist without it and nothing can create or reproduce without it. This is why the earliest manifestations of Being, from the Pleroma (the Primal Cosmic Soup), come as pairs of opposites – including Feminine and Masculine Energies.

Energies, though, is the word here. Not sexualities. Not genders. Sexualities and genders are only aspects of these Energies, and, sure, they are super exciting – no argument from me here! But they are more than this. The Polarity is that of the Energies. This is perhaps why some of the most manly men energetically have a great charisma that makes ones feel weak in one’s knees just by being around them. They are not necessarily the best or most virile lovers – because masculinity is so much more than that.

This brings me to the third type, The Co-Creative Man. Let me quote Yiamouyiannis here: ‘The evolved, spiritually confident Co-Creative Man devotes himself to a deeper life and service’, and he understands that ‘ego is a servant, not a leader’. This type of man is no longer interested in fulfilling anyone’s expectations the way that perhaps The Animal Man does unconsciously and The Social Man does consciously. Instead, he is open to a different life, even if it is an unknown to him. The Co-Creative Man, like all of Yiamouyiannis’ ‘modes’, has three levels:

The Despairing Man (a man who can see that the old ways are not serving us anymore but does not see new paths as yet), who is someone who might be tempted to recapture the joy of his youth by marrying someone half his age, for example. But, ideally, he will ‘face the music’ and open himself up to new possibilities, where the growth lies.

The Searching Man opens himself up to the uncertainty of all unknown possibilities because he can see that his past values have been built on illusions. He takes the courageous step towards this exploration, which often includes spiritual exploration of ‘a larger cosmic dance’. Beyond the usual dualities of ‘either-or’, he can wonder ‘why not both’? On a professional level, he will incorporate this calling into his career. For example, if he is a doctor, he might include holistic teachings in his practice, even if this is being frowned upon by his colleagues.

The most evolved level is The Spiritually Confident Man, who has ‘active faith’ and ‘desires the world instead of fighting against it’. A man at this level knows that he is an essential, if small, part of a larger Cosmos. He is led by compassion and openness to what might be, as he is co-creating it. He is okay with not knowing and he does not have to prove himself to know his value.

Yiamouyiannis often repeats that men are conditioned from birth to live in opposition to the world and to constantly prove themselves to the world as worthy, which, in turn, forces them to pretend that they know everything, even before they have a chance of learning anything.

And, most importantly for me, The Spiritually Confident Man accepts not only every aspect of himself with compassion but also rejoices in the world and accepts it as Gift to enjoy rather than something to prove himself against.

Professionally this means that he might decline a promotion because it might interfere with a creative passion that does not generate income. He is not driven by a desire to be seen as accomplished according to societal standards but rather by the desire to explore his ‘deeper values’ personally and in the world.

 Romantically, this can mean he is more likely to pursue a person because he wants to know them deeper, without feeling afraid of exposing his real feelings and delighting in a meaningful union rather than trying to impress sexually.

So what does this have to do with the Divine Feminine?

I think we need to recognise and enhance this growth in each other. I have always believed we are evolutionary beings and that the only way to growth is by moving into the Great Unknown, where all possibilities live. There is absolutely no evolutionary value in repeating old models (which does not necessarily mean some people may not choose to still live by them). But, by and large, in order to grow we need to move, to experiment with the best parts of ourselves, even when this is risky – and this includes experimenting not only with ourselves as individuals but also with our relationships.

In the end, we are all One, even with the wonderful polarity of the Feminine and Masculine Energies between us. And the only way to evolve is to act out and explore new archetypes of being – this is what this book has done for me.

I can’t wait to hear your comments on this one.

With much love,

Dr Joanna Kujawa

Spiritual Detective

Goddess News Blog

©Joanna Kujawa
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10 Responses to The Evolution of Masculinity: the Spirit, Relationships and Success

  1. Janus says:

    This is good stuff! As a female at 50 I’m going through my midlife crisis and this tells me a lot about myself. I notice needing more sex with my husband, yet fear I’m not good enough. Perhaps I need to tap into some male energy as my feminine sexual prowess fades.

    • sundari says:

      Thank you for your comment and I am glad you have enjoyed the piece. It is interesting that you mentioned a midlife crises. Apparently, in Japan this time in woman’s life i called the second spring. So perhaps it is not the ‘prowess’ that fades but that women’s (or men’s) thinking about themselves change due to social conditioning. Perhaps the next stage is ‘exploration’ rather than ‘fading’ :).

  2. Thank you for this piece on the evolution of the masculine. At a time where so much attention is on feminist issues (rightly so), it is good to hold that in the broader awareness that it exists within the context of a whole. Many feminists would and do vehemently argue with me that at this time, putting any attention on mens issues, is bordering on abuse. That given the 10,000 years of patriarchy, it is imperative that men basically shut up and just listen to women, at this time. I actually largely agree with this. Yet, my holistic life philosophy qualifies this thinking. Personally, I best understand the importance of placing our attention on the “yin” (feminine) aspects of consciousness, given the imbalance and massively overly present “yang” (“masculine”) aspects of consciousness.

    So exploring the evolution of the masculine is appropriate as a means in creating harmony and balance. It seems that this three stage evolutionary process that Yiamouyiannis describes is similar to other models that have been used. Whether it be the Taoist “Heaven, Earth and Humanity” or David Deidas’ three stages/types of relationships, as delineated in his book “The Way Of The Superior Man”, where he talks of “The Macho Jerk that evolves into being the “Spiritual New Age Guy and Eventually into the man that desires to live in service of the Divine. The “Stag, Father and Sage” model I think used in more pagan cultures, is also is an example. It seems, we as humans do evolve essentially through these 3 stages. Perhaps rites of passages of sorts. I am told that women also evolve this way (Maiden, Mother and Crone). You could say the Christian teaching of the triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) could also be an attempt at describing these stages. It also alignes with Ken Wilbers’ integrative model where a preceding stage is evolves in an inclusive way. Another metaphysical teaching speaks of Animal consciousness, Mental consciousness, Spiritual consciousness. In the Buddhist tradition we talk about the Triatna model (the three jewels). The Hinayana (lesser vehicle), Mahayana (greater vehicle) and Vajrayana (Tantric vehicle). Wherein the spiritual practices at each of these levels addresses the spiritual understandings of the practitioner. Moving from a more personal salvation to a more communal and finally to transcendent. Even the original Tantric Non-Dual Tantric texts from Kashmir Shaivism talk about the Trika energy system. Some would argue that all these systems are describing very different stages to that which Yiamouyiannis has written in this book. However, I see them as attempts to describe a pattern of consciousness that shows up in many forms, in different contexts.

    Essentially, we are talking about consciousness desiring to move from duality to a unified state. From separation to oneness. So when in the grand scheme of things, whether the man is in his Animal state he is yearning for the divine. as is the social man. When I look back at my life journey thus far, yes, I see this occuring for me too. I believe every being (man or woman) is yearning this communion with the Divine. This yearning drives us.

    In the context of intimate relationships, if one is to minimise suffering, I think that what is being described is especially important when considering a life partner. To choose a mate that is at a similar stage of her evolution as you are (speaking as a heterosexual male). Based on Clare Graves “spiral dynamics” distinctions, you can’t move to a higher mode until you first integrate the mode you are in. Or to quote my meditation Master, Charles Cannon, “you must walk from where your feet are”.

    So, at this time where the so much attention is on feminist issues (rightly so), it is so great that we also hold in some part of our awareness, an honoring of where we are at in terms of the Divine Masculine. Perhaps our collective consciousness will evolve in a more elegant manner if we remember that even within the toxic man is a desire for wholeness.

    • sundari says:

      William, Thank you for this very beautiful and comment, not only because I love interacting through this forum with the readers so it is not a one way conversation, but also so we can share different perspectives. So I am delighted to hear a comment form a male perspective here. Thank you 😊. In many ways, we are on the same page and I love your comparison to Kahsmir Shaivism’s Trika (as I am also a disciple of that school) but also the comparison to the Christian tradition of the Holy Trinity – so very true. I am more inclined towards the Gnostic interpretations where the Holy Spirit is the Feminine but in this context it is just semantics. I also agree that Yiamouyiannis makes his won and more modern typology for the evolution of all human beings that is why it is so valuable because then it does not have a limitation of a particular spiritual tradition. Ultimately, like you, I believe that the pretty much same typology applies to women. And speaking here as a heterosexual woman, I say that we must be very conscious how we choose our partners – This is made easier, I believe, when we understand that relationships (especially intimate ones) are an exchange of Energy. Personally, I love the Feminine-Masculine polarity and am learning how to experience it in a conscious and spiritual way. As we grow spiritually, our Energy gets refined and we attract different partners. Sometimes, however, I observe, that although we evolve we unconsciously hold on to our old expectations and get trapped by them. For example, a woman being attracted to a ‘stud’ or a man to a very immature woman -so both women and men have to stay conscious and redefine our needs. Mainstream media is also largely responsible for this infertile and unconscious views of relationships (just my little rant here how relationships are portrayed by Hollywood). So I do agree that we need to move beyond the antagonistic polarity of the past. Patriarchy is such a destructive way of being and we truly and, ideally as soon as possible, we need to move beyond it and completely transcend it. That does not mean, however, betting against each other but rather consciously and creatively enjoy the Polarity of Energies – what a Grand Play of Consciousness this can be. I am very lucky to be in a loving relationship with a beautiful, conscious man who is also a wonderful channel for the Masculine Energy in my life. And I am endlessly grateful for spiritually conscious friends and readers like yourself. Once again, thank you for this wonderful comment. Much love,

      • Thank you Joanna.

        The play of consciousness as it pertains to sexual polarity is something that I too have been exploring. I don’t completely understand it (and never will) and that’s probably because the shadow in us is involved. Conscious relationship is such a big part of my life and I think that is because I love to grow in the experience of truth. My beloved serves as the mirror I am gifted so that I best see myself, if only I show up as wakefully as I can within that context. Engaged unconsciously it can be cathartic. Engaged consciously, It can be the most delicious and enlightening of dances. The classical “hiding and seeking” of Consciousness.

        • sundari says:

          Hi William,
          It is funny that we all talk about dance here, haha! It is a dance is it not? And I love the reference to Kashmir Shaivism as the Play of Consciousness or the Dance of Consciousness – because it is exactly what it is. I think too often we get entranced in the seductive part of that dance and lose ourselves and that is why we need new archetypes to learn the steps so to speak. So the question is how to delight in that dance, stay open, receptive and giving, keep our own tempo and engage in the tempo of our dance with the partner at the same time. I saw recently a great video of an Argentinian couple dancing a Tango – what a great mastery of passion, flow and self-discipline. In my younger days, I was great at the flow and passion but was losing the step all too easily :). I am learning now and I think you are right when you say that the key is to dance with a partner who is on a similar level of conscious spiritual evolution and here I am so lucky to be with Shamir. But it has taken me many years to find him. I bring up the example of the tango because I believe that Yiamouyiannis (Dr Zeus) also wants that polarity of the Feminine and Masculine to stay very much alive but in a more evolved and integrative and cooperative way rather than to dissolve into an androgyny. Thank you for this wonderful dialogue.

  3. citizenzeus says:

    Hi Joanna. I’m impressed by your article and your readers’ comments. I am also very taken by the necessity and interest in finding a way for masculine and feminine polarities to enhance their own natures by engaging the other polarity. We offer our energies through engagement and understanding of the spiritual energy of the other. This should be a curious and creative act, done with another person in wonder and surprise at what can come up between two people, and not as some game or “hunt” waged by one person against another. I am glad to see people opening to the notion of real equality– which is mutual honoring and appreciation of difference, rather than trying to make everything the same. Best continued success on your blog. Dr Zeus

    • sundari says:

      Wow! Dr Zeus himself – Thank you and my pleasure :). Your kind comment gives me an opportunity to say what I did not have a chance to say in my blog. You have done a really great job in this book. Not only because you discussed and delineated the old archetypes in a very clear way but also put forward the new ones. I am a big fan of Joseph Campbell and this is what he always called for – new archetypes to live by as without them we walk in darkness so a Big Thank You for that. Also, it is an eloquent and very beautifully written book which is a pleasure to read – a rare combination. Often books are repositories of knowledge but a struggle to read (academic books as an example) or they are well written but there is not much there. Your book brings these two things together which is quite a feat. So do not stop. I believe there is a large body of men there that are longing for guidance and wold love to hear about the new possibilities of how to be. The relational aspect of your book is the key – I believe – as, at the end, we all want to dance this Grand Dance together with great beauty and grace. Thank you once, again.

  4. Ian Burns says:

    Thank you, Joanna, for directing me here after my rather reactionary comment to your headline quote from your conversation with Shireen on FB Aeon Byte. A comment I feel I should apologise for and do.

    How are we led to the things we need to hear? Synchronicity, it seems, is pointing me to embrace humility, to be open and learn from the divine feminine, as she is channelled through you, for there is so much beauty, clarity and wisdom in your words. I found your article an open and erudite exploration of an overview of the issues which plague much of my own conscious self-reflection of late. And I am heartened that you so clearly recognise my concern that we are not honouring the divine masculine as we should. In this current time of turmoil and cultural upheaval, of political polarisation, as populism and tribalism pull at us from beneath, a time where clearly the deep concerns of feminism have rightly brought much to the conscious attention of us all, there is a great danger of cultural and spiritual imbalance for us if we do not I believe. I find these concerns highlight my own shortcomings as a man no doubt, shortcomings that are sometimes hard to face up too – ‘follow your blisters’…to ‘follow your bliss’. Joseph Campbell commented he wished he had emphasised the former over the latter, in terms of ‘shadow work’, it is certainly more seems apt. We always find what we most need to know to grow in the place we least would like to look. My daimon whispers ‘Come inside’.

    Like many men I suspect I find myself caught somewhere between the Despairing Man and the Searching Man, falling short of the Spiritually Confident Man, hence at times I get agitated and feel got at by the feminist narrative, at 52 I am still far from mature I am afraid. Something men struggle with, I feel the masculine energy is out of balance, it can lead to less than centred interactions with life – with women. Are we listening to each other? The Gnostics certainly seemed to understand this problem, the Gospel of Mary reveals a divine feminine that no doubt shocked and perplexed the likes Tertullian and Irenaeus.

    ‘Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Saviour?
    Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.
    Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.
    But if the Saviour made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Saviour knows her very well.’

    If we look closer at the tragedy and suffering of the everyday world that conditioned the lives of our ancestors, we better understand the necessity of systemic inequality they endured and why. They were trying to navigate a very different life, the need for individual sacrifice from each person to the demands of the state, tribe, family required an honour culture we have only just begun to shed in favour of a dignity culture whose true merits and challenges we are only just dimly beginning to understand. And honour culture still underpins much of the societal norms we find around the world. One thinks of the life Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I can understand why she, breaking free of religious and cultural oppression, finds the values of the enlightenment, of Voltaire, Hume, Spinoza, Hobbes and Bacon more liberating than the revelations of Muhammed, how for her mean atheism becomes preferable – though in contemplating the depths of the mystery existence it never quite sits right with me.

    They needed the gods and goddesses to make sense of life in ancient Greece, to give them a sense of place, purpose meaning and belonging, not least for the ever present tragedies they faced, the average wife would go through some sixteen pregnancies if she survived to menopause, the average man would be dead by forty five, no more than three to five of their children would make it too maturity, for not only in Sparta were babes examined and evaluated for their health and euthanised if found wanting, it was common practice, an accepted necessity of life, a sacrifice for the strength of polity, Christian charity, such as it was, had not yet emerged. Can we really understand their world? The threat of war, of famine, of natural disaster was an ever-present reality to be overcome, the need for certain form warrior masculinity an imperative for cultural survival gave rise to the hero myth, every farmer could be called upon to fight, thus whilst moulded gender roles were kept in strict divisions of both polity and agrarian life alike. They knew they were playing a role, they knew their lives depended on it. Do we? It all feels much safer now, but codes of toxic masculinity are still powerful forces in the world.

    Patriarchy, once it emerged in human consciousness, with its benevolence and tyranny became an existential imperative, but now we seek a new balance, a higher evolved way of being, a fully individuated soul.

    We might wish to heed the laments of the dead, injustice of the past must be laid to rest, but I question if we should lament to hard and too long. Gordan White and Jeff Kripal recently discussed the need for what the Australian Aborigines call ‘Sorry Time’ – not so much the demand reparation or recrimination, as much as the spiritual necessity for mourning for what has been lost before healing and moving on. From a post-colonial perspective, we can sympathise with this, but just how egalitarian was pre-colonial Aboriginal culture really? And who are we to judge? Whilst patriarchal patterns of behaviour became ingrained for millennia, they did so on evolutionary foundation that goes back into and beyond the midst of time – beyond Eden we all make sacrifices for the tribe.

    So, evolve we must, transcend our biology and conditioning. I forgive myself my shortcomings, recognise and accept their presence and integrate the polarity of dynamic energies that flow through me. ‘We are lived my power we pretend to understand’ wrote Auden. It is in liminal imaginal realm these energies, these powers manifest and reveal themselves, masculine and feminine combined in us as we learn to serve each other, for the benefit of all.

    • sundari says:

      Hi Ian, Thank you for the heart-felt comment. I completely agree with you. As much as I do not like to use the terms’ patriarchal’ because of how it might be interpreted (in a very divisive way), truth be told, patriarchy harmed al of us – the entire humanity – both women and men. By its completely un-natural and divisive and explotitive ways. That is why I love Zeus’ book and how timely it is! And his compassionate and clear way of talking about masculinity outside the patriarchal ‘ideals’. The ‘animal’/corporate man with whom men can’t identify anymore but, perhaps, are lost for better examples and more holistic archetypes. The same is applicable to women – not only oh how they desire to be but also of what they expect form men. As women (and I can testify through my own journey) are equally confused on the matter. As for the ‘me too’ movement and the more radical feminist elements – I think they are the voices of repressed pain – the pain of millennia of abuse and they need to be voiced but, at the end, we need to move passed them and walk the path together as we were always meant.
      We all struggle between the’ despairing’, ‘searching’ and ‘spiritual’ man and woman of Zeus’ categorisation. The despairing part is a necessary step, I believe, toward the spiritual. We, first, have to see the incongruency of what has been created by the patriarchal madness to go on creating a new spiritual human being. And it will take time. Step by step. We are getting there – together – women and men of Consciousness – and there is not stopping us, my friend. The Feminine and the Masculine together. Thank you for your beautiful and hones comment. Much love, Joanna xxx

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