I have been investigating New Warriors Training Adventure, a weekend masculinity initiation run by the Mankind Project. Following the New Warriors weekend is a weekly group meeting called the Integration Group (I-Group). In this excerpt from an Integration Group Participant Manual, an exercise is described which does not seem friendly to an Evangelical Christian worldview. The initial I-group begins by "forming the container" which is essentially creating an atmosphere for the activities of the group.

Here is how the formation of the container is described:

Forming the Container:

• Arriving: Beginning the transition from the outside world to ritual space.

• Smudging

• Logistics/Business: Take care of it quickly and efficiently

• High-Low Round Brief statement of high & low of man’s week

• Drumming: Getting into our bodies and creating connection

• Calling in the 7-directions

• Huddle Up, Arms Around Each Other: Call in any family or ancestors or spirits that any man would like to in order to complete the circle, missing brothers, family, the sick

• Sensei Question

• Move inside in Essential Silence

• Reading or Poem for the evening, if desired.

• Meditative Silence: 5-10 minutes

Space does not permit a description of all of these processes. For now, you can go to the website where this manual is saved to read the rest. Note the injunction to call in departed spirits. I do not know how the men involved think of this next exercise, but it sounds like ancestors are not the only spirits invited to the container. 

Calling in the 7 Directions Guidelines

 

Process: Lead the Call from the center of the circle.

Say the following: (Ask men to face each direction in turn)

○ Welcome the energy of the East, the direction of the Lover. Welcome the energy of new beginnings, of connection with beauty and the richness of the world. The color of the East is yellow, the color of the rising sun at the beginning of the day. The fear of the East is the fear of pain. The desire of the east is the desire for pleasure, and the emotions are love and hatred. The animal of the East is the song sparrow calling us to a new day. We welcome the energies and spirit of the East. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of the South, the direction of the Warrior. Welcome the energy of service, of action in the world in service to the realm. The color of the South is red, the color of blood and of passion, the color of the heat of the noon-day sun. The fear of the South is the fear of losing control. The desire of the South is the desire for power, and the emotions are pride and anger. The animal of the South is the dog, the symbol of loyalty. We welcome the energies and spirit of the South. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of the West, the direction of the Magician. Welcome the energy of introspection, going within to find the gifts of healing. The color of the West is black, like the darkness of our shadows. The desire of the West is the desire for order and virtue. The fear of the West is the fear of Abandonment, and the emotions are happiness and shame. The animal of the West is the Bear, that goes into the cave to hibernate, to seek within the darkness the gift of renewal. We welcome the energies and spirit of the West. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of the North, the direction of the King. Welcome the energy of wisdom and blessing. The color of the North is white, the color of the hair of the elders. The desire is the desire for freedom and release, and the fear is the fear of Death. The emotions of the North are joy and sadness. The animal of the North is the Owl. We welcome the energies and spirit of the North. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of Sky Above, the masculine principle, the energy and spirit of inspiration. The color of the Above is blue and the animal is the eagle. Welcome the gifts of wind and sunshine, the creative energies, the desire for Truth and the emotion of compassion. We welcome the energies and spirit of Father Sky. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of Earth Below, the feminine principle, the energy and spirit of Generosity. The color of the Below is green and the animal is the deer. Welcome the gifts of nurture and support, the sustaining energies, the desire for abundant beauty and the emotion of gratitude. We welcome the energies and spirit of Mother Earth. HO!

○ Welcome the energy of Within, the principle of wholeness, the energy and spirit of the mysterious. The color of this energy is Gold. Welcome the gifts of balance, oneness, and the connection with all things, for all things are one and all things are related. The animal within is the human being, the desire is for serenity and the emotion is humility. We welcome the energies and spirit of Within. HO!

○ Welcome the spirits of our grandfathers, our ancestors, those who have gone before us, and on whose shoulders we stand. Welcome the spirits of the children yet to come, who will stand upon our shoulders. Invite into this circle the spirit and energy of those who guide, protect, and bless us to be fully who we are. HO!

I am reminded of the worship song, Shout to the North, written by Martin Smith, where instead of the elemental spirits being called in, the worshipper is asked to direct praise to God outward in all directions on earth:

Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth

The Mankind Project may be quite well intentioned, but the world view does not appear friendly to an Evangelical mindset. Rather, the spirituality appears to be rooted in a kind of animism and gnosticism of finding higher spiritual truth through rituals and appeal to vague spirits of the earth. I invite those who refer Christian men to the Mankind Project to articulate a rationale for doing so. I do not introduce this subject lightly. I realize for some men, activities such as this might seem to work in some positive manner. Thus, my intent is to provide information about this secretive group for men to make an informed decision about involvement.

Warren Throckmorton, PhD

For more on the Mankind Project, see www.wthrockmorton.com