Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where are the Kings?

A reader asked me the question: Queens, okay, I get it, but where are the kings? Ah, where indeed?

To my mind, kings are a little more problematical than queens at the moment. The reason for this is that I think it’s hard to be a man these days. Think of it. When John Wayne ruled the Wild West, and when Father knew best, the rules were pretty clear on how to be a man.

Since the time of John Wayne and Father, when women were defined by their men, women have been consistently challenging and breaking down barriers and boundaries around what it is to be a woman. By virtue of living with these questioning women, men are called to do the same.

Personally, I think men have a much harder time of it. A lot of women have had to look at what it is to be a woman. Once being defined by relationship to a man was no longer the criterion for what made for value in a woman, then definitions were up for grabs. We got to make it up as we went along. This explains why there are so many definitions of what it is to be a woman.

I recently read a book by Celtic scholar John Matthews called Healing the Wounded King. In it, he uses the Arthurian legends to address the wounded masculinity in our world. Masculinity is not what we think it is. Not any more.

I think men have to start making up what it is to be a man as they go along, and some have, but the old rules about being a man aren’t quite as obliterated as are those about being a woman. Fewer men have had to define for themselves what it is to be a man. At a very young age, I remember my grandfather telling one of my brothers that big boys don’t cry. Really? Well, men do.

So here’s where the kings are. If you’re a man reading this, in you. If you’re a woman reading this, in your brother, your son, your lover, your father, your uncle--as your own animus too.

Once you recognize the king in yourself, whether you’re male or female, give him the royal treatment. What would make you feel like royalty? How would you like your royal self to make others feel? Do those things! Give yourself time to figure out how to be a king. We queens have been rewriting our own definitions for years.

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