Manhood in Our Times

“Something that we have totally lost in our culture is the idea of initiation. Tribal societies still practice this and it is the time where a man is tested beyond his limits to find out who he truly is and what he can offer to the world. It is done at a time where a young boy is about to move through his teens and into manhood, and this transition is marked with a life changing experience. In our culture, we sort of fade through our teens, go to university or straight to work, bumble around for a bit, and eventually at some point decide that it’s time to be a man. This is damaging, as our society lacks this definite point of transition that tribals cultures have. There are man-boys everywhere, not knowing their place in the world and acting like fools. It is not our fault, where are we meant to learn this from? Our fathers, if we even know them, didn’t go through these initiations either. These initiations are far from easy, and are meant to be the most challenging thing you will ever do. Some, for example in the indigenous Sateré-Mawé from Brazil, wear bullet ant infested gloves for ten minutes at a time, twenty times. The bullet ant has the most painful sting known to man. The Iwol tribe in Senegal, who I have been lucky enough to spend some time with, send their young men out into the forest on their own for over three months, they are only allowed to return “in secret” some evenings if they can’t find any water. Some never make it back.”

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Eddy Elsey
Football, Rave Culture and Unconscious Ceremony

“The football terraces and nightclubs are similar in that they dissolve boundaries. You become simply brothers and sisters instead of classes, races and cliques. When you feel connected to something huge, you have a grounding that can allow you the strength to feel vulnerable, and this will lead to healing – even subconsciously. For me, football was a way for my wilder, masculine and aggressive side to come out without serious repercussions, and the rave culture was an outlet for my also wild, but nurturing, loving and more feminine side to thrive. Without allowing these sides of us time and space to feel validated, our society can seem very oppressive and beige. There is no real outlet for the wildness inside of us to come out and play.”

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Eddy Elsey
Dealing with Anxiety - Journeying through The Medicine Wheel

“Dr Martin Shaw, a World renowned Story Teller, whilst spending four years alone in the forest, discovered that the Earth speaks in the language of Myth. This hugely resonated with me. Not only because I love a good story, but because I had, over the past five years, been unearthing my own story. My own myth. And as I delicately brushed away the dust and dirt from my own private legend, I was able to create a small thread with which I could gently pull back the beautiful, innocent and positive creature that I was born. The creature, that really, we are all born. With all of the qualities that are not only ours to hold on to and shine out into the world, but the qualities that as individuals that are all part of the mystical web of life, are our birthright.”

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Eddy ElseyComment