A WARRIOR SOCIETY for EVOLVING YOUNG MEN
There's a lot of talk these days about "toxic masculinity." To be sure, there's plenty about traditional so-called masculinity that has earned that unfortunate name.
But it does us no good to wallow in the fact. There are men in this world, and there always will be. It's important to acknowledge the errors of the past, certainly. But that's not the end of the road. Once we see that the masculine has strayed from healthy ways of being, two questions come up: where have we gone wrong, and how can we make it right?
Complicating the matter is the fact that many men feel less identified with "masculinity." Many aren't sure where they fit into the whole scheme. Or, some of us may identify strongly as masculine, but have no interest in the traditional ways it's been portrayed and embodied; the reliance on force, anger, competition, and war to make their ways in the world.
Instead, we seek not to suppress healthy traditional masculine aspects but to augment them with higher vibrational concepts of Love, Service, and Humility.
More specifically, we want to create a safe place where young men can address topics such as:
Managing and acknowledging our emotions
Trusting the truths that arise within our bodies
The power of selfless service and reciprocity
The dangers of pornography
Our relationships with women, young women, girls, and the elderly
Establishing healthy habits, particularly morning and evening routines
Navigating sexuality in healthy ways
Why "Owls?" Why not Otters or Ostriches? Why not Wolverines? (Didn't that work out pretty well for Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell in the original Red Dawn? I'd say it did.) Well, there are a few reasons, but I'm not going to get into it in depth here, except to say that Owls see well in the dark. And "the dark" is what we have here in this modern world. It takes the form of shifting societal norms, and the normalization of less-than-helpful ones (porn and rampant drug use, let alone cultural and familial instability, are a few examples).
But for the prepared the darkness is almost preferable. Why? Because if any of us understand who we are, we can see, regardless. And when a young man shines in the darkness by understanding who he is, he draws other young men to himself. He's able to serve from a more expansive capacity. And when it comes to modern warriorship, it's all about these two things: knowing the self and serving from a place of love. In short, the darkness separates the men from the boys - because balanced men, including young men, are capable of working with it to benefit the world, rather than constantly cursing it (complaint culture, much?).
How is this done? How can we help young men discover who they are, their inherent worth, and work with their parents to instill in them a spirit of service borne of balance, and ultimately love?
There's a lot to unpack here, but we've come up with a program that allows young men (12-18, +/-) to learn skills that will help them establish a foundation of self-love and confidence, which as I alluded to above, enables them to step into their power. Successful graduates of the program will be assets to themselves, their families, and communities. We want them to understand and accept their inherent responsibility to embody an evolved masculinity, in spite of the past. With initial outreach found on social media (currently Tik Tok, with YouTube and Facebook coming soon), Owls will be directed to YouTube for frequent "Firesides" and "Live Chats" that feature deeper concepts about what it means to be a modern man.
Additionally, there will be frequent in-person gatherings where we'll learn traditional and semi-traditional skills that are designed to keep young engaged while they build confidence. Other gatherings will be centered on indigenous ceremonies such as Andean moon ceremonies, or authentic Lakota sweat lodges, which I'm empowered to perform through long participation in the Sun Dance. Rites of passage, such as an easier version of the Vision Quest, will also be open to older Owls - as always, with parental consent, guidance, and support.
Finally, we have partnered with a local Bend, Oregon area wilderness therapy school for the purposes of hosting three-day trips into the wilderness for qualifying young men. These may take the form of hikes, raft trips, snow encampments, or ocean trips. For these, there will be extra costs, but we intend to keep them as affordable as possible. As we expand, we hope to offer scholarships for young men who have been actively engaged in the program.
This program is still in development. We hope to have it up and running sometime in June 2021. Please reach out with any questions or if you feel called to be involved.