How We Lose Our Souls, How It is Stolen: In Patriarchal Cultures, the Young Need Be Pared Down to the Level of Its Controlling Adults … Rituals of Diminution and Control

How We Lose Our Souls, How It is Stolen: In Patriarchal Cultures, the Young Need Be Pared Down to the Level of Its Controlling Adults … Rituals of Diminution and Control

— Which is Chapter 27 of *Dance of the Seven Veils Iby Michael Adzema




How We Lose Our Souls, How It is Stolen:

In Patriarchal Cultures, the Young Need Be Pared Down to the Level of Its Controlling Adults … Rituals of Diminution and Control


With “civilization” comes brutal rites of adulthood and excessive “masculinity.”

“The individual, in order to belong to the mass … has had to … divest himself of that substantial reality which was linked to his initial individuality…. The incredibly sinister role of [society’s media] consisted in passing that original reality through a pair of flattening rollers to substitute for it a superimposed pattern of ideas, an image with no real roots in the deep being of the subject….” — Gabriel Marcel: Man Against Society

“‘Fie! how that Duckling yonder looks; we won’t stand that!’ And one Duck flew up at it, and bit it in the neck.

“‘Let it alone,’ said the mother. ‘It does no harm to anyone.’

“‘Yes, but it’s too large and peculiar,’ said the Duck who had bitten it, ‘and therefore it must be put down.’

“So it went the first day; and afterwards it became worse and worse. The poor Duckling was hunted about by everyone; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, and said, ‘if the cat would only catch you, you ugly creature!’

“And the mother said, ‘if you were only far away!’

“And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot!”—Hans Christian Anderson: The Ugly Duckling


We need to keep in mind, and we will see this in much more detail in the next Veil coming — which is that of the primal scene — that this diminution of personhood at adolescence has its beginnings within the family unit. The process that rites of passage display — diminishing the self and harnessing its energies for the benefit not of the person but of society — was earlier set in motion at the primal scene.

How We Lose Our Souls

The primal scene was when the child gave up its natural tendencies for growth of a unique self — comprising thoroughly singular talents, drives, and destiny — in order to align with the ego of the parent of the same gender. This is done for all the reasons mentioned having to do with the traumas of infancy and toddlerhood, wherein the child is let know it will not be loved for who it is and it will be all alone, and even attacked, were it to continue as the unique entity it ultimately is and wants to be.

Becoming “Adult”

Incidentally, the end-result of this fear of parental abandonment and non-approval — this “identification with the aggressor,” instead — is what Freud calls the resolution of the Oedipal conflict. This splitting of self, consequent repression within, then unwitting projection outside corresponds to and is an earlier fractal of the process that pertains during the rites of passage of puberty and adolescence.

However, this process has fractals at previous levels, all the way back to our cellular beginnings. It is no wonder that when it is set in motion by either the parents, at the primal scene, or the group at puberty, that it has such far-reaching consequences and is ultimately so tragic. For at this point — that of the adult, that is, the end product of its adolescent and young adulthood initiations, and its pubertal rites of passage — the child no longer identifies with God (pre-conception), with mother (pre-birth), with body and its feeling experience (pre- primal scene), or even with his or her best idea, one’s philosophic ideal (pre- pubertal rite of passage). The child identifies instead with the same-sex parent, the representative of the social order. Later it will become a pawn, a cog, in a much larger context, the social one, which is ultimately woven and spun out of the desires of that society’s ruling elites.

Thus, she or he becomes totally Other: totally separated from his or her own mind (pre- puberty rite); from her or his body with its exquisite sensory and feeling product (pre- primal scene); from his or her destiny, karma, dharma, duty, and purposiveness (pre-birth); and from God (pre-conception). As I continue to assert, the end product of all these falls from grace is the creation of the “kitty drowners and butterfly mashers” of the world. Surely you grok what I mean by that.

Every Parent’s “Atman Project”

This pattern — this doomed and illusory “atman project” wherein the parent seeks to immortalize her- or himself and to redeem his or her life — is of course obvious in the situation of the son “following in his father’s footsteps” in taking over the family business or occupation; and in the daughter’s emulation of her mom, traditionally, in the role of wife and mother. Yet there are many subtler versions of this “identification,” and it happens even in situations where it seems it would most definitely not.

For example, Kenneth Keniston’s (1968) study of young radicals of the Sixties — the epitome of rebellious youth, you say — were found to be very much in agreement with their parents’ values. In fact, their rebellion was essentially in seeking to put into practice and actually live out what they saw as unlived values and philosophies — hence the charge of “hypocrite” often expressed by them — in compromised and compromising parents. Note again the theme of living out the unlived dreams of the previous generation — here, even in spite of the conscious stance of those youth.

Cross-culturally and traditionally, however, we see this pattern in perhaps its most rudimentary and clearest form. In a great many cultures, the rites of passage into adulthood embrace the function of bestowing upon and initiating the recipient into the social roles and functions as decided by the tribe and family. For most, then, there is little of self in the decision of who to be; it is decided outside of oneself. Corresponding with this, in relation to the marital role, in many cultures the choice of spouse is also decided by others.

One does not have one’s own mind. One takes up the “mind” of the parents, and of society. One continues their dream, society’s dream. One’s Divine uniqueness fades into insignificance in the pattern of the social consensual reality.

Becoming “Borg” … Serving the Collective

At any rate, the upshot of all this is that at the rites of passage into adulthood, the self is split again. It is required to give up even “its own mind,” its own concept of itself. As I mentioned above, it loses its “philosophic ideal,” using Ken Wilber’s (1977) terminology.

Originally one’s Divinity was given up — this occurred with the coming into Form out of the No-Form State … that is to say, becoming sperm and ovum. What was given up specifically was our knowledge of ourselves as no different from what we call the Divine, with its capacities for all-knowingness (omniscience), all-powerfulness (omnipotence), and everywhere-existingness (omnipresence). We “forget” these abilities intentionally in order to begin the game of separation into parts, with the capacity for each element to manifest and glorify individual components of The All. So that is what we lose, actually leave behind on purpose, in coming from No-Form into Form with the creation of sperm and egg.

After that, one’s deepest transpersonal directives and organismic unitary awareness were left behind. This loss was not intentional, not decided. So it came as a surprise. Although in our all-knowing state — which, remember, we had at this point split away from or become reduced or dimmed down from — we of course knew all of this was part of the package, part of the experience and journey away from godhead we had decided on. Hence, leaving behind our omniscience as part of “the plan,” we find ourselves surprised and confused in the midst of the hellish travails we experience during the third trimester.

After that, one’s biological rhythms, one’s sense of flowingness and inner-directed purposiveness were lost. This occurred to us as a consequence of the trauma of birth.

Subsequently, one’s feelings about self and other were relinquished. This happened as a consequence of the primal scene.

Finally, one is required even to give up the best possible ideas one can have about oneself and one’s relationship to and actions in the world. This last one occurs at the Identity stage around adolescence through the traumas usually inflicted by rites of passage and initiations. One represses one’s own decisions, initiatives, evaluations, and self-images in conformance to other-directed wants and needs, the result of others’ unfulfilled ambitions. These are presented to one by one’s parents; however they represent, by extension, the other-directed wants and needs of the collective, of the prevailing fear-pushed and desire-pulled economic constraints … of the socially-constructed reality in general — usually as fashioned by its elites.

Elites these are, by the way, who also are ultimately faultless in the whole cosmic unfolding. For they, having left godhead just like you, are equally unaware and unconscious of the cosmic overstanding that we divinities have secreted away inside ourselves. Which overstanding, by the way, this book is part of an attempt to help reveal again.

A “darkness” develops.

Aminah Raheem (1991) describes the result thusly: “When the soul becomes so covered over by conditioning that it cannot shine through, when personality completely dominates, a ‘darkness’ develops within the person, characterized by mental or emotional dullness, physical deterioration, accidents, depression, or ‘bad luck.’ Such a person seems asleep or unconscious while walking around; she has gotten off her own soul path.” Or in my words, such people become the “kitty-drowners and butterfly-mashers of the world.”

And what happens to these repressed dreams, aspirations, initiatives, and values is that, as at previous levels, they are repressed, then projected outside of oneself. Thenceforth they are seen in the world as the “Shadow.”



Every Society’s Culture War

Unfortunately, to the extent that we disown and fight these potentials in ourselves, we fight and hate them when we see them outside ourselves. People — or “ducklings,” remember quote beginning chapter — who embody such freedom felicity and aspirations become targets. We beat down outside of ourselves those people and elements reminiscent of those corresponding aspects of ourselves that were required to be beaten down, repressed inside. This, then is the meaning of the metaphors of drowning kitties and mashing  butterflies.

There will be no rising above the status quo, the “normality” of the masses, in civilizational cultures. Exceptionalism will not be valued in hierarchical societies, the cultures come of civilization. Why? Well, such ability and wisdom might be an advantage in primal cultures — where brilliance and uniqueness of individuals elevates everyone beyond themselves and their circumstances. However, in mass society — much as the way of the Ugly Duckling at the start of this chapter — it is anything but a boon.

In complex societies, the only extraordinariness that will be valued will be that which happens to coincide with the narrow wishes of its elites, who orchestrate cultures along their lines. That, indeed, might be why you thought my statement above wrong-headed. “Exceptionalism not valued?” you probably thought. “Why, do not modern economies and capitalism open their doors for the creator of the best mouse trap? Is it not socialism that reduces down to the boring average whereas capitalism encourages individuality?” No doubt initially you looked to all the rewards showered upon the innovators and notables of history. “What about science?” you might also be thinking. “What about all the advances that have led to our incredible technological culture?”

In response, however, notice that those are gains that fit with the desires of the elite and so they occur in only one dimension of existence — the material. They may benefit you, but only second-handedly, only in one aspect of your being, and only if it conforms to the wishes of the powerful. For that last — and even in the material realm, this is — realize we would already have eliminated cancer and solved the environmental problems with alternative energies, by now, if there were not powerful pharmaceutical companies not supporting, even suppressing, research not favorable to its profits and there were not huge oil interests and their wealthy backers caring only for their short-term gains while the entire world is in the balance, environmentally. Those are just two of many examples I could give.

Whereas this is quite different from primal cultures where each one’s gain is everyone’s gain; and each one’s needs desires and wants are general, naturally rooted … not perverted by pandering profit and privilege as of our civilization’s elites … and they partake of the full gamut of human aspirations and feelings, not merely the survival ones.

Perhaps also it has to do with the fact that people in primal societies, who work on average only three to four hours a day, have so much extra time for the more expanded reaches of the psyche. Certainly they spend so much more of their time in festivities, spiritual pursuits, trance and ritual, and even just hanging out, than we do. Who today can afford to take weeks off for the preparation and participation in elaborate festivities or days- or weeks-long weddings or rituals of initiation? Remember, it is only when civilization brought with it oppression from the elites that folks needed to work, not only more than would be needed just to survive themselves — for the masses were supporting as well all those above them in the hierarchy — but also were forced to engage in work as decided by their needs and wants, the higher ups, not one’s own.

In any case, brilliance and extraordinariness, with civilization, are hated for even existing. Exceptionalism among the masses threatens the positions of elites. As such it will be, and routinely has been, crushed by them. Often killed. Jesus of Nazareth is only one of thousands of examples available from history, which would include Galileo Galilei, and in modern times Wilhelm Reich and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (the one dubbed “Osho” after his passing). Jesus was freer in his espousal of love, in contradistinction from the Pharisees’ reliance on ritual and the Romans’ overriding secularism. Galileo threatened, with his heliocentric world, all the elaborate culture, religion, pomp, and privilege dependent on a universe that was flat-earthed and knowable by the Catholic Church. And in the Twentieth Century, both Reich and Rajneesh were imprisoned for what came down to being philosophies associated with encouraging freedom around sexuality — which is extremely threatening and envy-arousing for the repressed and oppressed.

Correspondingly, what will not be allowed to the masses in general will bring jealousy if allowed for some others of them. This alone explains the culture war in America which began in the Sixties with the rise of the counterculture and continues today in the deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans, and especially Trump supporters and pretty much the rest of the world. For to witness the extraordinary, not to mention to see it allowed and not crushed, cannot help but point out the shallowness of one’s own life, by contrast, and bring awareness to the oppression about which one is trying all one can not to think. Other’s expansiveness cannot but remind of that precious self of one’s own that was required to be slain, the restriction of personality one was “disciplined” into accepting as all that could be, as well as of the freedom and felicity that …. oh … could have been. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman — much like the swan who is seen by others to be an ugly duckling — is killed.

This is why an alarming number of folks cheered at the deaths of those four antiwar protesters at Kent State in 1971 and agreed when newspapers called them “bums.” One only has to look to the nightly news to see that pattern of events continually played out.

This accounts, undoubtedly, for the fury with which people will attack and seek to suppress certain individuals and groups who may represent, for example, disowned artistic or creative potentials, disowned aliveness and “charisma,” disowned sexuality, disowned intellectual or bohemian dreams, simple disowned “feeling” in general, and anything that smacks of an idealism or freedom or joie de vivre that needed especially to be slain in the self in order to make the identification with another’s dreams.

This is commonly referred to in literature as “selling one’s soul.” And, creating in this way the kitty-drowners and butterfly-mashers of the world, it amounts to a fourth fall from grace, further splitting the personality from what it had been at the earlier falls from grace of conception, birth, and the primal scene. With this — using Ken Wilber’s terms — the quaternary dualism is complete.

At this point, then, there is very little Self left. In discharging the life that remains — so totally other-directed and other-programmed — one may as well have commissioned an android. Thus we have the endpoint of the spectrum’s “evolution” — from Divinity to machinery, from pure-Bliss-Consciousness to cybernetic control.



Rites of Reduction, of Expansion

So it is that by adolescence “civilized” children are programmed. This is not necessarily the case in primal societies. For often, in indigenous cultures — especially the most “primitive,” the nomadic, the gathering-hunting ones — inner experience is cultivated. For example, it is much more common in primal cultures for a lot of attention to be brought to one’s dreams. They are frequently shared, talked about, and mined for any wisdom they might convey. This is just one example. Another one is the greater frequency of rites of personal initiation come of supernatural forces, such as the vision quests and walkabouts to which I often refer. However, there is a general tendency in that direction, the simpler the society is.

Let me show you exactly what I mean by that. In this example you will see what I mean in saying that “civilization” brings brutal rites of passage and fear of the supernatural, whereas the people of Nature just laugh at those valuing cruelty and living in such terror.

We are investigating, here, the manners in which people become adults in different societies, around puberty, which I have termed the fourth fall from grace. This is the time when the Ego is consolidated around a specific identity, task, role that marks her or him for life.

Once again, Turnbull’s (1961) report on the Mbuti provides a fitting example. This instance is especially illuminating in that he was able to observe and note differences between the gatherer-hunter Mbuti and the nearby villagers with whom they had occasional contact. Since the villagers were agrarian and definitely not gatherer-hunters, he was able to study and show us any differences between these two lifestyles — agrarian and gatherer-hunter — and their possible differences in worldview, side-by-side. What he found, for starters, was that forest and village worldviews — which we might liken to primal and civilizational — are directly at odds.

Civilization Bringing Brutal Rites, Excessive “Masculinity”

Indeed, Turnbull shows that these differences not only exist but that we see them distinctly in connection to the rites of passage that are undergone respectively in each culture.

The brutal rite of passage in question is called the nkumbi and is conducted by the villagers. The Pygmies — the “forest people” — undergo it, at a certain age, in order to gain certain respect and privileges in their dealings with villagers, as they must often have for various reasons. Nonetheless, of their own the Mbuti have no such rite of passage, certainly nothing severe and harsh like that of the villagers.

On the other hand, Turnbull (1961) describes the villagers’ nkumbi: “The physical ordeals sometimes start out as games but develop into cruel tests of physical endurance. A crouching dance that might be fun for a few minutes becomes agony after half an hour. A mild switching on the underside of the arm with light sticks is of no concern until, after several days, the skin becomes raw. And then the villagers notch the sticks so that they fold over and pinch the skin sharply, often drawing blood. When the boys have become used to being beaten with leafy branches, thorny bushes are substituted.”

Dominant societies try to instill fear of the supernatural to control their underlings.

Turnbull also explains the villagers’ beliefs concerning this rite of passage and its effect and purpose: “The villagers believed that the initiate, Pygmy or otherwise, is everlastingly bound thereafter by all the laws of the tribe, sacred and secular. He is put into direct relationship with the supernatural, whose representatives on earth are the villagers themselves. If any Pygmy initiate offends a villager, therefore, he is also offending the supernatural — the ancestors — and will be duly punished by them. The villagers live in such fear of the supernatural, with its power to bring down on an offender the curses of leprosy, yaws, dysentery and other diseases or to cause him to be injured by a falling tree, that they cannot conceive of any initiates daring to offend the ancestors.”

Primal folks laugh at the fears of “domesticated” humans and delight in flaunting their customs.

But offend the ancestors they do, these Pygmies, and with apparent relish. They do not share the villagers fearful view of the world. They cannot imagine any good reason to inflict these tortures on each other. They laugh, secretly, behind the villagers’ backs, at them. Turnbull (1961) writes, “Both the boys and their fathers enjoyed the chance to make fun, in a friendly way, of the villagers, but that was not their sole reason for deliberately breaking all the taboos. They behaved as they did because to them the restrictions were not only meaningless but belonged to a hostile world. The villagers hoped that the nkumbi would place the Pygmies directly under the supernatural authority of the village tribal ancestors; the Pygmies naturally took good care that nothing of the sort should happen, proving it to themselves by this conscious flaunting of custom.”

Incidentally, if you think that disparity odd, consider, for a minute, how that is exactly the division of the modern culture war, at its base. We have fearful “villagers” not wanting to offend “ancestors” and customs of old — seeking essentially to return to a mythically construed version of the 1950s in America, for example. And on the other side, we have liberal-minded, often bohemian or hippie sorts, who laugh at such fear, inhibition, and general “up-tightness.”

Similarly, we “hippies,” and just like Turnbull’s Forest People, might undergo the “rites of passage” of the “villagers” — in our case, of the conforming “normals” of Western society — by going to university and getting degrees, for instance. However, we will most assuredly not take the fear and demands of the establishment world seriously. We also will laugh at them, those enmeshed in the Matrix … as we currently roflol at Trump, the current icon of such “villager” fear.

We, like the Pygmy, might go through the games and rituals of society only so as to obtain certain privileges or influence come of them. Nonetheless we will trounce the injunctions and proscriptions attendant to them whenever they come up against our deeper felt values of felicity of life, love and enjoyment of other and within oneself, participation in community and the sense of belongingness, and most importantly, whatever individual creative direction is unique to us and pushing us for its manifestation in the world. This last is where it relates directly to one’s identity.

Building the Better Human – Entry into Adulthood

Concerning the villagers’ rite of passage, Turnbull writes, “To the Pygmies this all seems harsh and unnecessary, and as far as their own children are concerned they keep a strict watch over them to see that the villagers do not go to the length that they sometimes do with village children, even if this brings them into some contempt. Yet to the villager this toughening-up process is essential and does not come naturally in the course of village life. The child has to be fitted for adult life, and this is what the nkumbi sets out to achieve. In a few months a boy becomes a man, tough and strong, physically and mentally. The process is not a pleasant one, but it is the only way in which, under tribal conditions, the goal can be achieved.

“The Pygmy can understand and appreciate this, but the very nature of his own nomadic hunting and gathering existence provides all the toughening up and education that are needed. Children begin climbing trees sometimes before they can walk. Their muscles develop, and they overcome fear in a number of daring tree games. Adult activities are learned from an early age by observation and imitation, for the Pygmies live an open life.

“Their life is as open inside their tiny one-room leaf huts as it is in the middle of a forest clearing, and so the children have no need of the sex instruction which forms so large a part of the teaching given to village boys during the nkumbi.

“Far from illustrating the dependence of the Pygmies upon the villagers, the nkumbi illustrates better than anything else the complete opposition of the forest to the village. The Pygmies in the forest consciously and energetically reject all village values. When they are in the village they temporarily adopt its values and customs, not wanting to desecrate their sacred forest values by bringing them into the village. That is why they never sing their sacred songs in the village the way they do in the forest, and why they refuse to consecrate the nkumbi with special music, although every other event of importance in their lives is marked in this way. There is an unbridgeable gulf between the two worlds of the two peoples.

“The Pygmies have their own way of growing naturally into adulthood. A boy proves himself capable of supporting a family when he kills his first real game, and proves himself a man when he participates in the elima.”9

By adolescence in “civilized” societies most children have had the “still small voice” programmed out, whereas in primal cultures it is valued.

Aminah Raheem (1991) supports Turnbull in the idea that rites of passage, while crushing in most cultures, especially civilizational ones, can actually by transformative. She gives a final example of how this stage can be different in other cultures: “By the onset of adolescence, most children are intricately programmed into the cultural complex of their time and place. The ‘still small voice’ of the soul is rarely heard and, when it is, it is usually discarded as fantasy or nonsense. For example, when I worked with late adolescents, I found that they often received deep soul promptings through dreams of visionary experiences. These numinous events seemed to contain valuable guidance for direction in their lives, but usually they were discounted by the dreamers and their peers as fantasy. By contrast, in American Indian culture such experiences are valued as clear messages of life purpose, especially when they appear during puberty.”

Patriarchal Culture, the Second Retreat

So it is that in civilization one gains the world in exact proportion to which a man has relinquished his soul. Correspondingly, having split away from soul, ritual steps in to fill the void and manage the discomfort. For the basis of ritual is the attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that one has split off from. It is a poor substitute, however, for one’s real potential of at-one-ment with reality. That is to say, of identifying with and acting in accord with one’s truest reality, one’s deepest and most authentic self. The tragedy of all this is that the indirect attempt, of ritual, pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.

Second Retreat from the Natural Self

Now, patriarchal cultures, along with their patriarchal religions, follow a parallel but different pattern from the matriarchal ones, as discussed in the example of the villagers, who were an agricultural people. Whereas matriarchal cultures are associated with horticultural lifeways and thus are tied to the Earth and to sedentary living, patriarchal cultures are said to be associated originally with nomadic lifestyles. I say nomadic, but I do not wish to confuse it with the nomadic ways of the forager and gatherer-hunter cultures. Our earliest lifeways were nomadic in the sense of following the food source. They were not nomadic by choice.

However, the later nomadic cultures of which I speak, and the great patriarchies, evolved on the vast plains of Eurasia. In these societies, the disconnection from the land involved in animal husbandry, in particular sheep herding, gave rise to nomadic warrior lifestyles and a conquering mentality. There are, nevertheless, other reasons why this sort of consciousness arose.

Parallel to the matriarchal cultures splitting off from true connection with Nature as Mother — that is, adopting agriculture and thus controlling, and alternately appeasing, the Nature which they at one time followed — patriarchal cultures entail a splitting off from oneself as Father, as Spirit, and a consequent need to act out and appease those energies. To understand this better, let us back up a little bit.

Primal peoples enjoy a spiritual freedom we don’t know.

In gatherer-hunter cultures, we tend to have shamans as religious practitioners. These shamans can often journey in nonordinary states of consciousness, can journey in the cosmos so to speak. Thus, although such people, as all of us, are ordinarily limited in time and space, they have a freedom of spirit — a spiritual freedom — quite unlike anything we know.

Corresponding to this, it is true that some gatherer-hunter societies focus a great deal more on their inner states and on altered realities. Their much-noted interest in dreams and their engagement with various trance practices and entheogenic substances are examples. The notable instance of this is the Australian aboriginal culture. Not only do these most “primitive” of all spend a good deal of their day in reflection on and sharing of their dreams, but their evenings are spent in ritual and dancing which usually goes on all night long. They tend to sleep in the mornings and get up around noon, which is something I am sure many of us can appreciate.

Hence, these practices involve a democratization, if you will, of shamanic experience. All aboriginal people attend to their dreams; many go on walkabouts, or as in the case of Native American cultures, on vision quests. Many other examples of profound spiritual journeying — often involving hallucinogens — could be given that are available to most if not all members of indigenous cultures.

In patriarchal cultures, inner journeying is replaced with outer conquering.

However, patriarchal cultures tend to be hierarchical and specialized. This means that spiritual journeying is relegated to a select few, a specialized sect of priests. The vast majority of individuals in patriarchal cultures live onerous and oppressive lives that do not allow much in the way of spiritual journeying.

Is it any wonder then that these cultures are nomadic? Is it any wonder that they are conquering? The usual pattern is that when some inner potential is split off from and repressed — when one disidentifies with it — that one begins acting it out in the external world. So we find that the inner potential for spiritual journeying and growing is acted out in patriarchal cultures in the form of nomadic wandering and conquering. The direct relationship with Spirit, with Father, which characterizes the gatherer-hunter, is repressed in patriarchal cultures; and Spirit and Father are projected outside of oneself where one must now seek to enter into a relationship with It.

In later centuries, nomadic wandering became nomadic invading and conquering, exploration of the New World and murder of its populations, and ultimately imperialism. In all of these an inner journey into the self is replaced by a desire to extend one’s ego boundaries outward over greater and greater expanses of territory. The amount of territory gathered outside is equivalent to the amount relinquished inside, for what one doesn’t know inside, one fears. And what one fears, one wishes to control and subjugate.

So the fears of inner forces motivate the expansion outward. One projects one’s inner “unknowns” onto the vast unknown outside oneself, in the physical world of land and people, of geography and society. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” is instead: One gains the world in the exact proportion to that which a man has relinquished his soul.

Thus, in patriarchal cultures there are religions which seek to relate to and appease gods which represent their forgotten and repressed inner potentials of fate, destiny, spiritual growth, and adventure — their inner “fire.” The fire or light that one has dimmed within is sought without; one cannot help but do so. Since one cuts oneself off from one’s core creative and authentic decision-making center one feels oneself in the hands of a whimsical fate that is outside of oneself … and that is called Father and God, and is that which one must seek to appease.

As for the burning fire of destiny and purpose extinguished within? Well, it might be seen outside oneself and indirectly, within a burning bush; inside a demagogue like Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, James Jones, Ghenghis Khan, Kim Jung Un, or a Donald Trump; behind the golden shining altars of churches or embodied in some cross, icon, or statue; or shining in the person of some guru, teacher, or mentor. None of that ends well, as far as the Self is concerned, however. For all represent another Veil across the reality of the inner Self, and they block its reemergence. There is no “bending the knee” to anything on the outside that does not take away from the greater Self one is, inside.

The Nature of Ritual

So the pattern is the same in both matriarchal and patriarchal cultures. It is the same pattern of disidentifying with some inner potential, repressing it, being forced to act it out symbolically in the outside world, projecting it outside oneself as an external force or power, and then seeking to enter into a symbolic relationship with it wherein one can hope to have some indirect control over it since one has lost one’s direct relationship with it. And the reason for doing all this, in either case, is the same: It is fear, mistrust of the Universe, in either the Universe’s maternal or paternal aspects … or, of course, both.

As Symbolic Obfuscation and Addiction to Control

The patriarchal person is fearful of the spiritual forces within him- or herself. Hence she or he disidentifies with them and projects them outside of him- or herself where they must be related to symbolically. The matriarchal person — meaning the one arising of economies of farming, which constrained the wanderings of nomadic gatherer-hunter ancestors — mistrusts the Natural world and disidentifies with It, and with the physical body which is a part of It, in an attempt to control It. In doing so, these natural forces are projected outside of oneself where they can then only be related to symbolically.

Realize that both matriarchal rituals of control of agriculture and body, and patriarchal ones of control of all and everything for the benefit, ultimately, of elites are steps down from primal cultures where ritual is minimal and is individually oriented toward a betterment of self. In either case, it is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly, that is the basis of ritual. In both instances — lunar and solar, or matriarchal and patriarchal — ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality that is rooted within, ultimately in one’s Divinity. Which would amount to feeling one’s feelings; to being rooted in and responsive to one’s body with its needs, its perceptiveness of reality, and its intuition; and to allowing oneself to flow with and be immersed in one’s experience, taught and guided and led by it. These, as opposed to attempting to manage one’s body and one’s experience from the control center of the mind. And in each instance — which I have termed the matriarchal mistake and the patriarchal mistake — what is ultimately so tragic is that either of these diversions substitute for, and so drive out any possibility of realizing, an actual attunement, an authentic at-one-ment and reconciliation with a deeper and more expanded Self and Divinity.

As Compared to Authentic Beingness

You think this is of no consequence, this understanding? Okay, I hear your resistance. Notice this, however: As long as you keep trying to balance opposites — as one example of trying to manage one’s experience with one’s mind, one’s ego — as your response to the duality of life, you will suffer, just as Christ suffered between the good and bad thieves at Calvary. However, suffering ends, as it did for Christ, when one gives up that struggle, as Christ did, and one acknowledges, “I and the Father are one.” Or, in my words, when one realizes that one’s essential, one’s deepest, truest, and most potent identity is Divinity.

Following one’s integration of this realization, life is forever changed. For in doing this, one’s approach to all of life is one of surrender to one’s process, to one’s fate, and to one’s deepest nature, which is Divine, knowing that one can only be perfect no matter what one does. For all, including evil and mistakes, are known to be perfect in Divine consciousness … as well as it was decided by oneself at one’s innermost Self at the time that was No-Time and in the place that is No-Form.

Now that is a serenity, a freedom from fear, and a blessed feeling of cosmic belongingness that is second to no other way of being. If you can, take this reward for your passage in this journey, so far. Much else coming, as we uncover the Veils; yet this realization is the core of it all. It merely gets better, as we go deeper.



— from Chapter 27, titled “How We Lose Our Souls, How It is Stolen: In Patriarchal Cultures, the Young Need Be Pared Down to the Level of Its Controlling Adults … Rituals of Diminution and Control”


— of *Dance of the Seven Veils I: Primal/Identity Psychology, Mythology, and Your Real Self* by Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format March-April, 2018.


Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from *Dance of the Seven Veils I*, with my compliments.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell




— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….


*Dance of the Seven Veils  I(2017). 

At Amazon at

At Amazon at
 At Amazon at

*Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness* (2014).

At Amazon at

See Michael Adzema at Amazon for any other of the eleven books currently in print.


About sillymickel

Activist, psychotherapist, pre- and perinatal psychologist, author, and environmentalist. I seek to inspire others to our deeper, more natural consciousness, to a primal, more delightful spirituality, and to taking up the cause of saving life on this planet, as motivated by love.
This entry was posted in 60s, Anthropology, book, breathwork, consciousness, culture, experience, metaphysics, Michael Adzema author, parents, Philosophy, pre and perinatal psychology, primal, primal therapy, Psychology, science, shamanism, Spirituality, therapy, transpersonal, transpersonal psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How We Lose Our Souls, How It is Stolen: In Patriarchal Cultures, the Young Need Be Pared Down to the Level of Its Controlling Adults … Rituals of Diminution and Control

  1. Pingback: at the rites of passage into adulthood, the self … is required to give up even “its own mind,” … | Apocalypse – NO!

  2. Pingback: We do to others what we were forced, wrongfully, to do to ourselves… | Sillymickel's Blog of the Obvious Unspoken Things

  3. Pingback: with civilization came work, and long and onerous days; which might account for our shallowness of soul compared to primal folk working an average of 3-4 hours/day… | Becoming Authentic

  4. Pingback: *Rites of Reduction, of Expansion* … by adolescence “civilized” children are programmed, with rites of passage getting them in line. The young need be cut down to the level of the controlling adults… | Sillymickel's Blog of the Obviou

  5. Pingback: in civilization one gains the world in exact proportion to which a man has relinquished his soul. Correspondingly, having split away from soul, ritual steps in to fill the void and manage the discomfort… | Sillymickel's Blog of the Obvious Unsp

  6. Pingback: matriarchal rituals of control of agriculture and body, and patriarchal ones of control of all and everything for the benefit, ultimately, of elites are steps down from primal cultures where ritual is minimal… | The Great Reveal by SillyMickel &

  7. Pingback: ritual is the attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that one has split off from. It is a poor substitute, however, for one’s real potential of at-one-ment with reality… | Becoming Authentic

  8. Pingback: Civilization brings brutal rites, excessive “masculinity”, and fear of the supernatural. Whereas primal folks laugh at the fears of “domesticated” humans and delight in flaunting their customs… | Becoming Authentic

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