Do modern men need specialised support? We talk to the founder and facilitator of a local mens group and find out more.
Every fourth Tuesday, in a simple suburban yard in the present day metropolis of Melbourne, a circle of guys, fly in the face of the ill-famed Melbourne weather to sit around a fire and get in on in the 'Mens Fire Circle'. At the last meeting, the Mens Fire-Circle honored its 4th year, and in recognition of the landmark, I met with the organizer and originator of the Mens Fire Circle, David Mollet, to discover a bit more around what the group does and why it originated in the first place.
Interviewer "So what led to you beginning the Men's Fire Circle David?"
"It was after I turned fifty. It was a rather notable landmark and in the days following I found myself reassessing life, and one of the issues I was contemplating that really captured my attention was the way in which I wasn't satisfied with the spiritual leadership to be had in my culture as it is today. It appears to be that our spiritual establishments have given up the majority of their moral authority, and then I found myself imagining exactly what my life would probably be like if I inhabited a tribal society where individuals saw themselves as part of a tribe ... It was about then that I had this epiphany "You've now turned fifty Dave, that means you are now an elder, so exactly what are you planning to do about it, cry like a baby or step up, be a leader and be part of the solution."
"That notion certainly made me sit up and take notice and in the following few days I chose to set up a Mens group based on the old classical tribal values of Men collecting around fire to focus on men's business, and the inspiration for the Mens Fire Circle was born."
Interviewer: "Why did you opt for a circle to support men specifically, why not just a circle for anyone?"
"That's an interesting point. At the time I felt a clear drive to look in the direction of tribal cultures for my approach. I wanted to return to something closer to nature, also it appeared to me that in tribal societies there was a real emphasis placed on coming of age ceremonies and an awareness of both the a variety of needs, as well as roles in connection with each of the sexes. Additionally I understood that if in their experience, tribal leaders had indeed seen value in men and women convening by their specific gender to talk about and also shed light for each other through the trials and tribulations common to their own gender, so I concluded, it would be a good intention for the group I get going to be guided by their leadership also."
Interviewer: "Just how have you ascertained the gender targeted framework to go, is it of value or do you miss the counterbalance of the female aspect?"
"Initially I was uncertain about this, yet paradoxically, what I have actually observed is that it tends to be easier for guys to get in contact with the feminine aspect of themselves in circle if women are not there. I expect that there are 2 factors contributing to this occurrence. One is that, often men desire to verbalize dilemmas they're having with their intimate partnerships, and doing that just with their own gender appears to offer them a bit more liberty to contribute freely and candidly regarding the way they really feel with respect to 'the lady' in their lives. I think they acknowledge that other men can grasp their challenges a lot better. Possibly it's because we have actually all been accorded with comparable cultural conditioning, so we are functioning from the very same expectations.
The other point is, when the circle is all males, it minimises any sex-related interferences. There's no tussling for the interest of the females, no attempt to "make it" with the other sex. With any type of potential sex-related diversions put to the side, this seems to enable everyone to be more honest."
The Men's Fire Circle convenes in the evening on the 4th Tuesday each month, in Greensborough, a suburban area of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. You can easily find the groups website which has all the details of upcoming events, and also the option of subscribing for e-mail alerts of the events, below: http://www.meetup.com/Mens-Fire-Circle-Greensborough-Victoria/