I read Sacred Paths for Modern Men: A Wake Up Call From Your 12 Archetypes because I have a general interest in gender studies. Men’s studies is relatively new within Paganism. Janet and Stewart Farrarr got a headstart, publishing The Witches’ God to complement The Witches’ Goddess. Besides their theology of the god, fewer sources compare to the plethora of Goddess-focused thealogical literature in modern Paganism. Similar books include Tim Ward’s Savage Breast: One Man’s Search for the Goddess, Isaac Bonewits’ The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters, and Drummers, A.J Drew’s Wicca for Men: A Handbook for Male Pagans Seeking a Spiritual Path, and Christopher Penczak’s Sons of the Goddess: A Young Man’s Guide to Wicca.
Having mentioned books similar to Sacred Paths for Modern Men, I will now share what is unique about Dagonet Dewr’s work: Dewr shares experiences from the Mankind Project. Dewr’s general attitude on the need for men’s studies precludes a belief that patriarchy has brought the absolute worst out of men. Men’s studies must respond to feminism before proceeding in its agenda in order to differentiate from misogynistic masculinism. Dewr refers to brutal violence and gang rapes in college fraternities to describe American patriarchy. Dewr believes in more respectable expressions of masculinity.
Dewr finds a model for mankind in Pagan gods. Dewr’s reaction to patriarchy seems genuine, whereas some masculinist authors don’t seem to get feminism. Dagonet Dewr’s beliefs about gender include that men are not inherently bad, but that patriarchal culture has brought the worst out of men. Dagonet Dewr looks to Pagan mythologies for more positive images of masculinity.
Dagonet Dewr also contributes a portrait of the Wounded Healer (p. 219). The Wounded Healer is popular among my fellow students at seminary, where many believe we are training to become Wounded Healers. Henri Nouwen wrote a book entitled The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. The book claims that people can heal others if they understand pain and have a solid enough grip on their own pain.
Dewr draws from his spiritual teachings and the Mankind Project to provide a well-rounded practice for Pagan men. Dewr explains archetypes as they apply to modern men. As a woman, I enjoyed the book and could identify with the characters, even if they were intended as models for men. Mostly, I appreciated Dewr’s sensibility of the patriarchal impact on lived malehood. Dewr’s sense of humor tops the book off. In general, I do recommend Sacred Paths for Modern Men: A Wake Up Call From Your 12 Archetypes. I also recommend that every Pagan evaluate the role gender plays in every personal context. A book from men’s studies can help create a framework. Each individual should apply discernment and determine appropriate models for their daily lives.
~review by Michelle Mueller
Author: Dagonet Dewr
Llewellyn Publications, 2007
pp. 277, $14.95