Men and the Quest — A Journey Through the Story of Parcival

5-10 July 2008

Wow! What a week at Findhorn ”

The five days we 48 men spent together were some of the richest days I have spent here. So much passion. So much beauty. Such clear and strong intention. So much willingness to do the work. An awesome group of men, held and nurtured in the transformational place that is this community.

For five days we shared it all. Starting each day with an instalment of Lindsay Clarke’s brilliant version of the grail legend of Parcival we lived through a truly heroic journey: our relationship with the mother (both our birth mother and the divine mother); our relationship with the same two aspects of the father; our response to what is calling us at present in our lives; our anger (which, focussed with discipline and intention can be a strong force for justice and truth in the world); facing and then embracing our shadow; healing; and the final encounter with the wounded grail king — the place where our compassionate heart needs to be open and available, and where we realise that the questions we each carry at the core of our being, can be answered only by looking deep inside.

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As one person wrote on their feedback form, the facilitators exhibited real mastery. Michael Boyle brought us his passion for working with men, in particular now with young men (the week also saw the launch of his new charity, Band of Brothers, which is designed to do just that) and he brought us the story of Parcival, wonderfully abridging it for our purpose. Richard Olivier shared his genius for imagining, and then grounding, extraordinarily powerful rituals and for mythodramatising’ the whole event ie creating the processes that enable participants to have an embodied experience of the themes and questions that the story raises. Robert Moore exemplified the calm, clear wisdom and blessing of the elder. A world leader in the field of archetypal psychology, and author of many books on the subject, he offered distilled nuggets of wisdom and knowledge about the four core archetypes (Royal, Warrior, Magician, Lover) and how to develop and mature into the highest expressions of each. At the close, he reminded us of the need to open to the 5th Element’, to the Source, or however we choose to name it, so that we can be a vehicle for healing, compassion and service, and not merely a high-performing narcissist’.

Craig, Andrew T and I all played our parts in supporting our leaders, as did all of you. Holding such an event here is an exercise in the art of the possible — the Hall holds such an amazing space for transformational processes; the dunes for rituals and being together round a fire; and all of you — too numerous to mention — who are cooking and cleaning and gardening and maintaining this centre so that the work, the deep, psycho-spiritual work, of our time can take place here.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I leave you with one of the many poems shared in the gathering. I read it at the close as a summation of my own experience.

A garden inside me

unknown, secret,

neglected for years,

the layers of its soil deep and thick

trees in the corners with branching arms

and the tangled briars like broken nets

sunrise through the misted orchard

morning sun turns silver

on the pointed twigs

I have woken from the sleep of ages

and I am not sure

if I am really seeing or dreaming

or simply astonished

walking towards sunrise

to have stumbled into the garden

where the stone was rolled

from the tomb of longing

(David Whyte)

PS There are two DVD sets of the event, filmed by Roger and Elmer, which cover the story and teachings, lodged with the Conference Office and available to all to borrow and enjoy. Please do – I think you’ll find it worthwhile.

Robin Alfred

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