Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

The way of the man and the life in the spirit

Hilma af Klint, altar no. 1

By on 18 February 2021

Hilma af Klint, altar no. 1

Altar No. 1 (1915) by Hilma af Klint for the path of the man:
The male triangle points upwards, out of matter and the body (black-red) over the fullness of life (soul, all rainbow colours) into the unlimited vastness and wholeness of the spirit (gold).

The Way of the Man and Consciousness into the Spirit (Introduction)

Consciousness - the masculine side of the mind

The male triangle points upwards into the spirit

The Way of the Man: Body - Soul - Spirit

The path of the male leads from his attachment to matter upwards into the freedom of the spirit. Thus man begins as "red knight" in the body, wins his soul as "white knight" and saviour his soul, and as "black knight" a wounding which brings him into contact with the spirit.

Spiritual Creativity

Male power is initiating creative power.

[S. Male Wholeness 3-in-1, Father - Son - Spirit.]

Accordingly, the consciousness that can give impulses to the body is to be described as male (while the body as receiving matter can be regarded as female). 

[S. Male and female - the two primordial forces of creation).]

Life's Ascent to Consciousness: The path of the human being

Every human being has masculine and feminine personality parts, because on the one hand they are endowed with a consciousness (the ability to think about themselves and act actively) and on the other hand they have a body that reacts to impulses and can shape new reality.

The goal: kingship in life

Knight George, Saint George

Domination, "victory" over the inner dragon, the drive

Life itself has ascended from primitive structures such as single-celled organisms to complex entities such as mammals and man (see Life and the Serpent: Ascent and Descent ). The goal for man is to make his life self-efficient and self-reliant. Thus he exercises kingship (of God) in his own life.

The path to this is the hero's path, on which he gradually learns to controlhis urges, symbolised by the serpent, and to overcome his ego, symbolised by the dragon. (S. The dragon, the old serpent and its overcoming.)
Thusthe hero gains wholeness, his self , symbolisedby the virgin (for pure love) and an eternal royal crown.[1].

The path to wholeness - integration of the shadows

The goal: wholeness

Unity of male and female

The goal for the human being is wholeness and a fulfilled life. This means the unification of the masculine as well as the feminine parts of the personality in the human being himself. The masculine side of the spirit is consciousness, the feminine is love.

The loving consciousness as the unity of these two means wholeness and therefore identical with "God". The union of the two forces is symbolised in the traditions by the holy wedding.

God, wholeness, male and female, 3-in-1

The human being achieves WholenessThe human being achieves wholeness by integrating what is different with his or her opposite-sex parts.

Masculine wholeness through integration of the feminine (soul, spirit)

Winning the soul - surrender of life and control over the drive

Born from the body of the MOTHER, man begins in the body and in matter. Here he feels "at home". Early on he exercises his strength and measures himself against other boys. His path to wholeness, however, leads out of the attachment to the body and matter and "up" into the realm of the spirit. Thus he wins his soul by working for a higher goal. This always means devotion to the feminine, the greater, such as the relationship, the family, the community or the good cause.

The feminine side of the spirit and eternal life

Finally, the man integrates the feminine side of the spirit(anima as "virgin") and wins eternal life with love. This is usually preceded by an experience of weakness, which became a "holy wound" for him by opening him to the wider realm of the spirit. In the process, he also overcame the ego, the identity of power, and wins his Self, the eternal identity of love (see From Ego to Self).

The Man's Path to Wholeness


Three phases of life ( Red - White - Black) and the Hero's Path (the Seven)

Male wholeness White - Red - Black (Father - Son - Spirit) is achieved by fulfilling the three phases of life (symbolised by the three colours) in devotion and the power of love. Together with the transitions they contain the 5 phases of the Hero's Path to the Wholeness of the Seven.

[The three colours are, for example, a theme in these traditions: in Parzival, Der Eisenhans and also in the legend of the knight Georg, the dragon slayer].

For an overview, these two illustrations: 


The male way

Crisis potential on the path of the man: The body instinct and the power instinct

The challenge for the man is to learn dominion over his physical drive and to live love and devotion instead. This cannot be done without a willingness to accept deprivation. (S. Overcoming temptations - the drive and the power).

  1. The red phase (Sturm und Drang) begins with the attachment to the Mother (which is also in the red phase at the time of birth). Initiation as a consecration or borderline experience represents the transition into the world of adult men and prepares the man for Devotion and responsibility preparation.
  2. With this the man enters the white phase of fatherhood transition. It means dedication and use of strength for the greater good, such as the community, the family or a good cause.
  3. In the black phase , the hero finally experiences a wounding or borderline experience, which leads to the death of the ego and thus opens him for the further existence of the spirit.

If these phases are not lived through, the man remains an immature macho and consumerist throughout his life.
of the three phases of life is also initiated by a transition, which as such also contains crisis potential (because changes are always critical).

The critical phases or challenges are marked or framed in red.

The male path to wholeness of the father in seven phases

A vision of wholeness and birth (7)

The fulfilled seven, the unity of male and female in love, is the initial spark for the emergence of new life.
Thus many traditions begin with a vision of wholeness, which is symbolised by the seven (see The Wholeness of the Seven and The Seven of Creation).

The Seven and the Birth of the New

The birth of the new life can be assigned to the number seven, because the new arises from wholeness, from the union of male and female, man and woman.

[S. The Four of the Family and the Emergence of New Reality.]

Therefore the wholeness of the seven is also the goal for man: for it also means a new birth into the eternal existence of love and spirit.
Thus fairy tales and myths also often begin with a vision of wholeness, presenting the higher goal before the plot, which is a path of life, gets rolling.

Initial situation: Man born from the body of a woman

It is a special circumstance that the man is born from the body of a woman. Just as the mother is in the "red phase" at the time of birth, the son also begins with "red". However, in order for him to find his own male identity in the course of his life, it is extremely important for him to detach himself from the bond with the mother.

Danger: Remaining in the mother bond and comfort zone ("mama's boy")

If the detachment from the mother is not successful, there is a danger that the man will remain attached to a consumer attitude. Then relationship will continue to mean for him that he can simply take and be taken care of. Thus he will rather pay for corresponding services with money than give his heart (which he does not have because it is still occupied by the mother).

The Mama's Boy: Kingship for nothing - More:

"Kingship" for nothing as a substitute for a partner

The mother can bind her son to herself and make him dependent on her by treating him as her "king" from an early age. In this case, he acquires the "royal dignity" far too early and completely undeservedly. That is, he has done nothing (except be mama's son) to gain esteem and respect. He may even have been placed above the father in the process. In that case, he has effectively been abused as a partner substitute. The tragic thing is that his mother has "stolen" his heart for herself.

Relationship problems and consumption by women as a result

He may be completely unaware of it, but it is a problem. Because he doesn't know anything else, but still thinks as an adult that he has the right to consume without having to do anything for it. This will lead to relationship problems, so that he will rather strive for power and money in order to be able to "buy" and consume women.

[S. The liberation from the mother, materialism and consumption.]

Childhood and youth: Sturm und Drang (red; 1)

Young men by nature have a strong need to feel their energy and physical limits. They measure themselves against others, try to capture their bodies and dominate in competition. Fights, tests of courage, daring actions that release adrenaline are part of this. Red is also the colour of blood and anger. Youth energy is "macho masculinity", which means celebrating strength and being quick to "see red", to be offended or to strike immediately.

This power can happen through awareness and an inner decision can be steered in a positive direction by using it for good. The hero's motivation for the high goal appears, for example, in the fairy tale of George, the dragon slayer, as a virgin (symbol of pure, unconditional love).

Danger: Early "castration" of male energy

Learning to deal with aggression

Although this may be exhausting for educators, it is nevertheless important that the boys are allowed to live out this red phase. If they are brought up exclusively by women who rigorously prevent this "aggression" (e.g. by letting them knit instead of work), this is tantamount to "castration".
If the male energy is suppressed from the beginning, the boys will become effeminate softies, uptight clergymen or moralising politicians as adults.

Initiation: consecration, confession (red-white; 2)

A first step on the path of the hero

If the hero has consciously made an inner decision, the next step is an external, visible sign of it. This can be that he sets out to perform heroic deeds, overcome evil and win victories. But it can also mean a confession or a specific action. The spiritual sign of dedication is baptism.

Initiation: Consecration

Cultural customs as initiation rituals for young men have the purpose of releasing them from female security through a conscious act and "consecrating" them into the world of male belonging and devotion.
Here are a few quotes from Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest and spiritual teacher:

In earlier times it was clear: the boy had to be torn out of the protective feminine energy and brought into a ritual space where the encounter with the masculine energy could become a sacred experience ... [2].

Read more:

The boy had to be ritually wounded and put to the test, thereby experiencing bonding with other men and finding loyalty to the values of the tribe, so that he also had something to give back.

Since ancient times, different cultures have developed initiation rites specifically for young men, much more so than for women. It seems that the biological experiences of menstruation and childbearing imparted enough wisdom to women , but men inevitably have to be tested, limited, challenged, punished, bullied and circumcised, exposed to hunger, thirst and nakedness and thus brought to maturity. Male initiation always has to do with hardship and boundary experiences, difficulties and struggle, and it usually involves confrontation with the non-rational, the unconscious and, if you like, the wild. It prepares the young man to encounter life other than in the categories of logic, dominance, control and problem solving. It prepares him for the encounter with the spirit.

And elsewhere:

When male power is not channelled, it almost always seems destructive. Men abuse their power if they are not led down a path of powerlessness. Most men do not seem to have developed in their psyche beyond the level of a teenager.[3]

Danger: Persistence in macho masculinity

If the man has no such experience or has not had the corresponding experience, he will probably live macho masculinity, power and urges until old age.

Adulthood - Devotion and Fatherhood

Desert: lack and deprivation (red - white; 3)

Control over the drive - abstinence for love, love instead of power

The confession, sign or consecration is followed by a phase of testing the will and constancy of devotion. Once the hero has made up his mind to give his manly strength and passion for something good, he is led into lack and hardship and has to prove his determination on "dry stretches" and in opposition. This phase is symbolised by the desert, where temptations lurk to lead him astray. If the hero passes the tests, the "water" of egoistic desire is dried up.

Service in success, mercy (white; 4)

If the hero has proved himself faithful in the face of opposition, he is next blessed with success. He becomes a wise knight who shinesand shines.

The test here is that he uses his resources, which he has gained through commitment and loyalty, in the interest of others and that he does not become proud but remains modest and helpful. The white knight takes responsibility for himself and also for others and thus lives out caring and fatherhood (even if he has no biological children). With friendly warm-heartedness he perceives need and sees what needs to be done (cf. Service in success through dedication of resources).

The white knight is the hero who conquers evil, slays the dragon, brings light to the dark world, healing to the people, stands up for justice. Thus he is a saviour figure, one with Christ.

Danger: Pride and power for the ego

The white knight recognises the weakness of his opponent and could therefore manipulate or pressure him with ease. His position of strength and the resources he has gained give him power. In this phase, the test is to remain abstinent and helpful and to resist the Temptation of power to resist.

The Trial by Fire and the Holy Wound (white - black; 5)

An existential wounding

With age and maturity, the white knight becomes the black knight. Now he is the experienced one, the invincible one, the senior. But he is also the one who will experience defeat, injury. For this is the hero's final test, his trial by fire. It leads the hero once again into an existential predicament in which everything he has fought for all his life is at stake.

In the traditions

For example, in the lore Odysseus is washed up naked on the beach of Ithaca after losing all his men and ships. In the Eisenhans, the hero as a black knight is hunted down, wounded and captured by the king's soldiers. And Jesus as the hero of God is executed.

In "normal life

Even in today's everyday life, the trial by fire goes to the substance, because that is its nature. It usually happens in connection with the crisis of the middle years. The existential wounding can take different forms, for example:

  • A failure (dismissal, bankruptcy, divorce),
  • Loss of reputation or integrity,
  • Loss of assets or bankruptcy,
  • Loss of sexual potency,
  • Death of a loved one (wife or daughter),
  • Illness or burn-out, etc.

It boils down to the fact that every painful experience is a mortification for the ego. But by confronting his physical-material limitations, the hero's willingness to open up to the infinite dimension of the spirit grows.

 [S. The Sacred Wound.]

Death and rebirth: the great mother (6)

The dying of the ego

The Angry Goddess

It is life itself, the great feminine, that challenges masculinity. In the form of fate, circumstances and also the unconscious, it pushes towards the expansion of the personality and the integration of the shadows.

The angry partner

At the same time, the fateful mother goddess may well be in tune with her partner, who has been longing for more love and empathy from her partner for a long time. If her patience is exhausted, she lowers her horns to attack and paws like a bull gone wild, or foams and rages like the troubled sea. As the "angry goddess of the underworld" she demands change from the man (this already in Sumerian mythology, see The Shepherd is Smitten and The Unfaithful Husband of the Goddess).

Fear and rebellion of the man

The male fear of this concentrated female power may be one reason why the Great Mother Deity was banished to the underworld as a witch and forgotten, and women have been oppressed and persecuted for over 3000 years.

[S. The Great Feminine, Life Itself, in the Underworld; Introduction to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh; The dark fairy as goddess of fate and Volcanoes and the Great Mother.]

The Resurrection of Love

The integration of the feminine side of the spirit: Virgo

Through the "sacred wound", namely by being confronted with his personal limits, the hero is thus literally forced to confront his own weaknesses. The experience of his own limits is his chance to grow beyond himself and to develop warm compassion. In this way he integrates his soul (anima) and the feminine side of the spirit in the form of the virgin for as a symbol of pure, miracle-working love. Thus he gains authority over matter and eternal life.

Opening to the vast realm of the spirit

Robert Bly wrote in his book on men[4]:

An old tradition says that no man grows up until he has opened himself to the world of the soul and spirit, and that this opening takes place through a wound in the right place at the right time and in the right community. A wound enables the spirit or soul to enter. James Hillman says of Hans Castorp in The Magic Mountain and his pulmonary tuberculosis: "Through the small hole of his wound the vast realm of the spirit penetrates".

WHOLE of the VATE: White, Red, Black (7)

From Death to Life - from Ego to Self

The hero has looked his ego in the face of his own death and overcome it. Thus he has found eternal life, his Self, one with Christ (see The Ego and the Self) and integrated the unconscious, the life in matter.
The union of the masculine and feminine parts in man himself is symbolised in myths by the marriage of prince and princess (see Holy Wedding). The kingdom that is won stands for kingship in one's own life.

Unity, wholeness and creativity!

Through the unity of the masculine and feminine parts, the mature, wise man as a great father now has everything: with the masculine side, he holds the love of the Father, spiritual power and authority in matter (Son, "Christ"). With the feminine side he has also gained love, empathy and the Word. These powers unite in him to form spiritual creative power.

[S. Male Wholeness, God, Father - Son - Spirit.]

Finally, this quote from Richard Rohr[5]:

A spiritually whole human being integrates within himself the masculine and feminine dimensions of the human spirit. Fascinatingly, some tribes and cultures actually saw in the woman-man or man-woman, the shaman, the sage, the spiritual seer. They were seen as the image of the divine wholeness. [... To] achieve that, it probably takes the work of a lifetime and therein lies probably the beauty that you can often see in old men and women. [...]
In the classic legends and myths, however, the strong old woman and the gentle old man inevitably stand at the end. That is the goal.


[1] Bible quotations on the eternal crown of kings (Bible Server, Luther Translation):
2Tim 4:8; Jas 1:12; 1Petr 5,4; Rev 2:10 and Rev 3:11

[2] Rohr, Richard (2009). From wild man to wise man (2nd ed.). Munich: Claudius, p. 43f.

[3] Rohr, Richard (2011). Transformation. What radical change means. Munich: Claudius, p. 101

[4] Bly, Robert (2011). Eisenhans. A book about men (7th edition). Kindler Verlag GmbH, Munich, p. 274

[5] Rohr (2009, see above), p. 29 f. (emphasis by the author)

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