Once a month, in a simple suburban backyard in the present day metropolitan area of Melbourne, a circle of guys face the infamous Melbourne weather conditions to come together around an outdoor fire and engage in the 'Mens Fire Circle'. At the last meeting, the Mens Fire-Circle enjoyed its fourth anniversary, so in acknowledgment of the landmark, I met with the facilitator and creator of the 'Mens Fire Circle', David Mollet, to learn a bit extra regarding what the group does, including why it originated in the first place.
Interviewer "So what led you to create the Men's Fire Circle David?"
"It was around the time of turning 50. I felt it was a very momentous occasion and then in the days following I noticed myself reflecting on life, and in the midst of all that contemplation, one of the considerations I was thinking that really captured my attention was precisely how dissatisfied I was with the spiritual leadership to be had in our culture. It seems that our spiritual institutions have actually surrendered all their moral authority, and then I found myself fantasising about just what my life might be like if I was in a hunter-gatherer culture where individuals related to themselves as part of a tribe ... It was about then that I had this epiphany "You have now turned fifty Dave, that makes you an elder, so what are you intending to do about it, cry and be a baby or lift, be a leader and be part of the solution."
"That idea truly made me sit up and take notice and I made a decision to begin a Mens group based on the timeless tribal values of Men getting together around fire to discuss men's matters, and the idea for the Mens Fire Circle took form."
Reporter: "Why did you decide on a Men's Circle, why not just a circle for anyone?"
"That's an important query. At that time I felt a clear drive to look towards tribal cultures for getting ideas. I wished to get back to something closer to nature, and it also seemed to me that in tribal cultures there was a strong emphasis placed on coming of age events as well as a realization of both the a variety of needs, and also specific roles encompassed by each gender. Additionally I understood that if in their wisdom, leaders of tribes had witnessed something useful in men and women assembling according to their gender to discuss as well as mentoring each other through the trials common to their own gender, accordingly I concluded, it would definitely be a great decision for the circle I start to honour their leadership as well."
Interviewer: "How have you determined the gender restricted framework to operate, have you found it to be useful or do you lose the balance of the female aspect?"
"At first I was worried about this, however paradoxically, what I have actually seen is that it appears to be easier for men to get in touch with the feminine aspect of themselves in circle if females are absent. I suspect that there are two aspects contributing to this. One is that, frequently guys wish to talk about challenges they're having in their intimate partnerships, and doing so only with their own gender seems to endow them a bit of extra leeway to contribute plainly and candidly concerning the way they really feel when it comes to 'the female' in their lives. I think they experience that other men can understand their dilemmas a lot better. Maybe it's because we've all received the same cultural conditioning, so we are functioning from comparable premises.
The second aspect is, when the fire-circle is all guys, sexual distractions are much less likely to get in the way. There's no tussling for the attention of females, no temptation to "make it" with the other sex. With the majority of potential sex-related complications put to the side, suggesting this is useful in freeing up every person to be even more genuine."
The Men's Fire Circle meets in the evening on a monthly basis, in Greensborough, an area of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. You can easily find the website which has all the details of upcoming get-togethers, and the option of signing up for email notices of the gatherings, just click on the link in the article to find out more.
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