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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Sweat Lodge

Copyright © 1997 by Robert Jacober, Miami

This article appears in Vol. 1 #1 (Winter 1998) of Men's Voices journal.
 Men's Voices: So men can find their voices and speak their truths


Every year for 6 years, several dedicated men have assembled to create a special experience for men. It is called simply "The Florida Men's Gathering" and hopefully it will continue ever onward.

Their work takes a lot of time and dedication. They are all committed to creating the spiritual journey that men must take in order to participate successfully in our lives and have quality relationships with our families, friends, co-workers, the ecology, and our own minds and bodies. Even the food is cleansing. I thank them all. It is a unique experience for me offered nowhere else.

It has helped me examine how I occur for the universe, and to work endlessly on improving that.

Many of us, if not all of us, are walking wounded. We suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Our mentors, mostly walking wounded themselves, tried in the only way they know to brutally educate us for manhood. We bear the scars of that process.

We come to Orlando to the Florida Men's Gathering to heal the wounds. We create rules for safety, we create a sacred circle, we cooperate in rituals of blessings, drumming, cooking, cleaning up, and entertainment in the greatest hootenanny where even the frogs sound sweet. Laughter often rumbles and shrieks through the trees as we play. Tears of healing often flow down the faces of the most stoic among us.

We ask the coyote to join us, lest we create such rigidity in our structure that instead of soaring high into the sky, our roots are trapped like a Douglas fir tree growing in a hole in a rock to become only a "bonsai," a terribly stunted 3-foot high micro-image of its 300 foot high majestic father.

The coyote blasphemes, ridicules, and rends asunder all our sacred creations. He steals our chickens, often killing senselessly much more than he can ever eat. One of his purposes is to call us to be on guard against our own pomposity, as well as to remind us that most of the world doesn't care what we do. Outsiders will destroy us if we are not vigilant.

The coyote waxed strong and powerful on the way to the sweat lodge.

Using only words, he wiped out a sacred temple!

How weak was that temple that a conversation could destroy it? Even the walls of Jericho required God and trumpets to destroy them!

Let us learn from this that the mortar of our construction, our commitment to its being, must be strong enough to withstand any attack! We must invite coyote in, and somehow satisfy his needs so he will no longer feel the desire to provoke. We must learn how to do this because there exists a plethora of coyotes in the world. Their numbers are legion. We must be so strong in our commitments that no coyote or wolf can budge us on our quest for a better manhood, better community, better country, and better world.

This philosophy I bring from the 6th Florida Men's Gathering.

My deepest thanks for Jim Bracewell, Peter, and a cast of dozens, who created this 6th Gathering.

Robert Jacober is from Miami, Florida

Response Thoughts on Accountability in Menís Work by Don Dietz

Jim's resignation letter

Return to "Death, Birth, Transformation in the Men's Movement"

Return to Men's Voices journal Table of Contents


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