As Rob Brezsny notes, the typical “male” qualities of ferocity and courage are not among the four qualities of the warrior. Nor is brashness, overbearing strength, or the alpha cockiness that sometimes substitutes for leadership.
I’m about to admit something. Something that may make me seem less, well; less manly.
So here it is: I read the weekly horoscopes.
And while we’re being honest here, sometimes even more than weekly.
To be fair (to me), I’m not talking about Mercury in Retrograde or Jupiter in the Sixth House of Saturn.
I really don’t even know what those mean. And in fact, at least one of those two things is a completely made up astrological thing.
But, it is true that I regularly read my horoscope.
Now, we’re not talking about just any horoscope. I read Rob Brezsny’s Horoscope on his Free Will Astrology website. A friend of mine turned me onto this site, and its become an entrenched part of my daily rotation of reading material. Now, this is not your Grandmothers Tarot Cards. Brezny somehow tracks down and synthesizes diverse nuggets -whose sources range from poetry to Eastern philosophies to religion to literature to art- that are often strikingly beautiful, often inspiring, and always thought-provoking.
Yesterday, Brezsny cited to a Tibetan Buddhist text called “Four Dignities of the Warrior’s Path,” which sets forth the four qualities that are required to be that archetypical manliest of manly men, a warrior.
And what is required is this:
(i) meekness (more aptly translated as “relaxed confidence” or “the humble feeling of being at home in one’s body);
(ii) irrepressible joy (or perkiness);
(iii) outrageousness, meaning being open to experimentation and not bound to strategies that may have been used in the past; and
(iv) inscrutability (described as “skill at evading the pigeonholes and simplistic definitions that might limit the warrior’s inventiveness while fighting for his or her moral vision.”)
This list is even more fascinating for what is not on it, as for what is. As Brezky notes, the typical “male” qualities of ferocity and courage are not among the four. Nor is brashness, overbearing strength, or the alpha cockiness that sometimes substitutes for leadership.
More historical proof that our society’s go-to clichés and proxies for what it means to be “manly” are not only unworkable in our “modern world,” but that they have more universally been recognized as such for quite some time.