Check out this exclusive excerpt of Robert Bly’s audiobook W.B. Yeats and his Father: The Development of Personality in Men. These broadcast quality archival recordings have been edited down into an amazing journey led by one of the great and entertaining American thinkers in recent history. Robert explores the poetry of Yeats and goes deep into his biography to help bring to light the inspirations of his great works.
Part english/history lesson, part poetry reading and a deep exploration into the personality of men, this never before released program will be a treasure for long-time fans of Robert, fans of W.B. Yeats and folks new to Robert and his timeless performances.
The decision is if you go with her, you really enter the whole energy of the universe. That male that’s an experimental species stops being experimental and he joins the big root, do you understand what I’m saying? And they even promised immortality at that moment. And so what you did, then, was, using a stone knife, indicating how long the ceremony was – it went right back to the Stone Age – using a stone knife you would be dancing along behind K and you would cut off your balls and throw them into the house that you were passing. Now, that’s humorous, but what’s happening,, you’re standing in the house, you know, you and your mother are there and everything, you’re looking at this parade, and all of a sudden a pair of balls comes flying through. And you knew what you had to do, you went and picked up those balls. And you brought them out and a young man was standing there. And then, it’s interesting detail, then he went into your closet and he chose female clothes. He chose anything he wanted from your closet, and you were connected with that young man, then, for the rest of the time. Meanwhile, he went back out in the street with the female clothes on.
Shall I say a word about ritual space? You know, the ritual space is really found recently by Victor Turner an anthropologist who was teaching at the University of South Carolina when he died a couple of years ago. And he found it when he was with Ndembu tribe in Africa where he was for a long time. The Africans have preserved ritual space, and the idea of ritual space is fairly simple. It’s the idea that you enter a ritual space over a threshold of some kind, and the threshold is important. The little thing we did can be considered a threshold.
Sometimes when you’re with the Sufis and you do an evening thing, one of the things they’ll do is wash their hands and their face in running water, then they’ll come in and kiss both sides of the door frame and enter. The threshold should be something that touches the soul. The soul has to know that something’s going to go on. Otherwise, it will say, “This is more of the old bullshit. Forget it.”
Then, in ritual space, there’s heat. That’s interesting, the ritual space is heated and people have used various forms of heat. One of them is the human voice, another one is drums, another one is intense music, which the Sufis use all the time, another one is chanting…