The Sacred Feminine in action.

Rev. Dr. Duncan Newcomer: What General Petraeus really needed.

My friend, Duncan, brings us a totally new vision to the “Petraeus affair.” Even though this scenario has played out many times in history, there has been a lot of theorizing about how something like this could happen. I really love Duncan’s nonjudgmental understanding of what the general and many men are struggling with and how the sacred feminine will help. 

There are two books I would want the general to read: “The Birth of Pleasure: A New Map of Love” by Carol Gilligan and “Desperately Seeking Mary,” by myself.

The titles are clues why. Clearly this respected national hero got lost with the maps he was using. I think we can all agree that pleasure and/or love are good and here to stay. The eminent feminist scholar Carol Gilligan, with research and insight, remaps the way men, especially, can get to pleasure and love. In short, stop ranking honor and truth over passion and love. To be able to do that, she says, boys need to stop being raised by the ancient Father law practice, patriarchy, of having to be separated from their mother and her world at about age six. For girls she says it’s about age thirteen when this tragic denial of mothers sets in. We all know boys who give up art class for soccer in early grade school, and most of us have had or known of impossible teenage daughters who declare war on their mothers. All this, Gilligan illustrates and argues, is so that the whole world of Mother is made to be second class. This is where, as I wrote in my book, the sacred feminine needs to come in.

There is a reason my book title starts with the word “desperate.” Because it is literally true that most MEN live lives of quiet desperation. Simply, we are desperate for love and pleasure, and we have been taught to settle for knowledge and power.

Now there are many ways to connect to the sacred. Sufis name three Poles between earth and the higher sacred: love, knowledge and power. Rumi is the poet of the Love Pole.

In my book I refer to the issue of men, even powerful men, who go off the rails with crazy affairs. The list is easy to make: Hart. Clinton. Spitzer. Edwards. Petraeus.

It is a credit to the rising tide of the sacred feminine that we even have a list. Nobody kept a list on Caesar. It used to be a warrior’s right to have the trophy women he wanted, just as priests and coaches used to get away with their own desperate use of power in search of a twisted form of something like pleasure or love. That we pay attention to these now-named scandals is proof that the sacred feminine is ascending and will triumph.

All this is something a warrior can appreciate. Ulysses lashed himself to the mast, so he could at least hear the feminine. The crusaders brought back from Syria the Queen for the European game of chess. She took over from the King’s lackey minister and became the most powerful player in the game. What did they know, these crusaders?

In my book I tell how Henry Adams, the great American historian, knew that 13th century French warriors knew all about The Virgin. At Chartres Cathedral, Truth and Love were not separate, but rather in Mary Truth is Love and Power united as Mother and Child, and the Last Judgment is Hers.

Men can only have as much self-love as they have feminine love, either from mothers and sisters, or lovers and spouses, or from the culture.

When the sacred is also seen and known as feminine the culture will change, as it already is changing.

It is so easy for me to imagine how hard the life of a general is when the only Poles to the sacred are Knowledge and Power. It’s easy to see how, having grown up believing that would be enough, then a desperate reach for Love would bring down everything that Knowledge and Power tried to raise.

People are suspicious of love. I am not. I think love, romantic love, is the canary in the coal mine of our culture. If it dies we are in danger.

 “Desperately Seeking Mary” can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, a Winchester Cottage Print book, “The Birth of Pleasure” is a Vintage book.

 A little about Duncan…
I am a poet, psychotherapist and preacher. I write about Lincoln, the labyrinth, and love. I do workshops for men on encountering the sacred feminine. I have a doctorate from Chicago Theological Seminary, am ordained in the United Church of Christ, and have been a licensed therapist and marriage counselor. I live with my partner Rebecca Jessup in New Harmony, Indiana.

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