by John Miller – When I did my (New Warrior Training Adventure) training 15 years ago I had done some homework about initiation. I had already read many of the books that the leaders of the mytho-poetic men’s movement had written. Books like ‘Iron John’ by Robert Bly, ‘Fire In The Belly’, by Sam Keen, ‘Men and the Water of Life’, by Michael Meade, ‘Finding Our Fathers’ by Samuel Osherson, ‘Absent Fathers Lost Sons’ by Guy Corneau, and of course ‘King, Warrior, Magician, Lover’ by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.
I had also watched the two PBS specials one was with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers titled the ‘Power of Myth’ and the other was ‘A Gathering Of Men’ with Robert Bly and Moyers. Both discussed the purpose of initiation and the many different types of stories, myths, and legends that were created about initiation throughout man’s history.
Prior to that, I had many initiatory experiences, most of which were unconscious. I can look back to my time in military basic training as an initiation of sorts. That one was chosen without really knowing what I was getting into.
My first marriage certainly was an initiation. Again, without knowing what I was getting into. My second and third marriage, and the divorces that came along with them were not done with any degree of consciousness on my part, but they certainly were very painful initiatory processes.
I can also see my struggle with being a ‘party animal’ for 18 years and acting out in very shadowy ways while in relationship and my difficulties that I created in working environments as providing many unconscious initiations that were extremely painful for me and others.
So when I chose to do my training, I was tired of being beat up by the consequences of my unconscious initiations and decided that the New Warrior Training Adventure was going to be my first real conscious experience where I stepped into my Shadow with the help of other men.
Here is a quote from Robert Moore that speaks to the role of the initiations that happen from your shadow.
‘It’s one thing to have enough confrontation with the ashes of you life. If you accept your role in the mess you made of your life. That can liberate you from your grandiosity. So that you can actually claim that as an initiation and go into a new place with some new energy.’
That first step has made all the difference in my world.
— J Miller