Where can men go when life throws them a curve ball?
Every fourth Tuesday, in an unassuming suburban backyard in the present day metropolitan area of Melbourne, a group of men face the notorious Melbourne weather conditions to meet around an outdoor fire and take part in the 'Mens Fire Circle'. At the last meeting, the Mens Fire-Circle honored its 4th anniversary, and so in acknowledgment of the landmark, I met with the facilitator and founder of the Mens Fire Circle, David Mollet, to find out a bit more regarding what the community does as well as why it originated in the first instance.
Interviewer "So David, how did you come to set up the Men's Fire Circle?"
"It was after my fiftieth birthday party. I felt it was a pretty momentous occasion and in the days shortly thereafter I found myself reassessing life, and one of the issues I was deliberating that really captured my attention was how discontented I was with the spiritual leadership to be found in this society. It seems like our spiritual establishments have actually exhausted all their ethical authority, and also I found myself imagining just what my life would be like if I inhabited a hunter gatherer society where people related to themselves as part of a tribal community ... It was about then that I had this epiphany "You've now turned fifty Dave, that makes you an elder, so just what are you intending to do about it, cry and be a victim or step up, provide some leadership and then do something about it."
"That notion really made me sit up and take notice and so in the days that followed I made a decision to start a Mens group based upon the old customary tribal values of Men collecting around fire to review men's matters, and the inspiration for the Mens Fire Circle was born."
Interviewer: "Why did you choose a Men's Circle, why not just a circle for everybody?"
"That's an important question. At the time I really felt a compelling yearning to look in the direction of tribal cultures for my model. I wished to return to something closer to nature, and it also seemed to me that in tribal societies there was a real weight placed on coming of age ceremonies as well as a realization of both the a variety of needs, along with roles in association with each of the sexes. Additionally I understood that if in their discernment, leaders of tribes had witnessed a purpose in men and women convening by their gender to inquire into as well as shed light for each other through the shared experiences common to their own gender, consequently I concluded, it would be a worthwhile approach for the gathering I set up to follow their insight too."
Interviewer: "To what degree have you determined the gender specific model to operate, have you found it to be valuable or do you miss out on the counterbalance of the feminine?"
"Initially I felt uneasy about this, yet paradoxically, what I have indeed realized is that it tends to be easier for most men to be in touch with their feminine side in circle if women are not there. I suspect that there are two points at play with this. One is that, in many instances men want to confide on issues they're having in connection to their intimate relationships, and doing so with their own gender seems to endow them a little bit of added leeway to impart plainly as well as genuinely concerning the way they feel relative to 'the female' in their lives. I believe they experience that other males can recognize their problems more easily. Perhaps it's because we have actually all received the same social conditioning, so we are running our lives from the exact same expectations.
The second point is that when the circle is all guys, there aren't any sex-related diversions. There's no vying for the attention of the women, no seeking to "make it" with the opposite sex. It appears that, with possible sexual interferences removed, suggesting this is useful in enabling every person to be even more frank."
The Men's Fire Circle gets together in the evening on the 4th Tuesday each month, in Greensborough, which is a suburb of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. To look up the website with all the information of upcoming events, and the option of registering for e-mail notifications of the events.