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A Melbourne Men's Group Looks To Tribal Practices For Support

Awareness has been growing of the need for groups to support men to deal effectively with lifes chalenges. In a recent interview following the 4th anniversary of one such group we explored what caused one of them to come into being.

Once a month, in a modest suburban back yard in the present day metropolitan area of Melbourne, a group of guys, fly in the face of the infamous Melbourne weather to sit around an outdoor fire and take part in the 'Men's Fire Circle'. Just recently, the Mens Fire-Circle enjoyed its fourth anniversary, and in recognition of the landmark, I met with the organizer and creator of the Mens Fire Circle, David Mollet, to learn a little bit more concerning what the community does and why it began.

Reporter "So what led to you establishing the Men's Fire Circle?"

"It was around the time of my 50th birthday celebration. For me I felt it was a fairly major turning point and in the days to follow I found myself reflecting on life, and in the middle of all of that contemplation, one of the issues I was turning over that really captured my attention was the way in which I was not satisfied with the spiritual leadership offered in my society. It appears to be that our religious institutions have squandered the majority of their ethical authority, and then I found myself fantasising about what my life would feel like if I lived in a tribe where individuals saw themselves as an integral part of a tribe ... It was about then that a separate voice (in my mind) spoke with me saying "You have just turned 50 Dave, that makes you an elder, so what are you intending to do about it, guts-ache and be a victim or lift, be a leader and be part of the solution."

"That thought certainly made me sit up and take notice and I decided to begin a group for men based upon the old ancient tribal values of Men gathering around fire to talk about men's concerns, and the inspiration for the Mens Fire Circle was born."

Interviewer: "Why did you go for a Men's Circle, why not just a circle for everyone?"

"That's an excellent question. At the time I really felt a powerful desire to look towards tribal societies for my approach. I really wanted to get back to something closer to nature, also it appeared to me that in tribal cultures there was a real highlight placed on rites of passage events as well as an understanding of both the varying needs, as well as the specific roles encompassed by each of the sexes. Additionally I really felt that if in their discernment, leaders of tribes had witnessed merit in males and females assembling by their gender to share and also advise each other with the specific challenges common to their own gender, then I concluded, it would definitely be a wise decision for the fire-circle I create to honour that path also."

Reporter: "To what degree have you discovered the gender restricted design to function, is it of value or do you miss the equilibrium of the feminine?"

"At first I was worried about this, yet paradoxically, what I have noticed is that it appears to be much easier for many men to be in touch with their feminine side in circle if females are absent. I believe that there are 2 points at play with this. One is that, more often than not men want to relate concerns they're dealing with in their intimate partnerships, and doing that solely with their own gender seems to permit them a little bit of added leeway to impart freely and genuinely about how they feel relative to 'the female' in their lives. I think they perceive that other guys are often able to grasp their concerns a lot better. Possibly it's due to the fact that we've all shared the same cultural conditioning, so we are conducting our lives from comparable premises.

The second factor is that when the fire-circle is all males, there aren't any sex-related interferences. There's no bidding for the attention of the women, no undertaking to "make it" with the opposite sex. With any type of prospective sex-related complications set aside, this shows every sign of allowing everyone to be more authentic."

The Men's Fire Circle gets together in the evening on a monthly basis, in Greensborough, a suburb of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, Australia. To look up the website with all the details of upcoming gatherings, as well as the option of registering for e-mail alerts of the meetings, go to:


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