Review by Mike Gleason
The Flowering Rod: Men and Their Role in Paganism by Kenny Klein © 2009
What is the place of men in the Pagan community? It seems a simple question. The answer, as given lip service in hundreds if not thousands of Pagan books, is that men and women are equals in all things. Yeah, right – and you can reach into the night sky and touch the moon. Kenny Klein explores the mysteries of the gods – not just the macho – chest-thumping gods (Odin, Zeus, etc.) but the kinder, nurturing gods as well (Apollo, Mercury, etc.).
While I greatly admire Kenny’s talent as a musician, I have some quibbles about his presentation of information in this book. One item which particularly struck me was his use of the word “Wiccan” )on page 70) in reference to groups flourishing during persecution times – “…Knights Templar, Cathars, Kabbalists and Wiccans.” Personally, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard witches of that era referred to as Wiccans, which is a relatively modern usage.
Putting aside such quibbles, I have to say that I really appreciated Kenny’s work, showing how men’s perceptions of their role in society has changed (and why it has changed) as society has “advanced.” There is no doubt that far too many young men today have a strained relationship (if they have one at all) with other males in their own families. It is hard to know how one should act, if one has grown up with no role models.
His presentation of the function of the hunter and the evolution from hunter to warrior and the effect that had on the perception of men’s place in society was compelling. He offers insights which I had never considered, but which seemed obvious after they were pointed out.
He challenges men to fulfill the role of mentor, which is so sadly lacking in our Western society today. As we have “evolved” from hunter/gatherer into our “civilized” urban society we have lost a great deal. He challenges men to find their inner strength and their inner tenderness, and to see these as valuable and worthwhile.
He offers a differing viewpoint to the “everyone is equal (but women are a bit more equal than men)” attitude of many books on the market today. I strongly recommend it to everyone.