For thousands of years, men’s lives were structured by rituals — rituals that helped them mark significant events, make sense of the world, and move from one phase of life to the next.
In our modern age, our lives are largely devoid of rituals, and my guest today says we’re worse off for it. His name is William Ayot, and he’s a poet, men’s group facilitator, ritual leader, and the author of Re-Enchanting the Forest: Meaningful Ritual in a Secular World. We begin our conversation discussing William’s introduction to the power of ritual, why rituals have declined in Western culture, and what makes a ritual, a ritual. We then discuss the history of the mythopoetic men’s movement kickstarted by Robert Bly and his book Iron John. William then unpacks why it’s important for men to undergo a rite of passage, why it’s never too late to participate in one, and how men can have multiple rites of passage over their lifetime. We discuss how to give your son a rite of passage as well. William also provides some ideas for daily rituals you can incorporate in your life to provide more meaning and enchantment to existence. We end our conversation with William’s advice on how to get started with a men’s group.
- Why has the practicing of rituals been in decline?
- How the modern brain has been hijacked by reason
- What makes a ritual, a ritual
- What is a ritual space?
- The three stages of a rite of passage
- The hero’s journey and ritual
- The communal nature of rituals
- Robert Bly’s cultural impact
- What is the role of ritual in a man’s life? What about rites of passage?
- Is it ever too late for a rite of passage?
- Where can men find groups to be a part of?
- What can fathers do with their sons? What age should you incorporate a rite of passage?
- The occasions that call for a rite of passage
- The power of smaller, daily rituals
- Why every man should give rituals a shot
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- How to Turn an Ordinary Routine Into a Spirit-Renewing Ritual
- AoM’s series on the nature and power of ritual
- The Power of Master Mind Groups
- How to Create Your Own Rites of Passage
- A Primer on the Philosophy of Nietzsche
- The Rites of Passage by Arnold van Gennep
- How the Hero’s Journey Can Help You Become a Better Man
- Exploring Archetypes With Jordan B. Peterson
- 12 Rules for Life With Jordan B. Peterson
- Iron John by Robert Bly
- A Man’s Need to Provide
- Joseph Campbell
Connect With William
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Recorded on ClearCast.io
Navy Federal Credit Union. Proud to serve over 8 million members, and open to active duty military, DoD, veterans, and their families. Visit NavyFederal.org/manliness for more information, or call 888-842-6328.
The Great Courses Plus. Better yourself this year by learning new things. I’m doing that by watching and listening to The Great Courses Plus. Get a free trial by visiting thegreatcoursesplus.com/manliness.
Read the Transcript